Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dark still life shooting

I pretty much photograph constantly, and don't I don't always have a plan for what the subject will be. Sometimes I just get an idea of a type of lighting in my head and begin with that, adding the subjects to suit. A couple days ago while in the studio I felt like shooting some really darkly lit still life subjects so I set up a lighting scene with black background and dark base, and added two tungsten lights from the rear, one on each side. I controlled the shadows with small cardboard gobos. Then I added subjects that might look good in that type of light. This is what happened.

This type of backlighting is perfect for photographing smoke so I did a number of situations with smoke in them. 

While shooting this still life set up I decided to make it more interesting by doing a deep focus technique on it. I took ten shots focusing each one just a little closer to the camera each time until I had a the full range from front to back covered. I then fed the ten images into the Helicon Focus stacking software to combine the images into one, super-sharp final photograph with continuous focus from foreground to the back of the books. From experience I find that an aperture of f/5.6 with my Nikon 85mm tilt shift lens gives the best results. Click here to download a high res version of this file.

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