Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our World

Nevada (B&W)

I spent a few hours this weekend playing with the new makeshift softbox. My idea was to test how well it worked on defining subtle textures. For this I picked my son's globe as a test subject. The globe is obviously round, plus the mountain ranges are rendered in relief, thus meeting my goal of subtle textures. I also looked at it as an opportunity to photograph places vicariously that I probably won't get the chance to visit in person. The exercise also taught me a few things about world geography. More after the jump.

Nevada (Color)

For the exercise, I placed the softbox to camera left and mounted the flash inside, hanging from the upper rack via the Gorillapod. The flash was pointed slightly backward to reflect off of the aluminium lining to eliminate the hotspot problem. This arrangement seemed to work very well. The flash was still able to detect the IR signal from my camera, and I didn't notice any misfires. Being able to control the flash power from my camera was very convient for this as it would have been awkward to access the flash with it mounted in the softbox. However, I did have to shield the on-camera flash with my hand so that it wouldn't leave a bright glare. I will have to rig something up to do that so I can keep both hands on the camera.

I used all three of my lenses during the exercise (18-135mm, 70-300mm VR, and 50mm). I also used the 12mm or the 12mm+20mm extension tubes with the 50mm lens for the really close-up shots. The shallow depth of field with the 50mm lens and the extension tubes made some interesting effects.

Additionally, I processed almost all of the photographs as both color and black & white versions. What I noticed is that the globe's texture and shape were more noticible in the black & white photographs than in the color photographs. The color photographs seemed to have a better sense of place to them than the black & white photographs. Thus, nearly all of the shots have a color and black & white version. I had never really liked a lot of black & white photographs before. However, now I think I'm starting to see how they can accentuate different visual elements than color photographs do. I'll have to experiment more with this.

Following are a few of the photograph sets. The complete gallery is located on my Zenfolio site. As always, click a photograph to see it larger.

Appalachian Sunset (B&W)

Appalachian Sunset (Color)

India (B&W)

India (Color)

Bolivia (B&W)

Bolivia (Color)

Mysterious China (B&W)

Mysterious China (Color)

Thank you for reading and keep shooting.


Chris Osborne said...

I like the black and white better for each one.

Craig Lee said...

I think that the textures definately stand out on the black & whites.

Jim Talkington said...

The Appalachian Mountains really grabbed says a lot by showing a little. A truly unique approach to an oft-photographed subject!

Craig Lee said...

Thanks, Jim. For some reason when I saw that shot in my LCD after taking it I thought you might like it. Don't know why to be honest as I don't have the foggiest idea what your tastes are. I liked the simplicity of it myself; definately one of those keep it simple shots. What I'm proudest of with it is that I actually did plan for that shot to turn out like that. :-)