Emboldened by my Liquor Therapy Session, I thought I’d try and generate some more ‘intoxicating’ photographs. The unsuspecting victims were a couple of wine glasses that the missus had bought back in the early 19th century when she still cherished visions of introducing a little more sophistication into her husband’s life. So, the other day as I scratching my back and groping around the fridge for the next can of beer, there they were at the corner of the kitchen, gathering dust and calling out to me in a mocking tone, as expensive, unused ‘am too good for you’ kind of wine glasses are prone to do.
Anyways, here’s the image I got. There are three things that you must notice about the image (If you can figure all three without reading further, give yourself a pat on your back and have a sip of that wine):
1. The background is white,
2. The glass itself is defined by black edges,
3. There are no reflections on the surface of the glass
This is what is uncommonly known as Bright Field Lighting. Bright, because it is predominantly a bright image, with the subject defined by dark lines. It is one of two standard ways of photographing glass, the other being Dark Field lighting (but that’s for another day).
So, what’s this oh-so-secret method? Here goes. Surfaces that reflect light (like glass, mirrors and other shiny surfaces like my ever-increasing forehead), do so only when the light is located within a particular range. This range is determined by the angle of incidence of the light rays on the surface and the location of your camera. I know, I know – that doesn’t help much. So, here’s a simpler way. Assume you are standing in front of a mirror. There’s a light somewhere in the room. How would you know if the light is within the ‘range’ that we described earlier? If you see the light, it is. If you don’t, it isn’t. Great, but how does this help? It helps to know this because if we can ensure that the light source is not within this range, we will be able to eliminate all unwanted reflections, as in the image above. Hmm, nice!
Now, how about the dark edges, and stuff. For that, we again resort to the same idea described above. In the image, the effective light source is not so much the flash itself, as the bright background that it bounces off. And in order to keep the edges of the glass dark, all we need to do is to ensure that the part of the background that is reflected off the edges of the glass is dark (or black, or beyond the light source), and does not reflect back any light. In the above photograph, this, is achieved by inserting two rather wide strips of black chart paper on either side of the white reflecting background. Black, besides being Batman’s favorite color, has the added advantage of being able to suck in all light. It, effectively, doesn’t send back any light (That’s why the name Black hole, got it? Bingo! Otherwise it could very well have been called a Magenta hole or something). But that’s not the trick. If you were to try and identify the exact spot on the background from where the light is being reflected off the edges, it would take you around…err…half a day. Assuming you don’t have that kind of time, there’s a simpler way.
All you need to ensure is that the white background is just big enough for it to fill the full frame of your camera, so that the edges of the background will line up almost perfectly with the edges of the frame. Once you’ve done this, all you need to do is insert some black material beyond either side of the edges (since we are talking about photographing a wine glass, the top edge is not so important, else we’d have to insert some black at the top as well). That’s it. Click away!
Oh, and if you have an assistant who can help you out by gently pouring down some liquid while you click, you can capture some really nice images like the one you see here. It’s ridiculously easy, and looks so darned sophisticated that you’re almost certain to spot a discernible respectful pause before your boss starts abusing you tomorrow. Water behaves exactly like glass, and hence goes very well with this lighting scheme. However, if you fancy, you can also try and add any colored liquid to introduce that zing into your images. But as the liquid becomes less and less transparent, it will appear progressively darker (because the light source is at the back, right?). So, how do you light it properly while still ensuring that you avoid all reflections?! Hmmm…give it a thought.
Also, if you do decide to try something of this sort, be sure to clean the glasses thoroughly beforehand. The almost invisible fingerprint, or that tiny speck of dust around the rim tends to get a little exaggerated in these photographs. And correcting all that in Photoshop is possible, but takes half the fun away. I haven’t touched up the above photographs at all, save for some cropping, etc. (you can tell by looking at the base on which the wine glass stands – the books on which the glass was placed are visible on the far side; I’m sort of a perfectionist that way).
All the best!
en: The Effortless Way to Save for College, Pay Off Student Loans, or Donate to an Education Related Cause: http://ping.fm/bG3ku 07/15/09 01:23am en: Economy is up why not invest in your home” avoid $ mistakes No design or hourly fees. Call Designs by Valerie 805-405-1953 07/15/09 01:23am en: Annoyed very annoyed... I need a sick ass job right now. Or else I'm going to scream 07/15/09 01:23am en: Agh! What happened to that PDF I NEED? I can't remember the AU or TI. Something about social capital measurement & heuristics. Where is it?! 07/15/09 01:23am en: @Bo_Matthews I think he's calling you a redneck or former redneck? 07/15/09 01:23am en: @gabboucla not unless you want a spanking from Earl...or Donnie? I read somewhere (I think the FAQ) that recorders will be prosecuted 07/15/09 01:23am en: I'm here at federicos on coors,still not feeling well.I need a vacation to the beach or somewhere with water 07/15/09 01:23am en: I have close to 150 pages left in Half-Blood Prince. Should I finish reading before I go to the movie tonight, or should I take a nap? 07/15/09 01:23am en: Out for a run for the 1st x in days. Was my last one on Fri or Sat? That means it's been too long! http://yfrog.com/5o98xj 07/15/09 01:23am en: Boss said that we should thank him,for just working 20 hours/day!Any other boss would make you work 24h!It's just me,or something is wrong? 07/15/09 01:23am