Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Studio and Mushrooms

I rearranged my office last week so that I could take advantage of the light coming through the huge sliding glass door at one end.

This was no minor undertaking since my 60 year old solid wood desk (which would survive a nuclear attack, unlike that crappy IKEA junk that can't withstand a stiff breeze) weighs several tons and is no mean feat to move an inch, much less across the room. Not to mention the Medusa's hairdo of wires, cables and other computer-related crap that had to be unplugged, moved and then re-plugged. It took an entire evening, but I figured it was totally worth it - glorious natural light would be mine!

With my desk is no longer blocking the window, I decided to try to take some photos with nothing but the wonderful natural light filtering in through the glass door. Wanting something light and simple (and being incredibly lazy), I grabbed some mushrooms out of the fridge, stuck them in a white bowl and put them on a table in front of the glass door.

That's when I made the unfortunate discovery that there really ain't a whole lot of light coming through that big door. It seems pretty bright sitting in an otherwise dark room, but except for those few minutes a day when the sun manages to actually emerge from behind the tree, the fence and/or the neighbor's house and shine directly into the room, there isn't enough light to come near hand-holding the camera.

Great. I practically give myself a hernia moving that monolith of a desk, fight with an intractable nest of wires... and for what? Well, I sure as hell ain't moving everything back, so it's going to have to do.


Even though these photos seem very simple, I ended up doing a heck of a lot of work in Photoshop to get them even close to what I wanted. The most obvious thing I did was adjust the white balance of the images to give a blue tint suggestive of outdoor light filtering into a room. But the quality of the "outdoor light filtering into the room" was such that I had to add several layers of levels and color balance adjustments to make the photos look decent.


As a result, I'm not so thrilled with the results of my move, but hopefully, I'll adjust.


The Lighting

Mushroom Lighting
 As you can see, I ended up having to add some fill flash to light the mushrooms. I stood the big reflector against the door to soften the light coming in. Even with reflectors on both sides of the subject, I couldn't get enough light. Obviously, I'm going to have to play with this in order to figure out the best way to use the light.

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