Sunday, January 31, 2016

52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 6: Artistic - Candy

No, you are not missing week 5; I am just flipping week 6 and week 5.  Week 5 is supposed to be a black and white landscape, however due to the snowstorm last week it is still difficult to get to places. I know what you are thinking, it has been a week and they have not cleaned up all the snow.  This is DC most people on side streets were not able to leave their houses until the Wednesday after the storm, which was on Saturday.  Several of the roads here still only have one lane plowed out.  It is just not pretty.  So I flipped-flopped weeks, and did the artistic challenge.

The artistic challenge was candy.  Thus, I went to the candy store and bought some random little candies. I thought it would be appropriate to use the little candy hearts since we are getting close to Valentine’s Day. I could not find the little cinnamon hearts that I wanted so mini-mints were going to have to work instead.   I also bought a stick of rock candy to experiment with.

The set up for this shoot was extremely simple; I placed a black board down on my dining room table then placed a white sheet of paper on top of that.  I then dumped the candies on the paper and arranged them slightly while still keeping them random looking. I then off to the side I placed a flash pointed down at the candies.  I placed a 60mm macro lens on my camera and shot at ISO 100 at aperture F8, and a shutter speed of 1/200.  Note, I hand held my camera for all the shots.  As you can see from the original photo, it was a little dark and not very vibrant.  I pulled the photo into Lightroom to edit. I color balanced the image, brightened it up, and increased the contrast.  I then bumped the clarity up to +33, the vibrancy up to +36 and the saturation up to +7 to make the colors pop.  I also refined the edges and added a little smoothing to the image.  Finally, I cropped the image to make one of the candies the main focal point of the image.   Usually, I am not very good at still life photography but the picture I think came out ok.

Original Image

Final Image

I also played around with the rock candy a bit. I found that placing the rock candy directly on the flash creates some interesting light in the sugar crystals. If you plan to try this for yourself, beware if your flashes start getting hot, the candy might melt to them.   For this particular image, I was holding the rock candy slightly above the flash.  I shot this picture using the same settings as before. As you can see from the original image it, came out a bit dark so to pull out the crystal structure I lighted it up a bit and increased the contrast in Lightroom. Then to make the color and edges pop I increased the clarity to +43, the vibrancy to +12 and the saturation to +10.  I then cropped the image to isolate some of the sugar crystals.  This is a very abstract image. 

Original Image
Final Image

This challenge was good practice for me in thinking in the abstract. I usually have difficulties doing still life and random object photos.  I believe the artistic challenges are what are going to push me throughout these 52 weeks to think outside the box and more creatively. You can see all the final images from this weeks shoot here:

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