Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fun in the (Faux) Studio

In preparation for that battery of reviews I mentioned in the post prior, I spent last night experimenting with some product photo setups to showcase the lenses and provide reference images for the posts themselves. Sometimes I forget how enjoyable experimental, no-budget setups can be.

A couple weeks back the 43" plasma television formerly occupying my living room blew a capacitor on the screen control board, which unfortunately fried the internals of the screen itself and rendering the thing little more than a heavy, dim mirror with tinny speakers. While waiting to find an appropriate collection center for the electronic it has been sitting in the office being large and useless. Now, originally I was on the hunt for another flat, perhaps matte black item on which to sit the camera to be photographed for the simple, standard showcase image, but my pondering found me staring at the dead TV with a bright halogen bulb illuminating the back of my head.

Simple setup. I stacked a multitude of pillows high on the bed and draped a red microfiber blanket over them, letting the length of the sheet laying horizontal transition into a seamless background. At that point it was only a matter of unscrewing the factory stand on the plasma TV and laying it on the blanket, propped up slightly by a tightly coiled belt so as to make it slightly less level and show off the reflection in the TV screen. And oh my did the reflection produced look absolutely incredible, with a carbon fiber alike cross hatch pattern inlaid below the glass with all sorts of unexpected subtle blue tint (which played well with the stark red of the microfiber backdrop). Lighting was provided by a single 85 watt CFL bulb mounted on a stand with a silver umbrella to throw the light down softly from above and to the left.

The setup alone left me tickled, but an added smoke/fog effect sealed it as stellar (to me, anyway). Not that I wish to argue anything in regards to vaping/smoking, but in realizing I was able to produce vast quantities of smokey vapor with my electronic cigarette, I began slowly bellowing a foggy mist over the setup for each shot, experimenting with different directions and speeds for their respective looks. A fun process for sure.

My only gripe came after the fact, realizing that the images produced on my petite Nikon V1 simply lack the same color and allure of the Olympus tones and colors I've grown so accustomed to, but that's okay. My future is pending an additional Olympus acquisition which will remedy my gripes concerning my current backup camera.

Plan is to attempt another round of "product" photos today at some point. I am reminded that I really need a dedicated studio space, somewhere I can assemble oddball setups such as this and not have to break them back down for sake of sleep.