Thus my goal is to create a still life combining several elements that would make up a book cover for Underwater Photography. The elements in my still life are a combination of diving equipment and an SLR camera - the juxtaposition being that these objects do not traditionally mix well, salt water will destroy almost any electronic device - I have killed two cameras this way.
The set up for the lighting is my pair of 400W monblocks, one reflecting off the ceiling, the other more or less straight on to the composition. I adjusted the intensity to provide an f-stop of around f/16 to ensure that everything would be in focus. The drawback was that this threw the background cloth into focus and I had to get creative about hiding it. I started with a 24-105mm zoom, but switched to my 85mm f/1.8 as this provided the framing I needed and better colour/sharpness.
My first attempt was to use a pair of fins as the background with a camera and regulator (aqualung) as the foreground:
This did not work in several different ways, the fins are so large compared to the other items that they were difficult to manage in the composition. I then moved to using a wetsuit as the background and added a yellow mask to the setup
This was better, but the chopped off name of the wetsuit manufacturer, Camaro, was distracting
Including the complete logo created a problem that there was now too much negative space in the upper part of the image. As this was designed to be a book cover illustration some negative space is needed for the title, but not this much.
In my next attempt I moved to a portrait setting and tried to remove the logo
Boring, another try provided the following
This I liked, the yellow hose adds a lead line, there is plenty of space for a title and the composition is reasonably balanced. I thought to stop at this stage, but concluded that the camera is not prominent enough, it is fading into the black background.
I also did not really like the mask, the regulator and hose provided the flash of colour I wanted, the yellow on the mask was too different in tone. I removed this and moved back to a landscape framing;
This image is without the wetsuit as a background, the lack of smoothness in the backing cloth is distracting. However, I like the repetition of the circular elements and the greater visibility of the camera through the "Canon" logo. Next try was to put the wetsuit back:
I actually like the addition of the yellow in the suit, but it removes any possibility for titling, so next attempt was to get the yellow lower in the frame
Whilst this is better, I now find the yellow in the suit to be distracting and having a brighter background than foreground is unsettling in the image
In my next and final image I have retained some of the yellow in the suit, but positioned in a way that it better harmonizes with the yellow hose. I have also pulled the viewpoint down and gotten a little closer. What I have done is to create a diagonal with the camera cap and regulators, with a Triangle of black to enable the addition of the book title:
Canon EOS 5D MkII, 85mm, f/11, 1/125s, ISO 100