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    Assignment 4:

    Lighting Techniques

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 1

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    Introduction

    Here is the fourth assignment after a long batch of exercises related to lighting.

    I have tried to be as open to experimentation and practice as usual not only for the exercises, but

    also for the assignment.

    One of the first milestones to overcome was the selection of the object. I have been investigating inthe learning blogs of other OCA students and I realize immediately that it was going to be difficult

    to choose an original object.

    After reading and viewing the work of the scottish photographer Niall Benvie (and I have to admit

    that I really like almost everything he does) I even considered to go for an unusual object (such as

    my house) and follow his de-construction techniques (but then much more than about eight

    photographs would be needed).

    However I reconsidered my position re-reading the assignment brief that clearly specifies a

    subject that you can move around (and I already had enough brief infringement, and corresponding

    full repetition of the assignment, in the previous block of the course).

    One of the things I like about this course is that it is motivating me to see the work of many greatphotographers. Photographers that (and I have to apologize for my ignorance) were completely

    unknown to me. In December (see here) I found (recommended by friends, and other blogs) Edward

    Weston. One of the things that stroked me is that he was able to make the most beautiful

    photographs of the most commonplace, ordinary objects. And then I realize that the object choice

    was not so important after all.

    Weston Is well known for the toilet photograph, for the peppers photographs and...for the nautilus

    shell ones. Shells are fascinating objects with an incredible varied typology, colour and size.

    Additionally, they are representative of one of the most recurrent and fascinating forms in

    nature....the spiral. I decided then to use a shell as object and I found one with good chances of

    become an interesting photographic object (in my humble opinion).

    Once I had the subject I have tried many different things including: different backgrounds, diferent

    positions of the object, different light angles and different qualities of light (artificial and natural,

    midday, late afternoon, morning, shadow of a sunny day, shadow of a cloudy day.......).

    One of the problems I found is that, being the shell a small object, and requiring in order to fill the

    frame (and not become an irrelevant point.....thing that I also tried, by the way) was requiring the

    camera and the lens to be quite close in distance. This originates a problem of depth of field,

    particularly when using a macro lens (this is apparently, a well known problem in macro

    photography).

    NOTE.- Most of the images have been processed with photoshop to remove dust spots and in some

    cases some other minor defects (such as a small fibre visible in the shell).

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 2

    http://leopin-socalcos.blogspot.com/2011/12/edward-weston.htmlhttp://leopin-socalcos.blogspot.com/2011/12/edward-weston.html
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    SHAPE

    Shape 1:

    Camera: Canon EOS 5D

    Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Exposure: Manual exposure, 1/15 sec, f/7.1,ISO 400

    Flash: Off, Did not fire

    Made with the shell on an old wood floor and a torch placed in the back (it is a back light). The

    colour was irrelevant because the shell side exposed does not offer any colour at all. To the right

    side of the frame the floor is over exposed (in fact part of the white is completely burnt) but as a

    trade some slight detail of the shell can be appreciated. The long shadow and the silhouette give a

    first impression that the photograph is about a sort of creeping animal or strange insect.

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 3

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/
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    Shape 2:

    Camera: Canon EOS 5D

    Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Exposure: Manual exposure, 2.5 sec, f/11,ISO 200

    Flash: Off, Did not fire

    This one required a lot of experimentation. My idea was to show shape in al alternative mannerwithout re-iterating the back light/silhouette. Therefore I chose a dark background (well it was not

    black, but the light did not reach it) and an edge lighting to show the upper part (edge) of the shell

    in contrast with that background. Then there was the problem of the lower part of the shell, and I

    chose a light wooden support to define the shape again by contrast. In fact the wooden support (of a

    clear green tone) was reflecting a greenish colour in the lower part of the shell, which I didn't like at

    all (that's why a monochrome conversion was chosen).

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 4

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/
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    FORM

    Form 1:

    Camera: Canon EOS 5D

    Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Exposure: Manual exposure, 0.3 sec, f/16,ISO 400

    Flash: Off, Did not fire

    On a flat surface and viewed from above, the shell receives natural sun light almost lateral, and the

    shadows produced together with the depth of field reveal a quite complex form. The shadow along

    the diagonal and the blue colour of the background contrasting with the orange tones of the shell,

    emphasized by the warm sun light, provide the impression of an asteroid travelling through space.

    No need to point to the fact that (as all the photographs before) the camera was on tripod and timer

    triggered.

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 5

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    Form 2:

    Camera: Canon EOS 5D

    Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Exposure: Manual exposure, 1/30 sec, f/20,ISO 800

    Flash: Off, Did not fire

    Here the problem of the depth of field is clearly appearing. In order to have all the shell sharp, and

    given the short distance of the lens to it a quite high f/ value is required. In order to get a reasonable

    exposure the ISO or the exposure time has to be increased. For a pragmatic reason (I was moving

    around the subject and shooting with the camera handheld from other angles) I decided to increase

    the ISO value, but it could have been the exposure time as long as the camera is on tripod or firmly

    supported. In my opinion, even though the ISO has a relatively high value, the amount of noise is

    reasonable.

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 6

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    TEXTURE

    Texture 1:

    Camera: Canon EOS 5D

    Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Exposure: Manual exposure, 2 sec, f/22,

    ISO 200Flash: Off, Did not fire

    A quite extreme close-up, almost an abstraction. A huge f/ value required, but this time it was the

    exposure time that was increased. The axis of the rugged shell becomes a diagonal and strongly

    contrasts with the regular background. The defined shadows produced by a small, not diffused

    artificial light help to provide an almost tactile feeling.

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 7

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/
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    Texture 2:

    Camera: Canon EOS 5D

    Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Exposure: Manual exposure, 2.5 sec, f/11,ISO 200

    Flash: Off, Did not fire

    A different angle and a more diffuse light may also serve the purpose of showing the texture in

    another way.

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 8

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    Colour

    Colour 1:

    Camera: Canon EOS 5D

    Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    Exposure: Manual exposure, 1/15 sec, f/11,ISO 400

    Flash: Off, Did not fire

    This is the image with the more post processing of the set. The shell has nice texture and form

    properties but it has a weak point, it doesn't have many colours, only different tonalities of orange.

    First of all I had to choose a background that could help me emphasizing the soft colours. It had to

    be a complementary or a contrasting colour.

    Blue, the complementary, I tried and it was producing a too strong contrast, and additionally a weird

    photograph, because there is a colour not easy to find in nature (apart from the sky, which I also

    tried, but then I had a back light...not a good idea to show colour), so I was almost forced to use a

    blue artificial background (such as a cardboard). Green was certainly easier and the contrast softer. I

    Leopoldo de Castro The Art of Photography Assignment 3 Page 9

    http://www.d