Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Zoom In < Zoom Out #2: Still Life Photo Shoot

I'm taking the Frugal Still Life Photography class with Cheryl McCain. The first lesson inspired me to shoot a still life with everything in focus, some amount of shadow and to dig out the soft light box which I bought several years ago and never play with! I'm very happy with how this photograph came out.  Here's the pull-back shot:
I bought this light box set up many years ago from a blog friend who offered it in a post for a very discounted rate. I've only used it once before, but I'm looking forward to experimenting with it a lot during this class. 
The kit includes a box with three white diaphanous sides, one black side and a soft fabric insert which is blue on one side and grey on the other. It also has a camera stand (basically an adjustable tripod) and two external lights. It all folds up and stores in a flat package about the size of a pizza box. There's a version of it for sale at Amazon for $75 (click here). It seems to have gotten mixed reviews - I agree that the lights in my version are WAY TOO HOT (this may have been fixed in the newer version), but, contrary to other reviewers, I found the camera stand very sturdy (if a bit persnickety to get it set just right). I don't have a tripod (I bought a monopod for shooting sports video instead), so I was glad to find this in the kit. I remember seeing some DIY light box projects back when I was looking into purchasing one. I didn't have a lot of time yesterday to play with it, but I found it worked pretty well. I'd be interested to hear about other's experiences with light boxes.
The pair makes a perfect zoom < zoom out combination for the weekly photo meme sponsored by Helena, don't you think?
Cheryl's lesson also discussed photographing glass objects and featured things spilling out of glass. This inspired these three additional still life shots.
Do you have a favorite in today's post? (Hint: it's best to click on these photographs to see them a bit bigger and much more clearly).  If you're taking the Frugal Still Life Photography class, how did your first photo shoot go?

27 comments:

The Mann Fam said...

I can't quite decide which I like best the solitary seahorse or the seahorse with the sea glass. They both send my mind of to the ocean deep in thought. I think maybe the solitary one because of the way the light plays off the glass in some parts making it appear like Mercury.

I signed for the class as well after hearing about it from you,but still haven't taken my still life picture yet.

Cheryl M said...

Oh Rinda, you did a wonderful job and I'm so glad you're going to be experimenting with your equipment!
It's tough choosing just one image as a favorite but I believe I like the glass spilling the stones because I like the shadow play on your subject. Thanks so much for playing along!

Barbara said...

Oh these are beautiful, so crisp! The spilling glass shot is my favorite. Thank you for sharing info about the lightbox and showing us the pull back shots. As a beginner in photography there's so much to learn.

Missus Wookie said...

Oh these are lovely - I'm with the Mann Fam in I like both shots with the seahorse in - the light playing off the facets is nice. I think I prefer the one with the seaglass best as it has a nice contrast in textures. I'm planning on doing my first photo shoot this weekend. I just gave my Mom back her light box set and am looking at making/buying one of my own.

helena said...

adore this take on the zoom out to show the set-up of the still life. Wonderful vibrancy in the first shot

helena said...

adore this take on the zoom out to show the set-up of the still life. Wonderful vibrancy in the first shot

Sarah Carletti said...

Really neat set up!

Karen said...

I'm on the road, so no still life shot yet, but I'm hoping I can figure out something to try while I'm away. Brilliant idea to combine the Zoom In, Zoom Out with the Still Life. Thanks for the shots of the light box, and the review.

Cheri said...

While I love the way the light plays off the texture of the sea horse, my favorite shot is the very first one - the sea glass in the bowl. And can I say... I'm a bit jealous of your beautiful sea glass collection!

Sian said...

I'm very interested in the whole idea of a light box - finding any light here at all at this time of year is very hard - so I'll be looking out for your further experiments with this one

scrappyjacky said...

I echo Sian's comments!! I think my favourite one is the last sea horse.

sky-blu-pink said...

Love sea jewels, I think the first is my favourite!

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Oh that sea glass is SO pretty, Rinda. I'd have to say my favorites are the photos with the glass. I've never tried a light box before, but we actually have one at my work place that I can borrow if I want. I may do that... I haven't completed my assignment for FSL yet - need to get on that!

alexa said...

We are spoilt for choice here with so many lovely photos! Your light box is most intriguing and I admire your stamina in learning to use it :).

Melissa said...

Great shots Rinda & a perfect idea to use for the zoom in/zoom out meme, too. I like the glass seahorse by itself the best.

I did a still life photo shoot today & have my photos set to post Friday. I think my photos aren't as elegant or fancy as the others I've seen, but it was fun . . . which is, of course, my focus this year! :>)

Chipper Newman said...

I like your photo-shoot box. I have considered making one but never got around to it. Lighting is my problem with photographing anything. The sun light is too harsh and we don't have a window that gets any sun directed through it. I like the zoom in, zoom out concept.

Vicky said...

Great job! Good deal on the set up equipment! I think I like the lone seahorse shot the best!

Jimjams said...

Interesting - I've often wondered if a light box would be worth having. I love the seahorse shot with the shallow DOF - interesting ZIZO too!

Miriam said...

Brilliant idea to combine these two Rinda. I am hoping to get my FSL set up today. The sea horse on it's own is my favourite.

Molly said...

I like the sea glass (but I have a large collection myself…) but my favorite picture is the one of just the sea horse - the light plays off of him so nicely.

I, too, am in the class with you…my first shoot didn't go as I had hoped (having four kids at home cut into my planned shoot time, which then meant my light wasn't what I wanted…) but… I am very pleased with the pictures that came out of it!

Louise said...

How lucky am I to see you post about your light box...I got on for Christmas and am looking forward to having a proper session with it. I did notice after a quick set up over christmas that the lights do get very hot...so no it hasn't been fixed xx

Louise said...

How lucky am I to see you post about your light box...I got on for Christmas and am looking forward to having a proper session with it. I did notice after a quick set up over christmas that the lights do get very hot...so no it hasn't been fixed xx

Gail said...

What great looking shots Rinda. I think my favourite is the glass bits spilling out of the glass. Your course sounds interesting.

Tammy said...

These are beautiful, Rinda!!

Nina said...

Beautiful compositions,Rinda! The seahorse is my favourite!

Nina said...

Beautiful compositions,Rinda! The seahorse is my favourite!

Prairie Jill said...

Beautiful still lifes! It's hard to pick a favourite, but I think I like the last one. That little seahorse is so cute!