Friday, February 13, 2009

Zetson's Valentine Wine (tm)

I'm not going to lie. This shot wasn't planned to be a Valentine's Day photo. All I wanted to do was to shoot a bottle again. Luckily, the first bottle I found was shaped like a heart. It's has been laying around here for years, and today was the first time I actually noticed this shape.


I did try out several ways to light the bottle with umbrellas. I put one umbrella on each side with a green background, but I didn't think it looked good at all. It may be because of the background, but also the ribs in the umbrellas. They just show too good. I really wanted pair of softboxes! The highlights didn't work with me either. The bottle has a lot of curves in the glass, throwing reflections all over the place. Here are two examples on how ugly these photos looked:

Then I started thinking about lighting the bottle from below, removing the need for umbrellas. I took out a glass plate from one of the kitchen cabinets (that was pretty scary, having Friday 13th in mind...) and put it on top of a cardboard box. I had covered the inside of this box with black cloth to minmize the reflections. In the bottom I put a SB-600 with red color gel and a home-made snoot.

By bouncing the commander flash in the ceiling I could trigger the SB-600 in the box.

As a background I just reversed the green background, and voila, a white background I could do whatever I wanted with. I placed another SB-600 in front of this white paper, also with a red color gel.


Backround flash: 1/128 power, 85mm zoom
Box flash: 1/8 power, 24mm zoom
Camera: 1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 200
Lens: Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro
Camera: Nikon D300


I was completely surprised to see the heart-shape inside the bottle. I knew that the bottle was a big heart, but I didn't expect to get a nice heart inside it. After some trial and error, I found a camera angle that made the inside-heart look most heart-alike. (Has this sentence ever been written before?) Changing the angle and/or camera height just a little would ruin the heart, so I'm glad I found it!

This was the best shot, IMO (the raw file):

I imported the file to Photoshop and increased the contrast a little with curves and removed some of the dust spots and reflections in the glass. Finished with a crop and sharpening.

The result:

Zetson's Valentine Wine (tm)

Happy Valentine's Day!


Bi Hong said...

Nice shot with a heart inside the bottle :) and very creative way to light the bottle, I definitely will try out in the future !!

RyanM said...

This is just brilliant ! Again ! Nice shot for the theme. Your creativity just astounds me !

But "heart-alike" ???? Hmmmm - thats a bit "too" creative !

Well done

Matthew Botos said...

The final effect is great!

Justin Massongill said...

This is just inspiring. I love your work, keep posting things like this!

Scaber said...

I'm very impressed with your perseverance and the excellent results you have obtained. I'm certainly going to be keeping an eye on your blog from now on.