Sunday, August 7, 2011

Exercise 4.12 - Contrast and shadow fill

The task was to take some pictures with different means for reflecting the light. For the task I used the following tools:

  • diffuser (the same that was used for previous exercises);
  • white card (made from the the piece of cardboard and two layers of white printing paper);
  • reflector (shiny and dull sides of the aluminum foil);
  • LED torch 
The first shot has been taken without diffuser, with a white card on a distance of 1m from the subject:

Light without diffuser; white card - 1m distance

The light is obviously too strong here, the subject is a bit overexposed, and shadows too harsh. 

The second shot has been taken with diffuser, white card on the same distance:

Light with diffuser, white card - 1m distance

In this case the shadows and lighting are more natural. Though more of the watches rim could be seen, the contrast with background is not obvious here. 

For the third shot the white card has been moved 0,5m closer to the subject.

Light with diffuser - white card - 0,5m distance

Compared to the previous shot more details of the rim are seen. Closer position of the white card enables to reflect more light back to the subject.

For the fourth part I covered the white card with a shiny side of the foil:

Foil (shiny side) - 0,5m distance

The difference compared to the white card is not that obvious. However, the contrast between shadows and background is better, when using foil.

For the next shot I turned the foil to the dull side facing the subject.

Foil (dull side) - 0,5m distance

Compared to the shiny side, the dull side of the foil makes the background of the subject a bit darker.

The next two shots were made using teared off piece of foil:

Foil (teared off, shiny side) - 0,5m distance

Foil (teared off; dull side) - 0,5m distance

Teared off foil is definitely reflecting less light and creates different contrast of shadows. And in the same manner, the dull side gives less contrast than shiny side of the foil.

With different tools different options for shadow fill and contrasting are possible. The closer is white card to the subject, the more light it returns, and the more contrast can be reached.  Different variations of foil will give different effects on the shadow and contrast. 
Probably, using macro lens and quite a small subject was not the best choice here. The effect should be seen better on bigger subjects, such as human faces, bigger still-life compositions.  

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