Exercise: Shiny Surfaces

For this exercise I need to find a subject that is shiny enough that I can see my face in it, this needs to be placed on the floor or a flat surface so I can take the images from above.

I used a piece of black velvet as the background and picked out some shiny cutlery that we don’t tend to use as this ensured that I had enough reflection when looking into it. I set up my camera on a tripod and used a shutter release so I didn’t disturb the set up. I made the cone out of a type of baking parchment as I couldn’t find tracing paper in any of the local shops I went into. I placed the cone around the top of the lens and secured this on with elastic bands as every time I focused, the lens moved and disturbed the paper. I ensured that the bottom of the cone fitted around the composition.

Images

1)      Composition on velvet with no cone, the lighting is above the subject

Shiny surfaces 1 no cone, lighting above

2)      Composition with the cone around it, the lighting is above the subject

Shiny surfaces 2 cone and lighting above

3)      Composition with the cone around it, the light is directly from the right hand side

Shiny surfaces 3 cone and lighting from right side

4)      Composition with the cone around it and the light is from a small lamp to the left hand side

Shiny surfaces 4 cone and small lamp from left side

 

5)      A comparison shot, with no cone and the light from a small lamp to the left hand side

Shiny surfaces 6 no cone light from right side comparison

 

As I took a couple of comparison shots without the paper around the subject, I can really see the difference in the ones with and without. While I like the ones without the cone, where the lighting makes the object very reflective and shiny, using the paper provides a matte effect to the subject that allows the detail to be seen and transforms the object. With a mixture of black velvet as the background and the cone to diffuse the lighting hitting the subject, the cutlery is transformed from a shiny object to almost an art work and with the right item and composition; this technique could produce some great images.

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