== Love Photography == Delight in Light ==

Tuesday 13 March 2007

The Claw

Claw Protecting Treasure

This is a photo of the left-overs of a crab that my brother-in-law and I had (rather unsuccessfully) cooked on the bbq. I noticed that the left-over legs looked like claws so I decided to try to capture a photo that looked like some sort of monster's arm reaching out for something. The "something" was a plastic bouncy ball that I found lying around the house; the "arm" was miscellaneous pieces of left-overs strategically placed behind the legs.

To get the photo I found an old piece of hardboard and drilled a hole in it a little smaller than the ball. This allowed me to light the ball from underneath to give it the "mysterious glow" effect. The light underneath was a bare flash with barn-doors (so that it only lit the ball and didn't spill out around the sides of the board). The "claw" itself was lit with another flash in a home-made soft-box behind and to the right (as you look at it). I positioned the soft box a couple of metres away so that the light wasn't too soft. I used a Mamiya medium-format camera with Velvia transparency film and a flash meter to set the exposure for the two flashes. I subsequently scanned the transparency and gave it some slight tweaks in Photoshop (curves and that sort of thing) to give it a bit more punch.

I'm not really convinced that the hardboard and shavings really worked, but, other than that, I was pleased with how it turned out - particularly as that was still in the days when you didn't get to see the photo instantly to check the effect, but had to wait for it to come back from being processed!

Monday 12 March 2007

Victoria Falls at Sunrise

Victoria Falls at Sunrise

I took this photo several years ago when I was visiting Victoria Falls (on the Zambezi River in Africa between Zimbabwe and Zambia) on honeymoon with my wife. It was taken with a 35mm film camera (remember those??) - the digital version here was scanned from a 6x4" print on a flat-bed scanner

Whilst visiting Vic Falls, I (obviously) took quite a few photos (not as many as I probably would in these days of digital, of course) but most of the were what you might call "record" shots - I don't know if it is because I had seen so many other photos of the Falls in the past (I used to live in Zimbabwe), but I was finding it difficult to feel inspired about capturing something that I felt was at all interesting or that captured anything of the feel of the place.

In the end, based on the well known fact that the light makes or breaks landscape photos, I decided that the best plan would be to try to get a shot at sunrise (sunset, which would have been easier, didn't really work because the light direction didn't seem to be working).

I have to admit that it was a bit of a challenge to drag myself and my wife out of our nice warm bed early enough to get there in time, but the light (and, actually, the whole experience) was absolutely fantastic - if you are ever anywhere like that, then I strongly recommend making the effort to get up and see the sunrise. Not only did I get some photos that were much more interesting that the others I had taken, but also a memory that both of us treasure - and one that we would have missed if it weren't for that desire to get out there and capture that more interesting photo.

In terms of technique, by the way, there wasn't really anything difficult about this shot - I'm reasonably sure that I used my tripod, and I determined the exposure to use by taking spot readings from the dark and light areas on the scene and then choosing an overall exposure that I thought would give a reasonable overall exposure.