Sunday, September 6, 2009

Still Life To Pass The Time

The other night I found myself both a little bored and with a favor to return, so I decided I would see just how rusty my still life and product photography skills had gotten. A local acrylic shop that has helped me quite a bit with some projects was nice enough to help me out again by providing some information to a third party about working with acrylic in hopes of better educating this third party on the material. In return I offered up a photographical flavored favor and they sent me home with a small 8 inch acrylic dish that looks very interesting in person but was falling a little flat in their homemade product shots.

The acrylic shop informed me that what makes this dish so unique is that when light passes through transparent/translucent acrylic, not all of it makes it out the other parallel surface. Some of that light gets kicked around between the two surfaces until it finds another perpendicular surface to escape from. This meant that I knew ahead of time that I wanted a light overheard directed into the center of the bowl as a source to enhance that effect.

I started out with a SB800 and a HONL grid on a lightweight boom directly over the dish, but the grid wasn't tight enough. I switched to an eight inch snoot, also from HONL, and stayed with that for the overhead spot. (For more on my love of HONL check this post for some preliminary light tests I did when I received these lovely modifiers.) I worked varying amounts of fill in but never really got what I wanted and after playing around with this bowl for a few minutes on white I quickly realized that I needed to go black.

Swapped out the white backdrop for black and immediately liked it better. I then discovered that the catchlights in the bowl were reflecting so well that the ribs of the umbrella I had been using for fill were now fairly distinct, and distracting. Since I dont have one of those fancy softboxes designed for small flashes (yet) I brought out the 5 in 1 reflector and took it down to the diffuser core and placed that between the umbrella and the bowl and voila! nice, soft, even catchlights. A few tweaks here and there with light levels, a minute or two to rough in the idea in post and make sure its what I liked and I was ready to shoot the final options. Here, along with the top image, is what came out:

Final images are 1/200th @ f/22 ISO 200, overhead light at 1/128th the other at full. And here is an awful awesome lighting diagram of the final shot because I, as always, forgot to shoot the set up:


Danny D said...

NIce post Jeff. Never thought of using a skrim with a reflective umbrella. Looks like a pretty good and quick on the spot brolly box. Keep the posts coming!

mivpiv said...

This is GREAT! Love it Jeff - post MORE :)