Help with setting up a shot...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by magicmonkey, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    Could anyone help me, I'm wanting to set up a shot but haven't got a clue how to go about it as I'm completely self taught(or not as the case may be...).
    The shot is of beads of water on the head of a hammer on a glass surface, I want quite a detailed shot with the water and the metal grain being prominent but have no professional lighting, the equipment I have available is:

    350D
    Sigma 18-50mm f3.5-5.6
    Canon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5
    Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS
    On camera flash
    An adjustable light which I can direct quite easily
    The ceiling light!!
    Polarizing filters
    Some fabric I can use as a backdrop

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to start with this one?

    Any help is very much appreciated...
     
  2. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    What sort of final image are you wanting? Lighting wise you might actually shoot it outdoors. I see you are in the UK so don't you often have overcast skys (ie good omnidirectional light and not harsh). You could use your adjustable light to add a highlight or reflection depending on what you wanted.
    How close can you focus in with your lenses? From the sound of it you are wanting something like a macro shot? (since you want to see metal grain.. what sort of hammer?)
     
  3. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I could shoot outside, hadn't thought of that as I considered it to be a studio type shot, thing is that my adjustable light won't stretch into the area of my garden where the sun is! I took a few shots last night using washing up bubbles instead of water as I won't be keeping the shots and didn't want to dunk a hammer for every shot, this should give you an idea what I'm after. The grain on the hammer is quite prominent though so no real need for a macro shot which is good as I got rid of my macro lens (my biggest camera regret do far)

    [​IMG]

    The direct lighting just isn't going to work at all! I tried putting a cotton sheet over the lamp to diffuse it somewhat but the sheet got very hot and I still had the reflection there, I was thinking about playing around with reflecting light with pieces on paper etc rather than using direct light for this, good idea or back to the drawing board?

    The shortest focal range is somewhere around the 1 foot mark I think...

    I'm really wanting 2 versions of the shot, one colour in which the water is very prominent and the blue 'pops' and one B+W as I think the tones could work well, having said that, my eye for B+W is still in the 'developing' phases (read non-existent). I might play around with polarizer’s to get rid of the reflection as well to see how that affects the shot but I'll probably opt to keep it in.

    ps. Now I have a picture up this should probably get moved to the critique forum if a mod wouldn't mind sparing the time :blushing:
     
  4. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    I would try the reflecting light. Get some poster board in different colors and mess around. The other thing is to use something like Glycerin for the water. It is thicker and adheres better.
     
  5. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Don't dunk the hammer. Use a spray bottle and mist it. You'll get lots of nice water drops on it. Try lighting it from different angles, like from the side, or directly overhead. Try using more narrow light, like from a flash light, to highlight it.
     
  6. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    I think I'll try a few shots outdoors later this evening when the sun is a bit less intense (I know, in the uk as well, wierd eh) and if that doesn't pan out then I'll have to play around with reflectors. After posting about reflecting light I realised I don't actually have anything to hold a reflector in place so it could become a bit of a hit and miss operation.

    I was thinking of sugar water in place of water as I have that at home already, do you know if that would work or is it just a silly idea?
     
  7. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the spray bottle hint, I'll give it a try later.

    As for the flash, it's a very reflective surface so I'm worried about a harsh flash relfection. Having said that, it can't get much worse than the current reflection!
     
  8. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    I don't mean flash, as in on camera flash, I mean flashlight, like the kind you use when the lights go out.

    Just be careful to set your wb accordingly, because the light is tungsten.
     
  9. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    ahh, makes much more sense now, in fact I carry 2 flashlights in my camera bag for just this. I'm shooting RAW so I can sort out the WB later which is a wonderful luxury as far as I'm concerned.:D
     
  10. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Depending on how big you want the water drops you might consider wiping down the hammer head with light cooking oil, carwax, or something else that will make the water bead up.
     
  11. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Try putting the hammer in the freezer... cold metal does some neat things with water.

    Id go with the cloudy day scenario if I could.

    The other thing I usually had some luck with when doing tabletop was to project the light through a piece of cloth. Actually I always used strobe. That should be fairly easy with a digital camera, just shoot till you get it right. shoot the strobe through the cloth. Set it about a foot away from the cloth so it gets some spread before it hits the cloth. That should give you a nice wide pattern of light. I expect it might give you a hot spot but no glare. don't be surprised to find it is long shutter speeds. The less light you have the better your shot will be I suspect.

    Might not help but couldn't hoit
     
  12. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys, am now waiting for a cloudy day, and I'm in England. No, really!!

    The oil and the freezer sound like interesting options as well, I'll be sure to have a go with them too.
     

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