Camera as Sketch Pad
Sometimes it’s good to play. Yesterday I didn’t have anything pressing that needed doing so I put a different lens on my trusty Nikon d40x than the ones I normally use and just did some shooting. I didn’t worry to much about the technical side of things as I just wanted to try a couple of experiments and prevent my brain from getting into a photographic rut. These are some of the resulting images with very brief notes.
Water running into a bowl
I love water and am mildly obsessed with getting interesting images of the stuff. I don’t mean pretty lakes or rivers but water in its more mundane settings. I also have a love for anything film noir, the high contrast, weird and disorienting angles, all in all it creates a world that uses normal stuff but is anything but. To my mind noir and minimalism are natural bedfellows as they both reduce elements to an essence and they both presnt information differently than the norm forcing the viewers brain out of any comfort zone it may be inhabiting.
For the technically minded this effect was achieved by using an off camera flash on a cable with no diffuser at around 90 degrees to the shot on the right – that gets the hard shadow of the water stream. I used Adobe Lightroom to emphasize the contrast.
The main effect here was done in camera. I loathe working with layers and masks – I have tried but I just don’t seem to have the temperament for it. Basically, if it can’t be done either in camera or by tweaking the whole image, it doesn’t happen. The phrase 11th dimensional chess was used a lot regarding Obama when he was running for the presidency and I thought that it might be fun to try to illustrate the multi dimension chess concept but to also give it a slightly intimidating feel.
Nothing complicated technically here, I set up the camera so that the exposure time required was around 3 seconds then held the camera for a second or so and moved it. This is a great exercise insomuch as it really makes the photographer think about what is happening with the light on the sensor.With this understanding and familiarity with the camera It is surprising just how much control of the final image is possible.
Not much to say about this one other than it was a test for bokeh (the form the background blur takes). This lens produces more defined circles than my other lenses. Many photographers seem to like the well defined circles while I prefer a more consistent blur. I am no expert but I think that the shape of the opening formed by the aperture is a major influence on this.
White bunny in a white room
I like this one. Everything in it is white and any tonal differences are caused by shadows. The object is a spackled papier mache rabbit made by my wife many years ago. As a photographer, capturing white on white has always fascinated me. One exercise that art teachers love is to sit students in front of a white wall and ask them what they see. The object of the exercise is to show that even a plain surface has infinite tonal variation depending upon the exact quality of the light at that exact moment. Our brain normally edits out these infinitely subtly variations probably due to the fact that they have no survival value. This represents the difference between looking and seeing.