Plentiful Paperclips

Household items

The WordPress Daily Prompt provides the theme of Profuse, which gave me an immediate thought.

One of the things that I have always enjoyed doing in my photography is the solving of tricky lighting riddles, which is something that I tackled in this situation.

I wanted to photograph these paperclips in a way that gave them a bit more drama and, maybe even a bit of mystery.  To achieve this effect, I looked to provide stark shadows, which meant to keep the light at a very low angle of incidence and ensuring that the background stayed very black, as seen here…

Paperclips-12x18
A Profusion of Paperclips

Shooting a black background is a bit tricky, as any light that falls on it has the tendency to show up gray.  For this shoot I used a single flash and cinefoil to control the light (and shadow).  Cinefoil is akin to a heavy aluminum foil, but a matte black rather than shiny.  In order to make the paperclips large, I used a macro lens with an extension tube, so that I could pull the focal plane in a little closer.

It was fun to create this shot, and even more fun, after I printed it as a 16″x20″ format print; it’s cool to see paperclips becoming large!

Have a wonderful day!

TTT – Creative Juices

Bend a wire to your will

All of us get caught in a not-so-creative rut from time to time, which may be tricky to escape.  It has happened to me plenty of times to the point that I started questioning my own abilities.  And then when you’re under pressure to come up with something creative, it becomes even more difficult.

Today’s post is about what I do to get out of that rut; there are a couple of simple steps that I take that usually work for me.

1. Keep Shooting!

No matter what, do not stop and start over-analyzing!  Analysis-paralysis has never gotten anything accomplished, but action does get things done!

2. Try Something New!

This is the step that usually gets me moving forward, as shiny new things are a lot of fun.  Whether it’s a new lighting accessory that you haven’t unpacked yet, or something new that is around the office that you can use for a shoot (see below…)

3. Take On a Challenge.

There are lots of things that lie outside my comfort zone, which makes them a definite challenge for me.  Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to challenge a fellow-creative to a bit of friendly competition.

4. Reward Yourself

When you do that task that you have set for yourself, remember to reward yourself, as positive reinforcement keeps you going.

Paperclips_MG_5025
Just Paperclips…

This shot came from an exercise that I did to come up with something completely new using a rather quotidian object: the lowly paperclip.  Doing something creative with paperclips required me to think differently, to change my angle of approach from what I had been doing.

Literally, I tossed a handful of paperclips on a black surface, and looked at them for something inspiring.  Playing around with light helped me uncover something of interest and worth shooting; it took about 20 or so attempts to really find an angle that worked well for me and provided some cool, harsh light and shadows.

As a reward, I printed this off on 17×22 paper to get the full effect!  It made me smile!!

Technical Details

This one was all about the lighting, as I wound up using a single Canon Speedlite 580EX with some black cinema-foil to control the spillage of light.  My lens choice was a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, so that I could get these paperclips nice and large.