Monday, June 20, 2011

A Photographer Gets Bored

Here´s my impress-your-friends-ten-minute-setup® for today.

You need:

- a camera
- a macro lens or any close-up arrangement, be it a close-up lens or macro rings
- a black oven tray
- a habanero chili or whatever fruit you like
- a window
- daylight
- maybe a tripod

Put the oven tray flat on a chair before the window. The black finish gives you an interesting structure whilst being reflective enough to mirror the blue daylight sky.
Arrange the fuit of your choice on the oven tray and look for a camera angle so that you see the skylight reflect from the tray. You can add a bit of fill light with a piece of paper or white cardboard, if you like.

You should use a macro set-up, because this´ll not only let you get in real close, but also keep background sharpness fading away quickly. You wouldn´t want anybody to notice that you set your shot up on a stupid oven tray, would you?

That´s it. Take your shot. The oven tray reflects the sky and that gives you the blue backdrop. Fruit usually isn´t blue (since blue is a poison color) which gives an interesting contrast for your shot. [If it is (like blueberries or prunes) there´s still a lot of potential there, since contrast isn´t everything ;-) ]

Here´s the real trick: I chose a yellow habanereo chili. It´s not only really hot to eat but also it´s YELLOW. That´s why I could force the camera into incandescent white balance without losing the natural look of the fruit. Yellow colour won´t be ruined by a yellow-ish white balance, it will still look natural. This´ll make the reflections turn real blue, because the camera then expects to see warm lightbulb light and gets filled with blueish daylight reflections. Yup, turns super-blue there.

Ususally, the direct reflections of daylight on that oven tray are sufficiently blue to look great and contrasty. But don´t stop there and play with your white balance settings. Get a good shot and change the settings. You surely will get another one.

Have Fun!


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