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Thread: Handmade Glass

  1. #1
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Handmade Glass

    This is a handmade paperweight that is actually glass inside of glass. I watched a couple of these being made at one of our local glass blower’s shop.

    There are no spectral highlights on the outside of this glass but there are air bubbles on the inside!

    It was lit with one light.

    Handmade Glass

  2. #2
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Did you stick that in a hole in a black board and light from below? Clever. No worries about stray light, and the details really pop. I think this would be even more powerful with a more colorful paperweight and slightly more sharpening. But this is a great example of adapting the light to your subject. Clever!

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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Marvelous! Please explain your lighting set up and your tabletop.

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    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Hey thanks guys!

    Lex hit the nail on the head, Mike! And yeah Lex, now that you mention it I did intend to give it some extra sharpening and realized I forgot to do that before I posted. I still (and probably always will) make dumb mistakes! Thank you for mentioning that. I’ll do just that before it gets archived.

    The bottom of the sphere is bare glass, meaning no piece of felt or anything on it.

    Mike, the backdrop is black velvet and about 10” behind the piece. The bottom is black matte (5mm I think) artist board. Kind of like poster board. As Lex mentioned, I cut a hole in the artist paper about ¾” diameter. And set the piece on the hole. The paperweight and artist board is setting on a glass top coffee table I have. Makes under lighting happen!

    I fired a tightly snooted Speedlight up from the bottom through the hole in the artist board. It was snooted at roughly the size of the bottom of the paperweight. But remember, the hole it was going through was about ¾”. The foam-sheet snoot was about 10” long and I put the business end of it right against the bottom of the glass of the coffee table. Most all of the light was directed up through the paperweight and I snooted it to control the light because I didn’t want a lot of light bouncing around all over the place under the coffee table glass.

    Mike, I know you know this from reading about your glass studio. But I’m going to mention it anyway because as you know, this is important and is a huge part of making this kind of shot happen.

    The entire set was enclosed in black. On the backdrop stand I rested a 5’x3-1/2’ piece of black foam board to form the “roof” and propped it up on the camera end of the set. On that I draped a black fleece blanket that extended down the sides over two other pieces of foam board I had propped against the coffee table to form and flag the sides of the box. It also draped on the camera end of the “black box”, which I sealed around the lens. The idea is to kill all ambient light inside. I shot a 15 second exposure with no flash that came up totally black so I figured I had it about where it needed to be!

    The reason for this is because the glass sphere will pick up any room reflections including a reflection of you and the camera. I had to put a flashlight (torch for my overseas buds) in the box just to autofocus (and once done locked it in by switching to manual focus) and then killing it for the shot.

    Shot on a tripod. I couldn’t see the object at all from any angle except by looking through the viewfinder once I closed the box. In fact, once the trigger was pulled, I couldn’t even tell the flash fired by looking at the outside of the box except by reviewing the shot on the LCD. So the black box was working.

    Shot with a 70-200/2.8L racked @ 200mm and about three feet away or so. The shot was cropped to a 5:4 aspect. f/8, 1/60, ISO 400.

    Flash was fired manually @ 1/16 and change.

    The nice thing about this set-up was the only thing I had to do in post for the background/foreground was to heal one little speck of dust. No horizon line and they matched up pretty nicely. The bonus was the nice reflection of light on the paper in the foreground. A reflection of light and color (sort of), but not a true reflection per se.

    Other than that the background/foreground is untouched and shot a nice dark field.

    Sorry for being windy, Mike (again)!

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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Thanks for the detailed explanation, Terry. I'm going to bookmark your thread as a reminder of your lighting scheme.

    I'm surprised that the tabletop made of black artist board provides such a pleasantly soft reflection. I would have expected that its texture would show up too much. Does it stand up to scrutiny when viewing the full-size file?

    For those who haven't considered photographing clear glass (parts of your subject appear to be clear), they can't appreciate the need to go to the trouble that you went through to create a black tent when working in a relatively small area. Very well done!

