Kniving around

My friend Dave Knowlton has always been a dyed-in-the-wool, old-fashioned type of do-it-yourself-er. I'm not talking about the I-can-install-my-own-lightbulbs kind of guy, but more like a I-can-buy-a-1960-Austin-Healey-convertible-in-pieces-delivered-in-cardboard-boxes-and-make-me-a-fully-functional-vintage-automobile-all-by-my-lonesome type of guy!

So I was only mildly surprised when he told me he bought a forge and was learning blacksmithing... in his garage! These two knives were some of his early efforts and are amazing in and of themselves... and dangerously sharp! I have not fully witnessed what it takes to create something like these, but I know it takes both brute force and considerable control... kinda like lighting them for a photo.

I had an "ah-ha" moment after reading this description of how to light shiny surfaces by using light projected onto the ceiling in a place well behind the surface I want to light with it (to be able to light the rest of the object separately) and using the angle of the camera-to-shiny-object to pick up the reflection.

Once I got the mental geometry figured out, I couldn't believe how much control I had this way. I could actually light the broad faces of the blades with one flash (off the ceiling in the back of the room) completely separately from the rest of the knives. Don't believe it? (I wouldn't blame you, neither did I)

Steel green
Pale lavender

Just for kicks, I placed a colored gel over the flash which was lighting the ceiling (and thus the broad face of the blades) and guess what? The handles are lit the same (as above), the sharp shiny edge is lit the same as above, but the face of the blade picks up the color!

Granted "steel green" and "pale lavender" don't do anything for the knives or even make a pretty picture, but the learning experience was terrific (except for the band-aid I needed afterward)!

Strobist info: The faces of the blades were "lit" by firing an SB-25 into an area the ceiling well behind the knives but which would be reflected in the surface of the blade back towards the camera, zoomed to 24mm, fired at ~1/64th power. The handle to back camera right is lit with a snooted SB-800 zoomed to 105mm and fired at 1/32nd power. The sharp edge of the top knive's blade along with the bottom knives handle were lit with an SB-600 in a Lumiquest Softbox III, zoomed to 35mm and fired at 1/16th power.