Impossible 2


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Impossible 2

6 Apr 2021 9:42AM   Views : 496 Unique : 324


Advance planning

So here’s the plan… I will move the kettle and tea-making kit onto the kitchen table, then move other loose stuff to the side: probably also taking down the roll of kitchen paper. I’ll leave the chopping boards on the right hand side, and there will be a space wide enough to put some light card curved up to the bottom of the cupboards at the back, and either weighted down at the front, or possibly held down with masking tape. I’ll be paying attention to the curve of the card between horizontal and vertical, to avoid unwanted shadows from my improvised ‘infinity curve’.

I plan to use the IKEA downlight for the second shot, after dark in the evening.


Shot 1

Halfway through: I’ve shot the first images, and have established that it’s a good idea to switch off the fluorescent ceiling light. Doh… And even in daylight, the IKEA LEDs alter the exposure and the look noticeably. And I now know to pull out the flex for the LEDs so that I can switch them on and off without reaching behind the ‘infinity curve’ to the wall sockets, which creased the card a bit…


The daylight in the room comes from two windows on the opposite wall, so the camera and tripod could easily block the light: so it can be important to step aside before triggering the shutter. But as a proof-of-concept session, the twenty minutes I spent on moving and setting up (not to mention removing the card and plugging the kettle back in) was time very well spent!


Shot 2

At night, the light gets more dramatic: and, quite obviously, the light I used this time around wasn’t suitable for much variety: all overhead lights tend to require the subject in precisely the right place, and with the camera pointing exactly the right way to get light where you want it, and not where you don’t.

But it would be easy to introduce a reading light or a small torch for more variety of effect: what works will depend on what you want to photograph, and how you want it to look.


In terms of a doable project, I reckon this worked: so the challenge to the people who feel they don’t have an area to work in is – try it. If still life isn’t the thing for you, identify a place where you can shoot a head-and-shoulders with an uncluttered background – or maybe it’s about finding a plant in the garden, or a hedge, or on a roadside verge that you can keep coming back to. And then, getting that first shot taken, processed – and posted!


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
6 Apr 2021 9:45AM
In my limited still life terms, this worked: if still life was my thing, I am pretty sure I could develop it further - in reality, I shall make use of the area I've set up in the garage, which is much larger, and where I can leave things for weeks!

The point of the blog, though, was to identify an unlikely sort of place for shooting still life, and showing myself (and you) that it's feasible... So your task - should you wish to accept it - is to find a photogrpahic area in your house, for shooting pictures you have told yourself you can't manage at home...
chase Avatar
chase Plus
18 2.5k 682 England
6 Apr 2021 11:34AM
That little set up works well John, masking tape or similar is always good to have to hand.
Lots of potential there, I am lucky enough to have daylight coming in from a big window on the left of my set up and a window head on to roller blinds are useful.
cooky Avatar
cooky Plus
19 7 11 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2021 5:38PM
This has all made me empathise, laugh and reinforce I am not the only bonkers person on here!

Years ago when Pete was Editor, I gained a Photo of the week award, still in my gallery and the canvas of it, which was the prize, on the wall. I did very similar to your set up John. Piece of black sugar paper as background propped against bottles and natural light source from the window. The stones I used from my garden stones collection, (What do you mean...doesn't everyone have one?) Took me a while to balance the stones and quite a few handheld shots with my trusty and beloved Fuji 5000, before I was happy. I seem to remember that somebody said I had glued the stones together and somebody couldn't understand the concept behind the image. I think I revealed my 'studio' but I'll check!

This week I have stood on a kitchen chair and took the shadow of my cheese grater on the worktop. My image tomorrow is another standing on a chair, shadow image. I may stop soon as Graham is becoming stressed but accepts I'm vertically challenged! I watched a programme several years ago where a female photographer carried a ladder with her to help her get the angle she needed, I feel her pain!

I share your view John, Heath Robinson it, post it and see what everyone thinks, what can you possibly lose, game on!
kaybee Avatar
kaybee 19 8.7k 28 Scotland
6 Apr 2021 6:03PM
It doesn't have to be as small a subject as your cutlery either - THIS ONE was taken in a space no bigger than yours.
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 37 8 England
6 Apr 2021 6:40PM
Lots of these types of set ups have sides as well as a backdrop. I'm pretty sure you know exactly what you're doing when it comes to setting up any sort of lighting so I only ask
this because I'm curious. Did you want the reflected light from the fridge and the Glass and white chopping boards to be included in the set up and images.
I'm assuming you did as it would have been fairly easy to block them out, or were you just going for the simplest set up in the available space ?

I like these simple little projects that you can do at home. It makes you exercise your creative muscles and it gets the camera out of the camera bag.
Leaving it in there with the battery in for weeks on end is not a good idea SmileSmile
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
6 Apr 2021 9:08PM

Quote: It makes you exercise your creative muscles and it gets the camera out of the camera bag.
Leaving it in there with the battery in for weeks on end is not a good idea

I'v used a small space like this a number of times, the images re some way back in my portfolio but some new ones will be along soon.
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
7 Apr 2021 8:08AM
I would be tempted to find a way to install a temporary 'ceiling' and use that for bouncing flash. As good as a softbox most of the time.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
7 Apr 2021 3:24PM
I was going for the quickest, simplest setup possible: it was about proving that an unlikely-looking area can work, easily and well. And I tend to like going with the light that's there...

However, the idea of full control appeals - and I'd love to find an all-black studio for figure work!

For 'ordinary' still lifes, I have a much larger area in my garage where I've forced back the junk, and that will be where I do most such things: I've just upgraded my macro lens, as I expect to be doing more closeups in future. Mind you, the garage is colder...

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