Skip to main content

Block Puzzle

Today's topic is light, shadow and contrast. I used a small wooden block puzzle just because it's an interesting shape, and a slave flash because it lets me control direction, intensity and softness of the light. I covered the on-camera flash with a small box to make sure it didn't get in the way (the slave is light activated so I couldn't just turn it off, which is a shame).

I took a few pics, all in black and white to give a better sense of light and shade and not be distracted by colour. The one I have chosen is, technically, a terrible photo. The shadows are black, the light is pure white. It's blown out and horrible. But sometimes it's OK to bend the rules, and for the purposes of this project it's perfect. I like the gradual change from pure black to pure white across the diagonal leads the eye, and the texture on the wood came out perfectly.

This shot is one I made up while playing with putting the slave flash closer to the subject. I thought it would be cool to have the extremes of black and white visible in the picture.

As a (second) one-off special, I'm including two pictures today. This second one is the shot I originally intended to capture. It was hard to choose between them.

I'm not sure if the gradient grey backdrop adds to or detracts from the picture. Maybe a third flash to blow out the background while maintaining the foreground tones could have worked, but it may have just obliterated the shapes of the shadows of the blocks.

As yet another added bonus, I'm also including a 100% crop of the second photo to show the wood detail. It is in itself a pretty cool picture.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Shooting the Enterprise

I was recently asked if I could help out providing an image for a magazine article about stress management. For reasons as yet undiscovered the requested image would be of the USS Enterprise flying through a storm in space. Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of time (just a couple of hours), but I did have a very nice model of the Enterprise D I could use to build the image around. Thinking fast, I rigged up a rather slapdash rig consisting of a black reflector backdrop, an umbrella and stand from which dangled the model by a thread, and a couple of strobes. One light above, diffused, to provide the key light, and another, reflected and lower power, to fill some of the very dark shadows. It ended up all looking something like this: Using a fast shutter, f/16 and cunning flash positioning I managed to keep the background black and give the model suitably textured lighting so it didn't have that flat, uniform, shadowless appearance of, well, a model. The narrow aperture obv

Fairy Lights

Street lights at night can be very pretty. For someone who lives close to the centre of a large city, skirting round the edge of the town centre can provide a host of beautiful views at night. One advantage to using a wide open lens when taking these pictures is the capture of bokeh, or creative blur. An extreme example is shown to your right; a mass of coloured circles that roughly represent the city they are part of. A more subtle example, of course, is in the picture of the day at the top of this post. The lights cluster around the top of the leaves like fireflies, obviously part of a cityscape but at the same time abstract. The extreme out of focus image is a blurred version of the picture on the left. A view over Sheffield from Pitsmoor, looking up Netherthorpe Road and up to the university. Even when the buildings are focussed (roughly; I'm still practicing) the lights take on the shape of the lens's aperture. I try to incorporate some foreground focus wh

Another canal walk

The sun has started being a little more present lately, so some mornings are actually quite pleasant. On one such morning I decided to have a wander up the canal. The clouds made everything look a bit Toy Story, and the low sun gave a lovely light and contrast to everything else. Of course, it wasn't sunny everywhere. But even in the darker places, such as right underneath Leeds railway station, the sun had a go at peeking in.