Exercise; Shiny surfaces

This exercise considers how objects with shiny surfaces can be photographed.

Firstly I chose to photograph a glass paperweight – I had tried photographing paperweights before in my first assignment (Contrasts) so I knew how difficult it could be.

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This first photo shows the paperweight lit by available window-light from the left. The reflection of the window is very clear in the glass.

Following the instructions in the exercise I cut a piece of greaseproof paper to form a funnel which surrounded the paperweight at its wide end and reached the camera lens at its narrow end (this was fiendishly difficult as nothing sticks to greaseproof paper!).

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A can be seen the reflection of the window has reduced significantly, as has the shadow of the paperweight.

I then experimented with the cone of greaseproof paper and artificial light which I could move into different positions.

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The position of the light can be seen from the shadows produced. In each of the photos the light source itself can’t be seen but there is a bright reflection on the top of the paperweight which comes from the light and also a band of light reflection on the left of the subject. These remain in similar positions, despite the light source being moved higher and lower in each photo.

What have I learned from this exercise? I had problems when I took the photo of the paperweight before at the very beginning of the course. This exercise, particularly seeing the two photos lit by window-light has brought home the difficulty of lighting an object such an this. It has helped me to see how I can try to deal with such difficult subjects in the future.

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