A Cool Photography Project
Photography can be a serious business, done for fun or it can be both. Everything depends on your particular purpose for taking photographs and your particular approach.
Over the years I have done many projects. Some with models, nature shoots, still life, macro and so on.
I also like to develop new techniques for when I don't feel like going out into the field or just want to do a project on my own without any restrictions and be creative at the same time.
One of these projects takes elements from other projects which I have done in the past. It involves taking some food coloring, a glass container which I have to do myself since it is custom made. some leaves (Autumn colored ones work better), glass beads, flowers and flower petals, fake jewelry pieces and other colorful items.
The first thing to do is to make a low sided glass "fish tank"; In other words the tank should have it's four sides be rather low and should not contain any plastic or wood or even metal edges other than the glass itself. Although a standard fish tank will work, because you will be using items that float, the size of a standard tank will add too much separation to your subjects and you will tend to lose detail in the items at the top.
You should then have a surface upon which you can lay another flat panel of glass upon which the tank itself will rest. This is because you will be laying on your back while taking the photos directly below the tank.
Next assemble your items and place them in the tank. You can either put them in first and fill the tank with water or you can have someone drop them into the water filled tank. You will still need someone to assist you in revolving the water thus making your items sort of float and traverse the tank. Note choose the food coloring that you will be using ahead of time and add it to the water before you place your items in it.
This is so that you can test the density and color variations and in case you need to empty the water and start over you will not have to start removing many small items.
Place on light fixture above the tank but make sure that it is a low level one. This is to enhance that translucency of some of your subjects. Ensure that you place it high enough so that its light does not blind you or overpower the subjects so much that you end up with only silhouettes. Do not shine a light at the bottom of the tank since more than likely you will end up recording reflections.
Keep in mind to leave enough space between you and the glass panel surface to be able to photograph and you should use a macro capable lens able to focus properly within short distances. The use of a polarizing filter is recommended as it helps with the elimination of most glare.
Since you will be using a low level light you should use the manual setting of your camera and manually focus. Also set a large aperture to allow as much light as possible to enter the film plane or hit the digital sensor plus a large aperture or f-stop will blur any elements that fall outside of the main subjects.
The idea is to be creative. For the moment think like a painter that is creating an abstract piece of art instead of being a photographer. You still need to ensure that your technical aspects are in line and everything is sharp, but try to capture images that appear as abstracts.
Take many images as no image will be like the other and you want to have in hand a good selection of images from which to choose the best one.
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© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez
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