Saturday, October 17, 2009

Project 19

The requirement to use a background that was unfussy, but not completely plain was awkward as I have a limited amount of space within which to work.  With still life I normally use a simple background of felt or coloured card, as it was I simply left the bookcase behind my working table in the frame.  This has disrupted the composition, I would have preferred a plain background.  I suppose that with simple objects a complex background would add depth, however, my chosen subject, model elephants are detailed enough that the background is adding further unneeded complexity.

The subjects I have chosen are small model elephants collected all over the world on business trips and vacations.  We got into the habit of always looking for an additional member for the herd, but only one at a time and from far away.  I guess this kind of mirrors the requirement to build out the still life composition an item at a time.

For lighting I used a pair of 400Ws D-Lite 4 Elinchrom prosumer studio flash guns with soft boxes.  I really enjoy working with lighting, but so far have been using Speedlites, these guns are far more powerful and offer more flexibility.  I am keen to learn about studio lighting and being able to use these in the course should be a good way of getting some experience.

Here is the sequence from 1 to 9 Elephants, each time repositioning for the best positioning.  I locked the position of my camera on a tripod and selected a focal length of 70mm with 1/200s, f/11, ISO 100 exposure settings.

As I positioned the elephants the fact that they were representations of animals significantly affected the composition and was very restrictive.  The faces needed to be facing the camera and each elephant needed some personal space.  This exercise became more like arranging a group of squabbling relatives for a wedding photograph.  The final composition is therefore dominated by eye lines with a single elephant at the centre acting as the focus of attention.  Subconsciously I have chosen the lightest coloured animal, perhaps the bride in the group!

In the image below I have indicated the lines that relate to the objects, essentially each elephant looking at the light coloured animal posing at the centre of the group:

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