Noir Is Where You Are

eye-noirHere in Virginia, far from my favorite location—the San Francisco Bay Area—I feared I wouldn’t find any noir to shoot until I returned. But then a little voice whispered in my ear: “Noir is where you are…” 

Indeed, it’s in the eye of the beholder and I guess that’s why I’d been subconsciously eyeing the many dilapidated barns around here. I pass them daily on my commute to the Mud House for a java fix.

Well, I finally had an excuse for getting out of the car and haunting barns over the weekend. I had to test the new PocketWizard wireless system for Nikon. (Click here to read our feature review in the March issue of Zoom Street.)

After dark, the ghost of Orson Welles arrived, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You wanted noir, so what are you waiting for? Light the scene!”

And so I did.

photo by Derek Pell  For the initial test shot above, I used two Speedlights; one positioned inside the barn mounted on a light stand (off to the right); the other was attached to a tripod, fitted with an orange gel, and set outside (left) to add a touch of drama to the exterior.

I miscalculated on the first try—overexposing the interior. However, thanks to PocketWizard’s AC3 ZoneController, I didn’t have to change my position to fix things, I simply dialed down the output on the AC3.

Back at the computer, I made my final adjustment which was to convert the image to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Click on the above image for a large view.

And may Orson be with you.