This week I’ve been thinking about Texture as an important element in my images. Of course, everything has ‘texture’ to some degree, but capturing that in an image is not straightforward. The answer, in the main, is in the lighting – and certainly side-lighting is a great way to bring out the texture in many subjects.
Using texture as a form of contrast in the image is always powerful, as in the feather and chain shot. I’ll leave it to you to decide if these work for you. That , after all, is the acid test!
Feather and Chain
Chasms in the Sand
It’s been a bit of a still life week, driven mainly by upcoming competitions at our club Harlow Seniors Photographic Group Here are a couple of images I have been working on.
My most recent, and best, investment has been a 24″ soft box that I can now hang, with a small strobe flash head, from a boom over these setups. This is all clamped to a lighting stand and was quite unstable until I used an exercise weight on the other end of the boom to balance the set up. ( No, I didn’t have the weight – I purchased it from a local sports shop!! )
The soft box has made the lighting much more satisfactory and easier to control.
Both taken on the Olympus OMD EM-1 Mk II with a 12-100mm f4 Pro Lens tethered to an iMac desktop running Olympus’s Capture software.
I took the first images of this potato back in January ( Resting Seed Potato – 03 ), just after it sprouted ‘eyes’ and began to look a touch more interesting than just a plain spud. ( My apologies to the vegetable-lovers amongst you. )
Since then its sprouts, or shoots, have grown incredibly long! All this time the potato has been sitting in my garage with little TLC given to it – in fact, very little attention paid to it at all.
Recently however I noticed that it was collapsing in on itself, and it looked as though it was very much on its way out. So I took this final image before it was consigned to the food-waste recycling-box.
Taken on the Olympus EM-1 MkII with a single flash head and reflector. Post-production in Lightroom with a touch of Photoshop.
Another still life.
Here I was looking for the contrast in textures and colours – mainly between the old food can ( six weeks in the garden, filled with water, to make it go rusty ) and the beauty of the flowers. But I think the muted, soft tones of the background also help.
Key, of course, is the lighting which really makes the image pop – although, at the same time, it is subtle and not overdone. One strobe with a soft box as the main light ( from the left ) and a second light, also softened, overhead to light the background.
Photography is all about controlling the light. And this image came from an exercise where I was looking to light a portrait with a single light – in this case, a masked polystyrene head ( with sunglasses, fur hat and scarf ). She (?) was lit by a single flash head fired through a light-modifier to produce a very narrow vertical strip of light ( as seen in the reflections in the sunglasses. I’m not sure if those bands of light help – or distract. Any thoughts? )
These images were all taken at Copped Hall, Essex on a cold February evening.
We spent two or three hours playing with light in the grounds of an old house. Very experimental – and great fun.
blue dusk by john allen
blue dusk long exposure by john allen
A two minute exposure with a ‘big stopper’ to put some movement into clouds.
silhouette by john allen
Spot the person standing behind me with the flood lamp? This with the camera on a tripod and fired by a remote trigger.
lit tree by john allen
light painted folly by john allen
Two shots merged into one – one of the lit interior, the second ( you guessed it ) the lit outside of the folly.
Not a self-portrait! More a study in mono still-life.
A plastic skull with smoke added later in Photoshop.
A studio shot of this orchid – with one light through a soft box, a white reflector and a black backcloth.
I like the final image achieved with the simplest of lighting set ups.
An old garden ornament given a second lease of life …
Taken on a Nikon D800 with a 105mm macro lens, f/8 @ 1sec, ISO 200.
The 1 second exposure was to record the colour of the light from the tea-candle – and a burst of flash – reflected off a white ceiling, gently illuminated the rest of the scene.
Finished in Lightroom – a touch of sharpening and radial filter to enhance the lighting differential.