February’s Themes

My four themed images for the month of February were Mineral, Whole, Structure and Routine. Please read on for my thoughts on each.

Theme – Mineral

Perrier, the original Mineral Water.
I almost immediately knew that this was going to be my image as soon as I found out the theme. I had taken a similar picture of a wine glass quite some years ago while playing with light painting so thought that it should be quite effective. There was a lot of discussion about this theme at the time about what constitutes a mineral and several definitions being posted, but my reasoning was very simple. It says mineral on the bottle, good enough for me.

Mineral

I set the shot up on my sitting room glass table one evening, camera on a tripod and remote timer and took a couple of test shots to ensure it was completely dark, then I introduced the small torch on a string which I used for the spiral. The trick here was to ensure the time for the image was long enough to get the spiral from bottom to top, but also not be too bright. However, it had to be bright enough to light the green of the bottle properly too. This was simply trial and error and I ended up using a low ISO and medium high f stop to restrict the light exposure of the torch, then the spiral took about 5 seconds alone with a few more seconds to softly light the label and bottle top.

If you have a tripod and a camera that can do manual mode, you can take this shot, have a go!

Theme – Whole

I struggled with this one a lot and for four or five days was thinking of how I could take a picture of a bar of Cadbury’s Whole Fruit and Nut but I really wasn’t inspired at all by this! Eventually I thought about either whole cream or even milk, I went with the latter as I felt I could get a splash picture into the deal and give the image some movement. 

Whole

The setup was in my dining room on the table, however I had to anticipate that this was going to be messy! So, I used a towel on the table first then put my wooden chopping board down, a double walled Judge glass on that and then I luckily had a glass jug to pour the milk from. The background was a black sheet and then I set up one bare off camera flash (Canon 540ez) positioned camera left using 2 pieces of black card to prevent spill onto background. Flash triggered via yongnuo triggers, power set at 1/128th.

It took about 10 goes, with some cleaning up of spilt milk in between, before I got the shot I wanted and I’m pleased with the result. 

Theme – Structure

Structure

The theme is Structure and yes I’m a week later than planned but I’m not holding myself to any strict rules.

Anyway, I wasn’t sure on how to approach the theme. I thought of something in a macro fashion, like the structure of an apple or similar. Or perhaps a close up abstract of a buildings structure.

However, the evening I took this was one of those days where it was raining one minute, sunny the next and I (and pretty much every photographer for 20 miles) know that Stevington Windmill is always a great landscape opportunity no matter the weather and time of year, so I just knew it would be a great long exposure shot, if the sun was just right as it set. Luckily for me, it was. I decided to go for the wide angle panoramic view to enhance the vastness of the landscape but keep the windmill structure on the left hand third.

Theme – Routine

Routine? Seriously, this one was the hardest most obscure one yet! Images of calendars and diaries whizzed through my mind but I wanted something different, something that could have more of a story to it. My mind turned to the daily grind and perhaps a photograph of the traffic at rush hour, or perhaps a long exposure of a set of traffic lights which would appear to show all three lights showing at the same time.

Routine

For this shot I’ve tried to evoke the routine of getting up to the sound of the alarm clock, I don’t think you get much more routine than that?
Anyway, a new traditional looking alarm clock and a couple of books as props were necessary.
I then thought that a slightly slower shutter speed to show the blur in my hand coming down to stop the alarm would look good and invoke a sense of movement to the story.
To process it, I wanted to use a high key type effect and monochrome, mainly to be less distracting to the image. It’s a very different type of image for me, but I’m never afraid to try new techniques. 

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