Still Life with Wine - Page 2
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Old 12-11-2009   #11
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Default Re: Still Life with Wine

If you still have the shots without the left fill stack one on top of the shot with fill, align the layers and erase the grapes. You'll have the glass without the fill but the grapes will still have the added light.
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Old 12-12-2009   #12
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Default Re: Still Life with Wine

Nice workspace. That second photo makes me thirsty!
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Old 12-12-2009   #13
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Originally Posted by JACKCAT View Post
This was shot with a combo of strobe and a tungsten hot light spotlight. As you can see in the reflections, I had softboxes camera left and camera right. I used a Mole Richardson 300 watt spot light on the background and made the beam of light shape using barn doors. My ISO was set at 100 (the lowest it will go) I ALWAYS set my ISO to the lowest setting possible depending on the subject. In the case of a still life shots like this, no movement allows the lowest setting. The background hot light required more time to burn in so I had my lens set at f/22 (for good depth of field) and bracketed the shutter between 1 and 1.5 seconds to burn in the beam. I attached a pull back shot of the set up minus the soft box on the left side, instead in this shot I was using a white board for fill.

Sorry, Kind of long winded but I hope this helps!
Not long winded at all, Brian. I am very thankful for the detailed walk through as I am learning and that helps immensely.

I was convinced it was window light on the facing right. It looks so natural.

One question: I understand that the softbox helps the light to wrap around the bottle softly. However, I do not have a softbox at the moment. Could I pull this off by using strong window light if I draped a sheet or other diffusing material between the window light and the object ?

Awesome pullback shot, "very" helpful. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

I will take that down in the notes to keep the ISO as low as possible and work with reducing shutter speed, instead, to achieve more detail and dramatic results.

Thank you very much,

~ Kat
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Old 12-12-2009   #14
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Not long winded at all, Brian. I am very thankful for the detailed walk through as I am learning and that helps immensely.

I was convinced it was window light on the facing right. It looks so natural.

One question: I understand that the softbox helps the light to wrap around the bottle softly. However, I do not have a softbox at the moment. Could I pull this off by using strong window light if I draped a sheet or other diffusing material between the window light and the object ?

Awesome pullback shot, "very" helpful. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

I will take that down in the notes to keep the ISO as low as possible and work with reducing shutter speed, instead, to achieve more detail and dramatic results.

Thank you very much,

~ Kat
All a soft box does in the first place is mimmic window light so , yes, window light should work fine. Just remember, the larger the light source the softer and more natural it will look. So if you can, use a large window.
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Old 12-12-2009   #15
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All a soft box does in the first place is mimic window light so , yes, window light should work fine. Just remember, the larger the light source the softer and more natural it will look. So if you can, use a large window.
I will keep that in mind. Thanks again, Brian.
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Old 12-12-2009   #16
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All a soft box does in the first place is mimmic window light so , yes, window light should work fine. Just remember, the larger the light source the softer and more natural it will look. So if you can, use a large window.
That's not entirely correct.

You could have direct sunlight coming through a window on a sunny day which would create harsh lighting with tight opaque white specular highlights and sharp shadow edge transfers. Or you could have very blue light coming through that same window at a different time of that same sunny day which would not color balance with any additional lights being used.

On an overcast day you might have light from a window that is similar to the diffused light from a softbox. But a softbox is much easier to move around the set. You can raise it up or down, left or right, move it closer or farther away, even suspend it overhead. If your subject was as shiny as the bottles or wine glass in these two photos the window might introduce reflections that are not as smooth and clean as those from a softbox. And a window is of little use in the evening when the sun has set.

In commercial work there are several reasons why a softbox is used. One reason is because of the soft quality of light available from a large diffused light source. You could use an umbrella for that so that's not the sole reason for using a softbox.

With subjects like the ones in the photos in this thread, the shape of the softbox is just as important as the softness of the light. On shiny objects you want a clean straight edged, rectangular shaped specular reflection.

A scalloped umbrella-shaped specular reflection is not as good because it adds unnecessary clutter to the specular reflection as would the reflection of an umbrella's ribs. A round specular reflection doesn't follow the lines of the bottles or the glass as well as a rectangular reflection.

A softbox is popular in commercial work because of the soft diffused light it can produce but also, perhaps even more importantly, because it's reflection in a specular highlight can be used as a graphic design element.
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Old 12-12-2009   #17
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Good...great points Brooks but my point is that a large window with indirect or reflected light coming through it is more or less the same effect as a soft box. Granted you cant move it around and control its power but in the case of Kat that doesn't own studio lighting, a large window can work well for still life subjects.
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Old 12-12-2009   #18
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Case in point, this may not be a great example but it was made with window light white reflectors and a small mirror to brighten up the left side of the pear on the table.
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Old 12-14-2009   #19
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While that's a nice enough shot Jack, it doesn't have the strong deliberate, graphic and beautiful lighting like your earlier wine bottle and glass shots. Just not the same level of highlight and shadow control.

Sure you can use a window as a light source but it's so much harder to control and much less consistent and reliable than making your own light. Even a diffusion frame with an incandescent light behind it would be a better choice, and that's not expensive at all.

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Case in point, this may not be a great example but it was made with window light white reflectors and a small mirror to brighten up the left side of the pear on the table.
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Old 12-14-2009   #20
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While that's a nice enough shot Jack, it doesn't have the strong deliberate, graphic and beautiful lighting like your earlier wine bottle and glass shots. Just not the same level of highlight and shadow control.

Sure you can use a window as a light source but it's so much harder to control and much less consistent and reliable than making your own light. Even a diffusion frame with an incandescent light behind it would be a better choice, and that's not expensive at all.
I agree Brooks. I started out in the studio about 15 years ago and built my first softbox out of PVC, foam board and a shower curtain with a 500watt light bulb. I lit this shot with that box (on camera left) and two 250 watt Mole Richardson spot lights. Ya gotta start somewhere!


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