I just started a new series of photographs focused on old and/or dirty, used tools.
The first one is finished and IMO mostly successful.
Here’s how and why I did it. I’ll start with a lighting diagram and description.
Camera: Nikon D3s 1/125sec f/2.8
Lens: 70-200 VRII with 8 stops ND
Lights: Alien Bees 800 x4 triggered by PocketWizard Plus III
Overhead at full power, left at right 2/3 power, back 1/6th power
The image is made up of 4 separate exposures. The first image has almost everything right.
I wanted to make the drill look like it was on, so… I turned it on. This second image provided a little spin on the drill bit and a reference on how far to move the trigger in.
This particular Skil Drill is almost identical to the one my dad had when I was a kid. I remember it should shoot sparks out the back. I used to sit in my basement looking for things to drill and drive screws into just to make it spark.
It turns out, those sparks were mostly there in my imagination. The brushes in old drills do spark, but not nearly as much as the picture in my head. So I added some sparklers- five to be exact. It took a few tries, but I got 2 sparks I like. I also started a small grease fire (it went out on its own).
Here is the final image. I cleaned up the background a bit and composited all four images into one.