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Thread: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

  1. #1
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    I am experimenting with window light and would appreciate your C&C. This is a simple still life of vintage items I assembled. Aperture priority, f8, shot with my 18-55 kit lens.
    Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    What aperture did you use and what was your focal point? With items like these either one should be in sharp focus or all. Use either the face of the watch or the beaded jewels of the purse.

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    John,

    Thank you for taking the time to C&C. Aperture was F8, focal length was 30mm. I used a tripod and a remote. The focus point was supposed to be the pocket watch, but now that I re-look the image, I wonder if the actual point is just slightly before? Are you thinking a different aperture setting would have worked better?

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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    I suspect that what John is referring to is the top left corner which is slightly out of focus; gloves I think.

    This type of scene usually works best when everything is in sharp focus, or alternatively, obviously and deliberately out of focus.

    A narrower aperture, say F14, would give you a greater depth of field. If this doesn't cure the problem some recomposition of the items may be necessary.

    But it is a nice idea so keep experimenting.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie Hass View Post
    John,

    Thank you for taking the time to C&C. Aperture was F8, focal length was 30mm. I used a tripod and a remote. The focus point was supposed to be the pocket watch, but now that I re-look the image, I wonder if the actual point is just slightly before? Are you thinking a different aperture setting would have worked better?
    The kit lens (18-55mm) is one of the most underated lenses sold, I probably would have forsaken mine if I had not gained an interest in still life photography. The 18-55mm is rated for best sharpness (near the 30mm you used) at apertures of f/5.3-32 when printed at 5"x7". At the f/8 aperture you used, the lens quality factor decreases as the size of the print increases but still maintains a +90 approval rating up to print sizes of 11'x14".

    That's an idea of how sharp you can get your image with your choice of lens. Now how you want to present this particular image is a matter of personal taste and you can easily present the watch as your main focal point, with an overall sharp image, by simply using the rule of thirds and placing the watch near the interesecting points. In this image, the watch is almost centered within the composition and would benefit from the use of leading lines or placement to make it the object of interest.

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    Thank you Geoff for your input. I will re-shoot with a narrower aperture, and John, thanks for your endorsement of the kit lens. I too, am finding it much more useful for sharpness and clarity than my 70-300. I will try moving the watch to an intersecting point. This is a easy enough fix to effect. I will re-shoot in a few days.

    Your input is invaluable. Please continue. Marie :-)

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    Hello to Geoff and John!

    I had the chance to re-shoot the above still life. I shot with a narrower aperture and I did recompose. Does it work better? Please tell me what you think.
    Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    Where to start...as there is no beginning. Too much of too much. There's just too many things in the setup to give any one thing the primary focal interest. I did do an adjustment, but even so, it looks too arranged to be viewed as a tabletop after the opera - tea's on.
    There are three points of conflict I think you need to address in the next shot. One, whichever light is on the box at the top, either diffuse much more or move back as it is giving off way too much glare, and two, find a more neutral background color. I am thinking a dark rustlike color which will help to push the purse forward. Lastly, lose about half the merchandise or toss it is a manner which looks tossed and not placed. Either or, lose one of the watches and show me a tad more of the glove's fingers.

    Not worse, not better, just a different approach this time...I've shot one setup about thirty times now and I am still not satisfied with it...Sighhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    And very lastly, give the next shot about a 1/2 to full stop less exposure to avoid the flatness of such an even tonal scale as your are showing here. (Deepen the shadows without losing detail.)

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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    Forgetting the arrangement of items, etc. Yes I think that is better from a technical point of view. Still not perfect, as Chris pointed out, but I think you are on the right lines.

    Also, as Chris said, exposure on a few items is a tad on the high side, assuming that is straight from the camera. When there is any doubt about correct exposure I usually prefer to err on the under exposed side and adjust upwards as required during the editing process. I would take a variety of exposure settings in the hope that one would work.

    And with a subject like that I would probably use masks on layers, etc, to vary the amount of 'exposure' on different items.

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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    I've shot one setup about thirty times now and I am still not satisfied with it...Sighhhhhhhhhhhhh.
    I was critiquing a student's shots yesterday, and she commented that she could hear me in her mind as she chose the ones to submit as homework: "Almost."

    I told her that I have been shooting since 1947 and still say "Almost!" to many (most?) of my shots.

    Pops

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Window light vintage still life for C&C, please

    Thanks everyone for your input!
    Chris, thanks for your critique, and the suggestions. I will give all of your recommendations a try.

    Geoff and Pops, thanks for your input! Stay tuned for more.....:-D

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