Putting all my macro skills up to the challenge of seeing how close I can get. Having a flat surface like this leaf makes it a lot easier.
– 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.
I revisited the image I made last weekend as I had left everything set up. This time, instead of window light I used a small LED torch and long exposure selectively for light painting the subject and background. I really enjoy the lack of predictability inherent in the technique.
This week I finally broke my commitment to avoid adding anything to my unread pile when I picked up a reprint of Brassai: Paris, a collection of images that reflect the broad range of things he saw and recorded in Paris before the Second World War. the night images are all the more remarkable when you consider the limitations he worked under, including film that was at best equivalent to 25 ISO today.
Listening to Shirley Manson out front of Garbage.
My portable studio lighting kit is coming together nicely and I’m working through some approaches that allow me to get setup quickly. This is something I want to keep simple but there is always the temptation to add when less is probably more. For the moment I plan to stick to one light, one modifier like a soft-box and two folding reflectors, a larger one for background and smaller for fill light. Repeated exercises around packing, unpacking, setup and working build knowledge and experience over time, freeing the mind to focus on the subject, mindful those soft skills around working with people need exercise too…
Most of what I have been looking at recently are lighting setups that I can use my newly acquired foam head to test out. Finding space to use for this is also sucking up my free time.
Listening to Stereopony, a now defunct Japanese band who sat on the fringe of J-pop, perhaps undeservedly, though admittedly, they don’t sound quite as intense as Monoral. What attracts me to Japanese bands is the fusion of west and east, You end up with these interesting combinations of eastern melodies or traditional percussion with western themes and instruments.
I decided to put the rest of the clip on lens kit through its paces. These lenses display the same sharpness issues I saw with the macro lens. These are straight from the phone.
The vignettes with the fish-eye were to be expected and I could crop to square format to reduce it. These are fun lenses and I will continue to play with them but they are not going to replace my existing kit. I think some further editing would help. Keeping the lack of edge to edge sharpness in mind when picking subjects would work too.
I recently mentioned the need to make opportunities and that has led me to using my phone for photography more often. I was at the bus stop with nothing better to do when I noticed the texture of the headlights grazing across the paving.
This is one of the images I made as I waited. I could crop out the blown highlight or remove the cigarette butts though I like this as is. Given this was hand-held in low light with no manual control I’m impressed and encouraged to do this more often.