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    Re: Handmade Glass

    This is very interesting. I recently visited a glass blowing shop and was amazed at the lights hitting off the various pieces and wondered how cool that would look photographically.

    One question… is there any difference using a flash under the table vs using a torch/light?

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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    is there any difference using a flash under the table vs using a torch/light?
    If you're referring to a continuous light when mentioning a "torch/light," the advantage of using a flash is that it's easier to control where the light goes (such as using Terry's snoot) and it's easier to control the power of the light (such as using Terry's setting of 1/16 power). Any light source that provides the look you want will be just fine.

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    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Thanks for the detailed explanation, Terry. I'm going to bookmark your thread as a reminder of your lighting scheme.
    You are, of course, most welcome, Mike. Happy to do it, sir.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I'm surprised that the tabletop made of black artist board provides such a pleasantly soft reflection. I would have expected that its texture would show up too much. Does it stand up to scrutiny when viewing the full-size file?
    Yes. It stands up nicely in the full res. I was pleasantly surprised myself. I thought I might have to really work it in post but it required no extra work. I like the soft reflection more than I do a hard, detailed mirror-like reflection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    One question… is there any difference using a flash under the table vs using a torch/light?
    In addition to Mike's response, Mike, I would add that I wouldn't use "hot" lights for this. But if you used, say, a flashlight you just might have to make a longer exposure is all. But it will definitely work.

    EDIT: I'm going to append that last, Mike. If your torch/light is strong enough to get all the way through the glass, then it should work.

    It took way longer to set this shot up than it did to shoot it!
    Last edited by Loose Canon; 25th April 2013 at 02:52 PM.

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Canon View Post
    It took way longer to set this shot up than it did to shoot it!
    This is probably true for the vast majority of really great non-journalistic photographs. Like how sports shooters will spend six hours sitting cramped and cross-legged for the right 1/500sec of action or a landscape photog will cheerfully freeze his arse off for half the day until the light's just so. You do need to work for great results, and I think a lot of newbies and artists who turn up their noses at photography miss that point.

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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Terry - beautiful, and nicely executed.

    I plan to, (cough, cough) "borrow," your setup for a couple of ideas I have. I'll be sure to give you credit.

    Thanks for posting!

  11. #11
    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Thanks for the clarification between using a flash vs continuous light. Ive seen maglites used effectively, but understand the power the light does make a difference. I have a glass top that Im saving for stuff like this...

  12. #12
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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Stunning, beautiful photo.

  13. #13
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Handmade Glass

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    This is probably true for the vast majority of really great non-journalistic photographs. Like how sports shooters will spend six hours sitting cramped and cross-legged for the right 1/500sec of action or a landscape photog will cheerfully freeze his arse off for half the day until the light's just so. You do need to work for great results, and I think a lot of newbies and artists who turn up their noses at photography miss that point.
    I don’t know about the artists who turn up their noses, Lex, but for new photographers I would say that it is a Labor of Love. If you are really into it, it is always worth the effort! Kind of a “more you put into it the more you get out of it” thing!

    Quote Originally Posted by cliffmccartney View Post
    I plan to, (cough, cough) "borrow," your setup for a couple of ideas I have. I'll be sure to give you credit.
    Please feel free Cliff! It’s (cough, cough) not really my original idea! Just tweaked for what I was hoping to get out of the shot! Hope you will post the results of your ideas for us.

    Thank you for commenting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    Thanks for the clarification between using a flash vs continuous light. Ive seen maglites used effectively, but understand the power the light does make a difference. I have a glass top that Im saving for stuff like this...
    Hey Mike!

    You are most welcome if you are referring to me! If you are referring to Mike then I’ll help you thank him!

    I have done some shoots with DIY lighting and rigs just to prove to myself that it would work. It can and the workarounds (if any) you come up with always fit nicely in the “bag ‘o tricks"!

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Stunning, beautiful photo.
    Hi Christina!

    That is one heck of a thing for you to say to me.

    Thank you so much.

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