Light and Shadow never stand still, they are always dancing together.
The camera is like a portal that offers an entrance into another world. We don’t see everything around us, that’s a fact. We make choices, often unconscious choices that filter everything for us.
I love apples. They are tasty and they are healthy to eat. But if I stop and admire nature’s work in the form of an apple, I realise how much I’ve taken for granted the vivid colours and the forms found in different types of apple.
Then move along to pears, not only the mild green-yellow of its skin, but the slightly rough textured skin. Like nature created a purse, especially to hold pear.
The above photo started at breakfast. I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking coffee, and staring out the window. Then I noticed the morning light. It seemed to lend everything a special translucent feeling that made the morning special. Then, when I looked across the room at my work surface, I saw a plum. It looked like a painting, not a plum to eat but admire.
I took the flowers from the pot, and laid them next to the plum, it looked even more like a Dutch painting, so I went to fridge and took out a couple of berries, and use the mandarine I was eating for breakfast as a final touch.
Moving and shifting things so the light would flow, and the shadows would support everything, I managed to get a good shot.
All done with a feeling of glee and fun of enjoying the natural light through the window — just like the great Dutch artists of the past.
When I go shopping, I can’t help but buy fruit and vegetable according to colour. I know if I get a good mix I’ll end up creating still life compositions first thing in the morning — at some point later, I might think about cooking the stuff.
Whenever I’ve allowed myself the time to start putting still lifes together, and then get a little more serious with grabbing camera, tripod, choosing the right lens — somewhere a round 50–85 mm — This allows me to keep my distance when shooting, not accidentally throwing my own shadow onto the subject, or blocking natural light.
Sometimes a still life, even one full of colour just seems to work better in monochrome. Black and white allows us more tonal choice. So the potatoes and basket above had to go black and white. It joins everything, and creates a unity in the photo.
The wine, jug, and apples, were the result of thinking about a low tone combination of objects. I didn’t want black and white. I was working but kept seeing an image of objects that melded together through their low light and faded colours. So, I stopped and built this composition up quickly, took a couple of shots. Decided it was worth dragging out a tripod, and light, then took several shots to satisfy my need to know. It works well enough and is pleasant to look at.
Brass pots and Pears go together like horses and carriages, their forms compliment easily, and that means you can try all sorts of angles. The distance between the objects makes an enormous difference to the tension, you should also be careful, when you have straight line up of objects, that the pear doesn’t throw an unwanted shadow onto another object. That can put everything off kilter, and the shot is ruined. It happens, sometimes without noticing.
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