Tuesday, October 02, 2007

open to new ideas

openNew ideas seem to occur in waves. A few times now I've noticed the same idea in different contexts. The shot above was taken a couple of weeks ago in a bar. I picked up the glass ashtray and started using it to distort the light hitting the lens. I was using it almost like a mute for a trumpet, feathering the edge over the open aperture of the lens, letting some sharpness in, blurring some of the edges. As I was shooting with a 85mm 1.8, wide open, there's plenty of scope to have some of the aperture covered and some not. I played around with it on quite a few shots, then finished my beer and stuck the empty pint glass over the lens. Sometimes it pays to have a weather sealed, beer resistant camera! The thick, round bottom of the glass gave the circular distortion in the third image below.
harp red beer goggles
Then this weekend I was shooting some portraits, while we were out wine tasting. I ended up playing around with distorting the empty spaces in the shot by shooting through a wine glass up close to the lens. Much in the same way I was using the ashtrays a couple of weeks ago.
Last night I was listening to another Lightsource podcast, discussing several images by Mark Robert Halper, many of which use just that same technique to blur down edges or create more interesting light in the scene. I think it is something I'm going to come back to in some more portraits and see what else I can find with it.


Holly Sisson said...

Hi Gordon,

Could you post some examples of the portrait shots you took with the wine glass distorting the empty space? You have very interesting ideas...I wish we lived in the same city so I could go wandering with you and experiment with light! That would be so much fun! :-)


alice said...

Just beautiful, Gordon. I remember doing something like this with a film camera using translucent plastic bags. Those came out pretty well too. I just started using glass myself, and many ideas are perking around...