***Please note that my web site has moved to the following link: www.ajkahn.com
One of my favorite set designs has been the “Rain Set”. It is a rather simple set up, but it has yielded some dramatic images.
To work with water, I had to move out of my studio into the garage. There, I assembled a 10 foot high canopy made of PVC pipe on which a soaker hose was wrapped around the top. To keep the water from spraying in all directions, I placed a plastic tarp over the top. This helped confine the water spray into a mostly downward direction.
For the model’s comfort, I attached the soaker hose to a warm water source from inside the house (much better than the cold water spigot from outside!).
The rest of the set consisted of a black background and floor. In some cases, I used a shallow pool on the ground to capture the falling water and create interesting ripples. This was constructed from wood planks and lined with plastic tarp material (as seen in the photograph below).
For lighting, the key sources were mono-lights fitted with barn doors off to each side and slightly behind the wall of “rain”, One soft box was placed in front of the model at about a 45 degree angle to act as fill light. In some cases (although not shown in the image) I placed a portable flash directly behind the model. This produced the most dramatic lighting of the water droplets and created a halo around the model.
Of course when working with water, my biggest concern is safety. I made sure there was no way for the lights to accidently tip over or even get near the water. To ensure this, I had each mono-light on sturdy tripods and reinforced with heavy sawhorses to act as blockades. These were positioned far from any source of water.
The final element of course is the participation of the model! My primary thought was to use models with a background in dance and ask them to move, leap and play as dramatically and gracefully as possible. Without these skilled models, the results would not have been as successful. Thanks to models Marlo, Kate and Heidi for all your efforts!