Studio Practice – Task 1: Still Life Pt 7

After practising a couple of set ups at home yesterday, today was the time to bring my props into the college studio.

Consisting of my glass rose lamp, a bunch of pink tulips, a couple of fake butterflies plus a selection of shells & stones the challenge was to interpret a classic still life painting.

Here goes…

Firstly, I set up the glass rose lamp on a black background & took a couple of phone shots.

I then set up the camera with the flash trigger & used a spotlight with barn doors. The following were taken with my Nikon D5500 using the 50mm lens. I did try a couple of shots with manual focus, but my eyesight let me down, so I used automatic focus which works well for me, adjusting the single focal point on the subject.

Next, I tried a composition just using the shells & stones.

Then I tried the tulips in the vase.

The light was quite sharp & not giving me the effect I wanted. Then Clare, my classmate volunteered to help with suggestions on how to use the items that I’d got. First, she suggested taking the flowers out the vase & combine them with some of the shells. Let’s give it a go…

We weren’t totally convinced with the result. There were a couple of shots in that group that did look quite nice, but I wouldn’t have been happy submitting any for my final image.

As the light was quite harsh, Clare suggested using a softbox to diffuse it. This made a major difference as it provided the light I was looking for. I also returned the flowers back into the vase. Something had triggered in my mind’s eye that this was the type of image I was going for.



The light was certainly softer & more even. By then I was quite visually strained & physically drained, so it was time to check out the images on the PC. I personally really liked the last set of images the most so far, with one really standing out for me. However, Zig was going to give me a push in another direction. He really liked the lamp & butterflies, which played on the concept of a classic still life painting. By twisting the subject matter, it subverts the original representation of each of the elements.

Back to the set up with some more shots of the glass rose lamp, butterflies, tulip & shells.

At the time of writing, I wasn’t totally convinced I want to go with any of these images. What I will do is not look at them for a few days & revisit with fresh eyes. Also, to view & discuss them with Zig & the class during the next lesson.

Overall, this was a great practical exercise during which I learnt a lot. It also proved that practice (as usual) makes perfect.

Criteria Ref: P1, P2 & P4.


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