A tiny studio

A tiny studio

– doesn’t require a lot of gear or effort to set up. Here’s what I use for photographing most small objects, including the pocket knife image used for this post.

  • A window with diffuse light, in my case I built a shelf under this one, as it has a day night blind.
  • Timber offcuts  assembled into a upside down “T” with a small bulldog clip to hold the background paper.
  • Some plain A3 paper for the background
  • A small reflector to get some detail back in the shadows
  • A camera and for me that will usually be a digital SLR on a tripod but this setup should work with a phone or compact camera.

Here is a hasty image of it in action. It’s a great way way to work when the outside is uninviting and takes up very little space so you can leave it up.

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Foo dogs and laneways

Foo dogs and laneways

A selection of images of Melbourne starting from the top of end of Chinatown and working my way down to Flinders Street via the smaller streets and lanes.

 

I walk past the two pairs of Foo dogs on the way to work most days and I have always admired the detail in them The metal and stone introduce their own qualities when you look at the detail in the manes. I also take different routes during lunch through the less popular lanes, so I had a rough idea of my route before I set off.

The weather was not great but the diffused light worked well for me. Starting my walk from the edge of the city meant fewer people to contend with and I will try heading out from the centre next time.

 

Project update – Abandoned and worn

Project update – Abandoned and worn

All the necessary things fell into place to do a more serious session with the old tools I had collected. Since I had worked out the macro images I decided to start with them. There was also a new item that got separated from the group, so I thought I would share that this week.

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These were all made in late afternoon full sun that provided a lot of light to work with but that also meant shadows. That is not a bad thing for these images as the shadows provided a bit of separation from the background but I like to see some detail in them.

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I placed a large white reflector on the shadow side to put some details in the shadows. I also tried using that reflector to diffuse the light. These three images show the difference. The diffused light has very soft shadows and was a little too much, resulting an a flat lighting. The reflector was the best approach for what I wanted.

With the other tools, I repeated several of the compositions I shared previously. I made those previous images handheld and one thing I had not considered was getting the camera in the same position while on a tripod. That is proving to be difficult.

Project update: Streams and themes

Project update: Streams and themes

So it’s one week into Summer school and at this point the key task is to keep on top of reading and start planning for the assessments.

The word ‘stream’ has come up a lot in discussions and lectures this week. This unit is an elective so the students are from a range of disciplines with very little in common, so they tend to form groups based on their core studies. In this unit there are already sub groups of teachers, communications and web specialists, information managers and the odd one or two people studying other disciplines that deviated from the set study plan.

It got me to thinking about using streams for the Diced Imagery project going forward. There could be a ‘people’ stream for portraits, ‘nature’ for macro and landscape and ‘objects’ for still life and some of the macro work I do that is not nature related. New streams could be added as needed. I still have until January to come up with something so I will give this some further thought.

Today’s image gallery was made late this afternoon, taking advantage of the overcast conditions to get some soft light for macro work. There is a trade-off in that having less light to work with means upping ISO, opening the aperture or having motion blur but I think that the quality of light you get is worth that. These are purple Agapanthus with yellow Diosma in the background. They are all pre edit, so the colour contrast you can see is actually more intense. The title image of the fence was also done today but given a small work over using Intensify.

Less is more

Less is more

I mentioned recently that I my new camera has set off a string of other changes. Since writing that I found another one. The capacity on my SD cards is effectively halved but I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

I think it’s bad because there is now a real possibility of running out of space and missing out on making something special. I don’t spray and pray but I do like to approach a subject from several different angles and explore composition and lighting combinations.

At the same time, this limitation is not a new experience for me. I used medium format cameras and you only got 12 images on a roll of film. This made you more selective. I think that’s good.

SD cards are cheap compared to film and processing so I will buy some more cards.Using a larger capacity cards introduces a risk of losing more images if the card fails, so I’m thinking about sticking to the same capacity. This way I still have to work with less but have space in reserve.

These images are from a yesterday morning on the Campaspe River trail at Kyneton. The sky was overcast and the soft lighting lent itself to macro and detailed subjects.

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