Exercise 4.3 Egg or Stone?

The Brief

Use a combination of quality, contrast, direction and colour to light an object in order to reveal its form. For this exercise, we recommend that you choose a natural or organic object such as an egg or stone rather than a man-made object. Man-made or cultural artefacts can be fascinating to light but they’re already authored to some degree, which requires interpretation by the photographer; this exercise is just about controlling the light to reveal form.

You don’t need a studio light for this exercise; a desk lamp or even window light will be fine, although a camera flash that you can use remotely is a useful tool. The only proviso is that you can control the way the light falls on the subject.

Take some time to set up the shot. If you’re shooting an egg, you should think about emptying it first so that it will stand up. This is really a topic for advanced students at Level 3 but you may get some help from Google. The background for your subject will be crucial. For a smallish object, you can tape a large sheet of paper or card to the wall as an ‘infinity curve’ which you can mask off from the main light source by pieces of card. You don’t need to use a curve if you can manage the ‘horizon line’ effectively – the line where the surface meets background. Taking a high viewpoint will make the surface the background, in which case the surface you choose will be important to the shot.

Exposure times will be much longer than you’re used to (unless you’re using flash) and metering and focusing will be challenging. The key to success is to keep it simple. The important thing is to aim for four or five unique shots – either change the viewpoint, the subject or the lighting for each shot.

Add the sequence to your learning log. Draw a simple lighting diagram for each of your shots showing the position of the camera, the subject and the direction of the key light and fill. Don’t labour the diagrams; quick sketches with notes will be just as useful as perfect graphics.

Response

So for this I set up a simple rig in our conservatory comprising of 3 canvases and some ply to mount the desk lamp onto. This would be useful as the lamp is fairly moveable from that position allowing for the simple application of light on different parts of the subject. I’ve placed an image of the setup below which I shot with my smartphone.

 

All images were shot with the camera on the table or on a tripod in low light conditions. In addition to this the white balance was set to tungsten in camera and all images were sharpened in light room prior to export as JPEG files.

Image 1

I set up this shot with the camera and the lamp set level with the stone, the lamp in this instance was directed from the left of the cameras position. The position of the stone is placed adjacent the background to allow for the shadow to be cast against it. The White Balance was changed to tungsten in camera and the image was sharpened in light room before export.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS Kiss X4
  • Taken: 11 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 119mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/2.5s

 

Image 2

In this shot the stone was placed almost centre to the stage and in the instance the light source is coming directly from the left with the came set firm on the table. The White Balance was changed to tungsten in camera and the image was sharpened in light room before export.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS Kiss X4
  • Taken: 11 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 56mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/2.5s

Image 3

I set up this shot with the camera and the lamp set level with the stone, the lamp in this instance was directed from the left of the cameras position. The position of the stone is placed adjacent the background to allow for the shadow to be cast against it. The White Balance was changed to tungsten in camera and the image was sharpened in light room before export.

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS Kiss X4
  • Taken: 11 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 56mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/2.5s

Image 4

I set up this shot with the camera and the lamp set level with the stone, the lamp in this instance was directed from the left of the cameras position. The position of the stone is placed adjacent the background to allow for the shadow to be cast against it. The White Balance was changed to tungsten in camera and the image was sharpened in light room before export.

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS Kiss X4
  • Taken: 11 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 59mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/2.5s

Image 5

I set up this shot with the camera and the lamp set level with the stone, the lamp in this instance was directed from the left of the cameras position. The position of the stone is placed adjacent the background to allow for the shadow to be cast against it. The White Balance was changed to tungsten in camera and the image was sharpened in light room before export.

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS Kiss X4
  • Taken: 11 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 45mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/2.5s

Whilst the images above serve to illustrate the response to the brief, I am not entirely satisfied with end result. On reflection all of the images in question have a warm tinge to them, no doubt as a combination of the white balance settings and the harsh unfiltered light of the table lamp. If I was to go further with this as an assignment the first thing I would look at is the lighting. In addition the sharpness

  • Taken: 14 April, 2020
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