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Thread: Glass viewed from above

  1. #1

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    Glass viewed from above

    One of the ideas on my shot list has been to photograph glassware from above. I had not gotten around to doing it because I knew that the requirements to shine light through the tabletop from below and to mount the camera on a boom to shoot from above would be more difficult than my usual setups for photographing clear glass from the side. I wasn't even sure I had the equipment or space in my makeshift studio that would be needed to make it happen.

    A week or so ago I received my monthly copy of Popular Photography and saw a photograph made almost exactly as I had already planned -- including the use of one piece of textured glass strategically placed in the frame. I liked the photo a lot, which confirmed for me that it would be worth going to to the trouble to try creating my own setup.

    The photo in the magazine, the setup and a description of how the photo was made can be found here. That setup lights the glass using a bright field, which is a method that I have often used, thanks to my lighting bible, Light: Science and Magic.

    So, I finally created my setup, which was surprisingly easy to do even in my tiny space using equipment that I regularly use. It is exactly as described in the magazine except for the following: Rather than bounce bright light off the floor using six strobes, I used one large lamp containing five compact fluorescent bulbs that project light directly through the white acrylic and the clear tabletop. That setup made it impossible to light the tabletop nearly perfectly evenly as was done by the pro; instead, my lighting produced a slight vignette which I hope you think I used to my advantage. Rather than using a filter to provide the sepia toning, I made that happen during post-processing. That leads to surely the biggest difference between my setup and the pro's setup: He used a film camera and I used a digital camera.

    By the way, the magazine article makes a point of mentioning that though most clear glass is photographed using black-and-white styles, the pro made a sepia photo. I'm rather proud that I have been photographing clear glass using sepia toning and other toning almost since I began photographing glass.

    Now that the setup is, well, set up, expect to see more images of glass photographed from above coming from my camera.


    Glass viewed from above
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 15th June 2013 at 07:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    I like it. Very unique composition.

    Bruce

  3. #3

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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Glad you like it, Bruce!

  4. #4

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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Your best yet. Really cool.

  5. #5

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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Wow! Thanks, Bobo!

  6. #6
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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Oooh, I really like this and I am eagerly awaiting the next in the series

  7. #7

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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Thank you, Jon! The next photo is much simpler.

  8. #8
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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Love this one... the amount of detail you capture in such simple things is amazing.

  9. #9
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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Hi Mike!

    I saw that article when Pop Photo hit the newsstands. I was standing in an airport thumbing through it killing time!

    Looked interesting and it looks to me like you nailed your shot.

    Funny, the article mentions the photographer as being “a master of the minimalist approach to studio product photography”!

    Dude should try to work with what you and some of the rest of us work with!

    Nicely done, Mike.

  10. #10
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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Big tick from me too Mike. Great stuff.

    Dave

  11. #11

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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Thank you to Terry and Dave!

  12. #12
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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    I also think this is great! Haven't looked at the article yet as I wanted to look at yours with no bias.

    I really like all the different styles of glass you used. I also like that there are different perspectives on the pieces. The only piece that bothers me (and please know this is such a slight bother it's almost not worth mentioning) is the far left piece that isn't as much in focus as everything else. I would be tempted to crop that out, cutting the small glass on the bottom and moving the spiral of the top glass toward the corner, which I also think kinda keeps us from wandering out of the frame.

    I really hope people take the time to look at this full size. It's great stuff!

  13. #13
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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    These are excellent Mike - a great capture! It's nice to see taking pictures of glass that has not been broken...

  14. #14

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    Re: Glass viewed from above

    Terri: All of the ideas you suggested are certainly valid and I appreciate you offering them. As I was creating the composition, there were a million choices to be made. I can't say that mine work more for me more than yours would if I tried them. I also can't say that I might not like your ideas better than mine a week from now or that I might not like mine better two weeks from now.

    Once you look at the pro's image, you'll see that his photo has a cleaner look. That's probably partly because he was able to shoot (I think) with his camera farther away from the subjects, at least relatively speaking, surely because he has a real studio as opposed to my tiny makeshift studio. That allowed him to not only use more subjects but also have more negative space around them.

    The other factor is probably that his subjects are made of fine quality crystal, as opposed to mine which are made of cheap glass.

    So, I used those two factors that I had no control over hopefully to create an image that is more in-your-face and with more grunge, so to speak. In other words, I tried to leverage the limitations of my shooting conditions into strengths rather than accept them as weaknesses.

    Manfred: I plan to make more photos of broken glass.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 2nd June 2013 at 04:03 AM.

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