52 Projects – Week 1: Creating a Backlit Picture

52 Projects – Week 1: Creating a Backlit Picture

This post launches 52 weeks of digital photography projects!  As I mentioned on my [previous post – 1/14/18], I needed inspiration during the winter months. I needed ideas for photography without freezing! So, I purchased 52 Weekend Digitial Photo Projects.

The first project I completed was the first winter project (the book is arranged seasonally) – Creating a Backlit Picture (pp. 158-159). I’m not sure what genre this technically is, probably an abstract or maybe a still-life, but it was fun to shoot!

As an academic, I am highly sensitive to plagiarism. I respect the photographers and authors of this book too much to rip off their work.  After all, they guided me through this process. I want you to go buy their book and join me in the process.  Thus, I am not going to roll out free what these folks worked hard to publish.

I do, however, want to share how I deviated from the book.  In this photo, I used a yellow hair gel, not the green gel that the authors suggest. Also, I have a glass table, when worked out perfect to back-light the subject.

Not counting the stuff I already had in my man cave, this shoot cost me a grand total of $7.86 – great for a broke photographer, like me!

IMG_0673

One of my additions to the shoot that was not suggested in the book was overlaying the desk lamp with clear, color notebook dividers. I shot with various colors over the lamp, which gave an interesting fill color, but in the end, the best photos were with only the lamp back lighting the subject.

IMG_0678

Here is the finished product!

52 Projects - Shoot 2-8008
Photo by Dr. Lee Reese

I learned four things from this little project. First, aperture is important. Even though the subject was quite thin, going with an aperture of f/8 up to f/14 worked the best. The edges were not sharp at f/1.8.

Second, I should have turned off the overhead light. It created a reflection on the surface of the subject, and the use of the notebook dividers might have turned out better if the overhead light was not on.

Third, as I said above, the notebook dividers did not work well.  over the light didn’t really work out that great. (show a couple of pictures)

Finally, I have to admit something. I love being outdoors, hiking, and photography. I truly enjoy nature and landscape photography. On cloudy days, I love driving into downtown Atlanta and taking high-contrast, black-and-white photos of architecture. So, still life and close-up photos of abstracts were not on my radar. I needed a creative outlet, but I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy my first shoot this much. I enjoyed the planning, setup, and processing. This little project helped prepare me for other projects that I am excited to share with you later!

I recommend purchasing this little book and having some fun!

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