I have been asked many times, “How did you do that in photoshop?” Well, the easy answer is that I didn’t do this in photoshop, I did this with light. Originally titled “Baseball on White Background” seemed to confuse people and suggest that the color was added after creating the image. Those of you who know me, know that I like to do things with as little photoshop work as possible unless I plan for it. Here I just wanted to have some fun with three speedlights and three colored gels. The baseball was in the middle of a triangle of speedlights. Each speedlight was fitted with a red, blue or green gel. Each speedlight produced light that was the primary color of the gel. Where two or more colors mixed a secondary color or something close to white was created. A camera, a white background, three speedlights, three gels, one baseball, lots of shadows and a rainbow of color is all it took to make this image.
This image was done in my basement using a wine bottle, a piece of white laminate (for countertops), and a single light. You could say it’s another one from the “I got bored and went into the basement…” series. I save wine bottles that interest me so that I can use them for images. I have several in a box in my basement still waiting for their chance to be a star. What attracted me to this bottle is it’s vibrant blue color. I wanted to make sure the color was nice and saturated in the shadow. I used only one light with nothing but a reflector. I experimented with a few light modifiers but none gave me what the bare bulb did. I did very little post processing using Nikon Capture NX2. This is basically right out of the camera with a little exposure adjustment and some added saturation. I’m happy with the way it turned out.
You don’t need very much room to do this kind of image. An old door on some saw horses was the “table”. The laminate was clamped to the door and curved up an unfinished wall then taped in place. One studio flash head with reflector was all I used for lighting but you can do this with a portable flash unit. Just make sure your light is pointed so it lights the background. Give it a try and have fun!
I was working on a textbook project for the American Red Cross out in the Los Angeles area. We arrived at the pool a bit early for the day and swimmers were still getting in their morning laps. They were not closing the pool for the shoot that day so the swimmers would be using one end of the pool while we used the other. It was a very overcast morning with clouds rolling in from the west. From where we were sitting the pool and swimmers would be backlit if the sun could punch through the clouds once it rose high enough. I got out my camera and started looking for angles and watching exactly how this swimmer used the lane he was in. After trying to use the camera’s autofocus to get what I wanted in focus quite unsuccessfully, I zoned focused and waited until he came into the frame. After a couple of laps in less than great light, the sun finally got up over the hills and punched through the clouds. I was ready and only had about two laps to get this image before the clouds got too thick again and the light was gone. I’m glad I was ready for the light that I wanted. Thinking ahead is the only way I would have gotten an image like this.
I have always been a daydreamer and that, contrary to popular belief, can be a very useful skill. You see, to me, being a daydreamer is as much a part of my life as anything else I do. I love daydreaming and quite often a daydream leads to an idea for an image. Would I have gotten that idea without daydreaming? Maybe so, maybe not, but I know that without daydreaming the idea would not have evolved into what is now in my mind waiting for me to create an image. Getting bored is good for me in many ways too. When I get bored I start to daydream and I can dream up all sorts of images. Case in point is the image below. I got bored one day and I had been thinking about doing an image of a flaming match. Well, after thinking about it for a while, I went into the basement and started playing with matches!
While playing with matches in the basement usually does not turn out well, for me it did. I created an image that I liked and I learned a lot about how matches burn. Yes, I know, how matches burn is useless information to most people but it helped in creating this image. It took some trial and error to get the match to burn so that all the red did not turn to ash right away. I’m not sure how many matches I went through but it was a few. This image eventually was used on the cover of a book. Not too bad for a day when I got bored and started to daydream!