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Al Hannigan (ASH063) - How to Light a Glass Vase: - A very difficult subject ... this vase is like a cylindrical mirror. It will reflect its surroundings, so your white cards must be located exactly right to control the reflections.
Your challenge is compounded by the curvature of the vase as well. The top sides are going to see whatever is more or less parallel to them. As the vase curves outward it will pick up a higher view and a wider view.
As the vase curves back inward, the reflection becomes more of whatever it is sitting on, in this case the black cardboard of your background. Lay a white card on the table the vase is on and move it towards the vase and you'll see how the reflection begins to show in the lower portion of the vase.
If you want your reflections to be thinner, that is more like an edge outline, the cards will need to be positioned more to the rear of the vase, and they might also need to be tall, but not very wide. You can sometimes simply angle the card so its reflection appears thinner.
If you want to keep the center reflections (not the cards but all the other parts of your room) to a minimum, you might need to set up a black tent with a small opening for your lens. Your reflector cards would need to be inside this tent, naturally. Probably easier to just burn them out later than to tent the entire area, but you might consider shielding the surroundings as much as possible from ambient light.
If you approach the vase as though you are shooting a mirror, then it'll be easier to learn exactly where each reflection is coming from, and what you'd need to do to control them.
Another challenge with this shot is the proper lighting for the rose might be different than the best lighting for the vase. Normally, that could be handled by lighting the rose separately and snooting and/or flagging the rose lighting to keep it from being reflected in the vase.
Fortunately, with digital and post processing, a lot of this can be manipulated later, so if you can get the reflections more or less the way you want them, you can then just dodge and burn or clone those areas that get pesky!
Or, you could simply find a less reflective vase !!
David (slowboat)- Making your own little portable LED lights:- I have found that if you use stiff solid wire that it makes the LED easier to bend and pose into a position. Also I would recommend using wire with black insulation so that it is not as visibile in your scene.
Radio Shack Supplies:
LED is a 3.7v 20mA and is 5mm in size ( These LEDs will run using 2 standard AA batteries)
24 AWG Solid Copper Wire (or 20 or 22)
AA Battery Box with Switch
Heat Shrink Tubing
Cut the wire leads on the LED to be about 1/8" (2.5mm) long.
Cut two 10' (4m) of the 24 AWG wire. You can use shorter or longer lengths if you desire.
Strip each end of the two wires to expose about 1/4" (5mm) of bare wire.
Cut four 1" (20mm) long pieces of heat shrink tubing.
Slide two pieces of cut heat shrink tubing over the end of each wire.
Solder a piece of wire to the Anode lead of the LED
Solder a piece of wire to the Cathode lead of the LED
Slide one piece of heat shrink tubing over the Anode lead and wire
Slide one piece of heat shrink tubing over Cathode lead and wire
Solder the wire connect to the Anode lead of the LED to the Positive (+) lead of the battery box
Solder the wire connecting to the Cathode lead of the LED to the Negative (-) lead of the battery box
Slide the other pieces of heat shrink tubing of the bare wire connection to the batter box
Shrink the heat shrink tubing using a heat gun, hair dryer, stove top burner, or other moderate heat source
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode has great diagrams for determining the Anode and Cathode of an LED.
MAKING YOUR OWN BACKGROUNDS
Flo Deems (tonebytone) - Shooting Your Own In-Camera Blurred Backgrounds: - Try taking the lens off your camera, then raising the ISO as high as you can, and shooting on manual-everything at the fastest shutter speed you have. Then take that image to PS and increase saturation and contrast as much as possible. You may get a nice soft blurred image you can use for a background some time - also try some of the texture or other effects. Of course, I guess you could get a similar effect by throwing everything as out of focus as you can - and then you wouldn't have so much recovery work in PS.
TRIPODS IN SAND OR SNOW
Phil (Roaddog52) - Shooting with Tripod in Sand/Snow: - I will pass along a little trick I learned from another photographer. When using a tri-pod in sand or snow I use tennis balls which I have cut an X into to keep the tri-pod from sinking, don't over cut. It helps more often than not and it keeps me from losing the rubber feet from the end of the tri-pod legs.
Hints pg 1, shooting ~ pg 2, post processing
pg 3, gear ~ pg 4, on locations
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