Tag Archives: macro

The Strobist – Cooking Light

Sarah here. In my quest to learn how to bend light to my will, I’ve been working through the Lighting 102 class over at the Strobist. I did the early exercises, but got stuck for a bit on the first assignment, aptly described as “deceptively simple”:

The assignment is to photograph one or more kitchen utensils – knives, forks, spoons, whisks – whatever you like. The look you are going or is that of ordinary object elevated to high art. Or at least commercial art, as this is the kind of thing that might appear as a catalog cover or in a calendar or on the wall of one of those ubiquitous “fast casual” restaurants.

It’s harder than it sounds. I finally buckled down and knocked it out today, using my super-fancy homemade cardboard light box to make a single speedlight nice and soft and less unidirectional. One of the harder parts was getting my subject to stay in position; I built a little mountain out of a dome diffuser and old corks to hold the corkscrew at a good angle, but it was less stable than a house of cards. More than once, I got everything set up perfectly, was juuuuuuuust adjusting the focus, had my finger resting on the shutter button……… and then the whole wobbly structure collapsed unceremoniously. Le sigh.

But eventually it held together long enough to pull off a few shots, and I actually kinda like a few of them.

Strobist - CookingLight

He and She

Sarah here.

As you may have gathered from my last post, I’ve spent a lot of time in Lightroom lately. This weekend, I realized I was getting rusty on the shooting and Photoshop side of things, so I did a quick & dirty macro shoot just to shake the cobwebs off.

Two lessons:

1. Light intentionally: This was window light, which was fine, but it was fiddly as the sun peeked in and out of the clouds.  Also, the catchlights don’t match (though maybe it’s cool that they’re sort of symmetrical).  Next time I’ll set up a speedlight to get more consistency.

2. Get a headrest: My models were standing, and it’s impossible to stand without some sway. Macro lenses have such an incredibly narrow depth of field, and the frame was so tight on the eye, that even a teeeeeeeeny bit of movement meant that the point of focus was in front of or behind the eye, and/or the eye wasn’t fully in the frame.  I probably can’t eliminate that movement, but there should be ways to minimize it.

I didn’t have a concept in mind for the final image, but this eventually came together while doodling, and I like the colors (sampled from each eye). I think it could be a cool idea for an engagement photoshoot… next time I have a couple together, I want to give this another go.