If the notion of creating an artificial moon sounds like it belongs in the plot of Star Wars, you might be surprised to hear of one photographer’s experience of using an air compressor and a weather balloon to make a shining satellite of his own.
Steve Giralt has written on his website of how he needed to get creative to overcome deadline difficulties when shooting the images for a scented candle brand – which needed to include several different scenes at dusk or in night-time conditions.
With just two days to complete 20 or more scenes, Mr Giralt realised he needed to find a way to either reduce the workload, or increase the length of time during which the lighting conditions were just right.
Remembering how moonlit scenes in Brokeback Mountain were lit by bouncing light off of a weather balloon, he decided to do the same – and that meant putting his home air compressor to work.
In the end, a mixture of helium and compressed air helped to get a 20′ burst-size weather balloon into the air over his photoshoot, and a high-powered spotlight was reflected from it to give a diffuse, moonlight-like illumination that was just a little less bright than the candles themselves.