Thursday, January 26, 2012

Low key teapot

click photos to enlarge
My high key photograph of hydrangea petals made me think that I should complement it with a low key photograph that consists mainly of dark tones. And, since we bought a new stainless steel teapot recently that still retains the perfect lustre of its newness, it occurred to me that would make a suitable subject. So I took it to a spot that was lit by a single window, set it up on a piece of black vinyl that I curved up the wall behind to create a shadowless background, and took a few shots. As you can see, I dialled EV -1.33 into the camera to make the dark parts of the reflected steel merge with the black background and I made the subject of the photograph the light reflections as much as the elegant shape itself.

The difficulty in photographing shiny surfaces is that the photographer and/or the camera tend to be seen in the reflections. The first shot largely overcomes that problem by having the camera above the subject, though my legs and two tripod legs can still be seen. However, you wouldn't have known that was what they were if I hadn't told you, would you?! The other photographs have several colours in the reflection that give clues to what the room contains. But the conversion to black and white masks those distractions quite well. One method of avoiding reflections of this sort is to have a large flat sheet of card, paper, plastic or some such material that you stand behind, with a hole in for the camera lens. That way the reflection is pretty much a uniform surface.

Incidentally, when we bought the teapot our main concern was that we should buy one that pours well. You'd think that after millennia of making containers designed to pour properly this was a problem that mankind had cracked. But no, as we found out with a previous teapot, what is learnt can be unlearnt and it is perfectly possible to buy a teapot that pours badly. Fortunately, this one pours perfectly.

photographs and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm macro
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 2 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -1.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off