Tuesday, December 9, 2008


First off, Excuse me while I pat myself on the back; this is my 100th blog post!

Second. I've noticed recently that it takes me a while to get in my groove for photography. Most of the time I start off with a basic idea or concept, I shoot and get nothing good, so I change the idea and get something a little better, I tweak that idea and finally get something that doesn't hurt to look at. This process is annoying, but as long as I realize that it is part of my creative process, I can use it to improve my work for myself and for any clients. I find that it usually takes me 20 or 30 minutes to go from the initial concept and gear setup to the final idea where I am producing images that won't burn my eyes out. They aren't necessarily good, but in comparison they are fantastic. My exercise in boredom last night is an excellent example of this.

Photo 1: Lame.

The idea began as isolation. Just a lonely apple in my ridiculously huge dorm room fridge (supplied by NAU). Of course, this picture is lame. We all take lame pictures and this one sucks. so how can I improve it? I tried a few different angles, first shooting up from below, getting the fridge light in the shot. lame. Then from the top, also lame. I brought out my SB600 and tried lighting the apple from a variety of different angles. I played with WB and zoom. nothing was workin for me. Then I spot my new subject, a Gatorade bottle. It is filled with electric blue liquid, which should be a little more interesting than a plain old apple. It becomes my subject.
Once again I try shooting from various angles, different focal lengths, contrasting WBs. Then I pulled out the SB600 again. I stuck it below the Gatorade bottle, 1/120 power and fired it straight up through the blue liquid. Now I'm getting somewhere. The bottle pops out, but the background is still boring as heck. So, I stop down and push the WB to "cloudy". This makes the background super warm/orange and contrasts heavily with the Gatorade:

But I have a funky shadow from the popup flash on my camera and the background still isn't dark enough. I stop down further and dig out a pop-up flash diffuser that I got as a gift. Cha Ching! Things are looking better. I bring the camera up about 8 inches to get a better angle on the subject and fire again. Not bad. But I feel like the contrast is a little too much. Electric blue and orange are totally opposite colors, so I swap out my Gatorade for water. Curiously, I had to dramatically increase my flash output (to somewhere around 1/40 power) to light the water the way I wanted. After all that (22 minutes and 39 images) I got the photo below.
Photo 2: dynamic, interesting.

That's all for now!