WEEKLY PROJECTS – #1 – ONE COLOR

Due to a few reasons, I didn’t shoot much in 2013.  I’m planning to make 2013 much different.  I have a new camera to explore, but more importantly I want to start challenging myself as a photographer.

Creative52 book coverTo that end, I purchased a book on Amazon called, “Creative 52: Weekly Projects to Invigorate Your Photography Portfolio” by Lindsay Adler.  This book provides a new project each week.  It is written by a fashion photographer, so I expect to start shooting more portratis than I have in the past.  This alone is a departure from my regular subjects of landscapes and still life.

 

I’m going to try to shoot a new project each week, but sometimes life gets in the way.  We’ll see how it goes.

WEEK ONE: CREATE AN IMAGE BASED ON A SINGLE COLOR

Glass HeadIt took me a couple of days to figure out what my subject would be.  This is harder than it seems, really, but then it’s why I got the book.  It’s also winter in Nebraska, so I didn’t really want to experiment outside.  I decided on a green glass head that was in the house.    One colour with a black background should do the job.

I decided to use the profile as any other angle made it look more like a glass ball.  The next thing to consider was the lighting.  I had a choice of natural light (window or overhead fluorescent), flash or studio light.  I chose flash as I wanted to see what I could do with one flash in this project.

With subject and light source selected, I just needed to decide on lighting angle.  As I had a glass subject, I thought that back lighting would be more effective way to see the colours in the subject.

green-head-02First shot: With the flash set on 1/4 manual, this is what I got.  Way to bright, overexposed and just a mess.  This isn’t at all what I was envisioning.  I wanted a more subtle look with just the dark green of the glass being the main color.  I tried a few different power settings on the flash and got the light levels to where I wanted them.  The problem was that I was still getting a bright light that overexposed the middle and lower parts of the head.

I tried a few flash modifiers light a Rogue FlashBender but I couldn’t control the light path well enough.  With that option gone, I delved into the DIY world and cut up some cardboard to block off the bottom of the head.  Then I added another piece to help block light straying to black paper background.  In the end, I used 4 different pieces of various sized cardboard to shape the light the way I wanted it.

Lighting Set upHere’s the setup I used.  I had the flash on its back and used the Flashbender to direct light in the general direction I needed.  You can see the different cardboard light blockers in place.  I put the whole rig on a box to raise the light.  Not the best looking solution, but it did the job.  I also gave me a lot of versatility to try different positioning.

This was also a good exercise in seeing how adjusting these pieces could affect the image.

 

Camera Set upTo the left is a shot of the setup with the camera and background showing.  I used a cheap black paper background, a box to elevate the head and a Nikon D800E with a Nikkor 105mm macro lens.  This choice of lens allowed me to move in a crop away a lot of the background and parts of the head.

In the end, this turned out to be a fun shoot and I learned a few things about controlling the light.

 

Out of CameraOne the left is the image that I saw straight out of the camera.  I was very close to the final image but needed some minor work in Photoshop.

I cropped the image from the top and bottom to get rid of some extra space up top.  I fixed some blown highlights that were a little distracting, and then cloned out some spots that I felt detracted from the image.  All in all, just a few minutes of editing time.

 

Here’s the final image I selected (1/250 – f6.3 – 100 ISO) :

Green Head - Final

Buy a print of this image

Equipment used:
Background: Black paper (cheap bulk roll)
Background Support: Cardboard box
Light source: Nikon SB-800 flash
Light bounce: Rogue FlashBender
Light modifiers: Cardboard cut to size
Camera: Nikon D800E
Lens: Nikkor 105mm Macro
Ballhead: Giottoas MH-1300
Tripod: Slik Pro 700DX

 

 



2 responses to “WEEKLY PROJECTS – #1 – ONE COLOR”

  1. […] Last week I had to really think about what my subject would be, but this week was much easier.  My friend Cindy Chinn is a talented artist and over the years I have seen a number of great photographers shoot the hands of talented people.  Yousef Karsh used this technique to great effect. I had always wanted to try this. […]

  2. d'alien says:

    I love that it looks almost like green hammered copper. You can SEE the texture, which was lost when the light was too strong and when it was too weak. I would not have imagined these results. And I think it came it far cooler than I anticipated it would. Great job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *