Saturday, September 10, 2011

Assignment 4 - Applying lighting techniques

The purpose of the assignment was to apply different lighting to the same object in order to show different properties of the subject.

There were 5 different properties to show:
1. Shape - stressing the edges and with minimum focus on the details of the object
2. Form - show as much of volume of the object as possible, playing with shadows
3. Texture - showing more of the details of the object
4. Colour - playing with exposure settings, show as much colour of the object as possible

Though there were different options of using artificial light during this part of the course, I decided to use more of natural lighting and play more with background and shadows together with the sun light.

For this assignment I have chosen the white flower Calla as a subject and went to the seashore to use natural shadows and sand and water as a background for the pictures. I have also made a couple of shots inside and with artificial light to practice a bit more of different lighting.  

For all shots I have used my macro lens Tamron 90mm f/2.8. For a couple of shots I also used flash Nikon SB-700 with diffusing filter on it. For all pictures the white balance was set at daylight and ISO 200 applied.

1. Shape

f/4.0; 1/4000 sec;

f/4.0; 1/4000 sec

f/3.5; 1/3200sec

On all three pictures the background contrasts with the object in a way to stress the shape of the object. However, I would say that the first two shots work better for showing the shape, because there is more of the background seen on the shot and the f/4.0 allows to have edges sharper and stress the shape of the flower the best.
I would choose the second shot as the best one, because there is minimum of the details and the angle of shooting shows the shape of the object the best.

2. Form
f/3.2; 1/100 sec

f/3.2; 1/125 sec

These shots were taken inside and the flash with diffusing filter was used here. I put the flower against the sunlight, added some blue and green colours to the background to stress the contrast and highlight the volume of the flower. Because the sun itself created too harsh shadows, I used the flash with a filter to diffuse some of the unnecessary light. I have also experimented with shutter speed here. These two shots seem to give the best results. And the second one with shutter speed of 1/125 sec seems to work the best, because it gives slightly more shadows, giving more volume to the object.  

3. Texture
f/4.0; 1/4000 sec

f/8.0; 1/2500

f/3.2/ 1/500 sec

Here I experimented with both lighting and background to show texture in different ways. On the first picture the texture is mostly represented by the background. Water and sand together give nice impression of the texture surrounding the object. The slight shadow on the white part of the bloom also gives some sense of texture. On the second picture I came possibly close to the object, decreased aperture to f/8.0 in order to show the texture of the bigger area of the surface, and here i focused 100% on the texture of the bloom, ignoring the background.  And on the third picture I made the aperture possibly large (f/3.2) in order to give a depth of field that would be enough to feel the texture of the central yellow part of the flower. I also used the flash with diffuser to avoid unnecessary shadows that would distract attention from the main focus area. I still doubt about using the flash with diffuser in this case.
To me all three might be counted as pictures representing "texture" in different ways. However, the second one seems to work the best, because the texture is shown not by some small part of the image, but by the image as a whole.

4. Colour

f/5.0; 1/4000 sec

f/5.0; 1/4000 sec

f/3.5; 1/500 sec

For the last part of the assignment I tried two different ways to bring out the white colour of the flower. On the first two shots I tried to use the purple dark background that would help to highlight the white colour of the flower itself. I used the aperture of f/5.0 in order to make the edges sharp enough to be in contrast with purple and green colours. I could not decide, whether I like the horizontal or the vertical option of the shot more and published both for the assignment. On the third shot I did it the other way around. I made aperture bigger (f/3.5), used flash with a diffuser and used longer shutter speed of 1/500 sec. In this way, there are no details (because of depth of field caused by big aperture), no shadows because of flash and diffuser, and the whole picture is light and soft, which in general creates the sense of white colour and purity. I think that the third picture works the best for this assignment. 

Though I did not use too many special means for this assignment (special diffuser, foils, incandescent or fluorescent light), I tried to show as much as possible by sing natural light and flash unit. I also tried to show the needed properties by experimenting with background.

The part 4 in general was very useful for trying different lighting techniques and experimenting with different tools to reach some special results.    

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