Fade to Black

Pears-(6443)I try to keep reminding myself that what I need to do most in photography is shoot more. Sure, I’d really like to upgrade to a full-frame, and get better lenses at the longer focal ranges. And I know I’ll probably do both at some stage. But what I need to do right now is find the energy to just take more pictures.

Now a project I set myself recently is to experiment more with lighting. A big part of that is to just go through as wide a range of lighting styles as I possibly can, including those that I’m sure are part of any photography course’s homework. Today I tried two from that list. I started with something I have been thinking of for some time: still life with the background fading to solid black. I experimented a little, and soon realized how hard it is to get decent depth of field when the subject is so close. The pears (ain’t nothing better than fruit!) were shot at f/22 on my 50mm, with hard lighting from the left. Controlling the spill proved easier than expected, simply by fitting barn doors and a hex grid. I experimented with different exposures, and in the end preferred to keep the subject darker, keeping as much texture as possible in the lit side. The semi-reflective surface was an unplanned bonus.

Lessons learnt: it pays to check the images on the computer; it’s hard to get the focus and depth of field right on the camera’s mini screen. Also, Canon’s Digital Photo Professional has a great “digital lens optimizer”, as long as you have a lens it knows about. Luckily, it knows about mine.


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