Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 2: Deliciously Refreshing

click photo to see larger version

I have been reading a book by Michael Freeman called The Photographer's Eye. The challenge of the author is to break out of your typical way of seeing things and force yourself to see them in a way you normally would ignore. No doubt that's a lesson that extends well beyond photography. So when I set out to photograph something today, I decided to use an exercise I had read somewhere else that suggested photographing some ordinary object using a variety of angles, compositions, lighting, and camera settings. Well in our house, we have an abundance of the ordinary Coke bottle.

I have to be honest and say that this was a frustrating exercise for me. I've seen other wonderful results from this kind of exercise. But nothing I was producing made me want to waste a byte of disk space to save. I was about to give up and get in the car and find something else to shoot. (Pretty good huh? Day 2 and I'm already frustrated) My latest attempts had involved popping a remote flash through a softbox from various angles and distances. I then had a thought that I wished there was a way to put the flash under the bottle. I had already tried putting the flash behind it, to both sides and on top.

Well I was at the kitchen table doing this particular setup and I remembered my wife putting a clear glass bowl in the cabinet the day before. So I put the flash under the upside-down bowl and put the Coke bottle on top. Then after shooting a couple of frames I realized that the light under the bowl was going everywhere while I wanted it to be confined to the bottle. So I took a piece of black scrapbook paper and cut a hole in it the size of the bottom of the bottle. I put the paper on top of the bowl and then I took a black sweatshirt and put it around the rest of the bowl. I put the bottle back on top and after taking one shot and changing my aperture, I got this on the second try. Whew...frustration instantly gone.

The photo was actually taken in a normally lit room. By shooting at ISO 100 and stopping down the aperture and using a fairly high shutter speed, the room was rendered dark.


jenX said...

that is so amazing. you know so much about photography. i really under-utilize my nikon d60, and have so much to learn.

Alisa said...

love that light- I love hearing that you were frustrated. Really? You?
Gives me hope.

Jan said...

Jim - great idea! I love the Coke bottle photo AND the description. Keep it coming!

Ami said...

I don't understand all of the photography lingo, but I love your work. What a cool picture.