Playing with light on a beautiful white vase. Canon EOS 7D EF-S 17-85 at 30mm f/8 1/250 ISO 100
The curve and line of the thing pulls my hand to it. Every time I see it I want to touch it. I is light and cool with a milky form that invites inspection and exploration. Even all on it's own, just sitting there on the table it seems to absorb the light in the way that a white thing should not. It is a beautifully made thing.
One afternoon during Christmas vacation I decided to pull out my lights and photography this vase. My wife buys vases, alot of vases but this one in particular I really like. The shape and texture of the thing where made to have light playing against it. I set up on a tripod in front of the kitchen table and draped some black fabric over a chair that I had put on top of the table. This was my very "high tech" studio. I started by setting an exposure that would completely kill the ambient light, (my first frames where completely black), then I started layering in light. For this image I used 2 flashes that where mounted off camera and triggered by Cactus V4 strobes, (very inexpensive and very reliable with fresh batteries). The camera left flash was set at 1/32 power and mounted on a light stand and had a small, 6"x4", light box velcroed to it. I wanted the light to be softer coming from the left but I didn't want the full wrap around that an umbrella would provide. I really wanted the camera right side of the vase to be brightly lit and yet to maintain an area of shadow to emphasize the three- dimensionality and shape of the vase. I put a homemade cardboard snoot ala David Hobby on my second flash and held it at extreme camera right with very low power, 1/64 or 1/128. It turned out that I needed a pretty extreme angle to get the effect I was looking for. The snooted flash is behind the vase pointing back at the camera at a slight angle so that the flash head is visible in the uncropped frame. I knew I wanted a square composition so the flash was going to get cropped out anyway. It was very cool to be able to paint the light the way I wanted it to look.
Below is another shot that I took without the snooted flash at camera right. I like this one too especially the way that the left edge of the vase is well defined and the right edge falls away into shadow.