Light, the sensual caress
Using nothing but a single light source (a bare 25 watt bulb) and a few foam-core boards (white and black) on my kitchen table I can capture natures sensual movement in her living beauty and gift of flowers. The light and shadows created by the single bulb caress the sensual shapes of the Lilies. I explored different angles, each one more sensual then the next. Table top photography fun. Here’s the skinny on this photo. It began as a self challenge to use a single light source to create a dramatic photo an a minimalist fashion. Nothing fancy, just plain simple. So all the lighting toys and other “Shtuff” stayed in the closet, cases . . . etc . . . I like to challenge myself and see what comes of it, like freezing flowers in a block of ice and then shooting them with a macro setup, or, like my latest adventures learning what I can get out of a used lensbaby “composer with double glass lens element” . . . I have a fixation with weird lenses it seems but that’s for a different post. So I set up a black foam-core board under the potted plant and another several feet behind it on the kitchen table. Next I rigged a bare 25 watt clear bulb in a cheap clamp socket on a light stand a few feet away (I added a light boom fixture later for better placement) as my only light source. I set up my tripod & camera, electric shutter release and set it to MUP to minimize camera shake since I would be using very long shutter speeds as I was shooting at the native ISO and varying the aperture between f/8 to f/11. A few test shots to check focus (set your camera to manual everything), turn off the room lights, only the bare bulb a few more test shots to dial it in . . . I decided to add a bounce card (piece of white foam-board) to open up the shadows a bit and bring out the details of the Lilies and another piece of black foam-core to act as a scrim to keep stray light out of the lens which also helps improve contrast. I like to underexpose just a bit to saturate the colors and lastly I played with the angle of the light, adjusting the bounce card and scrims to a final position I liked. The above formula is very easy to duplicate and yet is challenging because each flower is unique in its own right. It is a great method to learn how light behaves as well as a learning tool on how to paint with light.
The Challenge: Once you have created a shot like the above that you are satisfied with, switch the 25 watt light bulb, replace it with your flash and learn how to adjust your flash to duplicate the same picture. This is a real fun learning exercise, one I do often to keep my old noggin in shape. I will leave you with one more from that fun evening at my kitchen table, a potted bunch of Lilies, a single 25 watt bare light bulb and some cheap foam-board . . .
Now get off your butt and go make a few photos.
All photos & text are the property and copyrighted 2014 Tim Scott, feel free to link to my blog, do not feel free to use anything without express permission . . . thanks