huckleberry2727on Mar 18
Orange Perspective – 03/16/2013
Taken at Arlington, VA
I had a bit of creative block trying to think of a photo idea that could fit a theme of “Orange”. Creativity is not my strong suit, so most of my ideas revolved around actual oranges – slicing them, lighting them in various ways, perhaps shooting one rolling along and then freezing it with second curtain flash. I then thought about UVA basketball and orange jerseys, since it is close to NCAA tournament time.
Ultimately, however, I decided I wanted to play with different shades of orange and different textures within those shades. The result was me setting up a shot in my basement that was comprised of three layers of equipment.
The bottom layer was simply my camera, on the floor and pointed straight up at the ceiling.
The middle layer was built using two chairs to hold a sheet of clear plexiglass over the camera, then setting a short round glass on the plexiglass. The round glass contained Mad Fox Brewery’s Rockstar Red Irish Red Ale and a shot glass with Macallan 15 scotch (with saran wrap covering the shot glass so that the round glass could stay full). The Macallan had a nice golden amber color which was distinct from the auburn tone of the beer. I wanted the round glass to be full since I knew I was going to use a flash – and a fuller glass meant the beer would stay relatively darker.
The top layer was formed by a light stand, which clamped a square Scrim Jim frame horizontally over the plexiglass. I stretched white seamless paper over the frame and taped it in place.
From there, with the lights on, I tested the shot to get the angle of the camera to the glass correct, get the glass in proper focus, keep the chairs out of the shot, get the paper properly situated over the glass. Once I had situated the shot as I wanted it and dialed in the focus, I switched to manual – I would trigger the shot using an intervalometer which would keep me from having to depress any buttons on the camera.
I then turned off all lights and lit the shot using two 600EX Speedlites. One Speedlite was on the ground, with a diffuser dome on it, behind the camera and positioned far enough away to avoid getting a reflection, but close enough to add a slight bit of fill to the bottom of the glass. The second Speedlite I gelled with a CTO and fired it straight into the top of the seamless paper. I experimented with different angles and distances. Ultimately, I liked the quick falloff produced by firing it very close to the paper. The angle I liked best was placing it directly over (or just off-center from) the part of the paper above the glass. This lit the beer and whiskey well and produced some interesting circular light patterns in the bottom of the glass. To me, the bright center and fast falloff to inky blackness evokes a celestial feeling.
This was shot in Manual at ‘guess’ settings I thought would work: f/2.8, 24-70mm lens at 65mm for composition purposes, ISO 100, 1/125th of a second.