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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 38
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Winter Photography At Home
Thursday 24 November 2011   —   Category: Shooting
Just because the sun sets early and rises late, and just because the weather has turned cold and rainy — this IS Oregon, after all! — doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in the passion of photography! If you can’t dodge the bad weather, you can always shoot indoors! It’s fun to let the imagination run wild, to see what kind of interesting new shots I can come up with. In today’s blog post, I’ll share with you some of the photos I have been taking this month right here at home.

An upcoming photo competition of the Valley Viewfinders Camera Club — of which I am a member — is entitled “shadows.” As I was pondering what kind of photo I could take to enter in the competition, the idea of a shadow from my menorah formed in my inner eye.

So I set up the menorah in my home office, illuminated it with a small flashlight to create the shadow on the wall, lit the candles, and fired away with my new Sony Alpha α77 camera. I was very pleased with how it turned out. I especially like the shadows of the flames. We’ll see if I end up winning any awards at the February 2012 competition.

For those of you interested in the details, I used my Sony Carl Zeiss 24-​70​mm f/2.8 zoom lens at 70mm, with an exposure of one-third of a second at f/9, ISO 400.

The next day I was preparing a traditional Swiss meal including Raclette cheese, various types of meat to cook on top of the Raclette grill, and relish tray with pickled vegetables. Once I had these three different platters arranged, they looked so nice — and I had some spare time before we were going to eat it all up — that I decided to take some pictures of them.

Shown here is the meat platter. In case you are wondering, the meats are (starting at the top and going clockwise): chicken breast, pork tenderloin, turkey tenderloin, beef filet, and in the center, linguiça. Perhaps this photo should be called “Where’s the Beef?” !!! By clicking on the following links, you can also see the plate of raclette cheese, and the relish tray.

All three photos were taken with my Sony DT 30mm f/2.8 macro lens at f/16 and ISO 100, with a shutter speed varying between 1/3 and 1/25 of a second. Each one was lit with natural light from the same nearby window.

Recently, on one of my daily neighborhood walks, I found a beautiful red maple leaf lying on the ground in front of our house. It looked so stunning that I decided to take a picture of it — but not there on the ground! I brought it inside, washed it off, and carefully taped it to my bedroom window with a small amount of double-sided tape. The light shining from outside, through the leaf, gave it a glowing appearance.

The background is the trees in our backyard, maybe about 70 feet away. To make them appear so out of focus, I used my Sony G-Series 70-​200​mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens, zoomed all the way to 200mm, with an aperture of f/4.5, shutter speed of 1/40 second, and ISO of 100. Then I did some adjusting in Photoshop to get the look I was after. I call this photo Maple Flambé!

A couple of days later, I noticed a little art-craft Indian doll sitting on the window sill in the kitchen. It wasn’t new or anything, but for some reason my photographic eye saw it in a new light. She looked kind of photogenic! Hmmmm ... I guess that means I should take a picture of her! But the surrounding area there on the window sill was definitely NOT photogenic. Then the small pumpkins sitting outside on a little table by the front door came to mind. That seemed promising, so I took the little doll out there to see what could be arranged.

The doll and the pumpkins went really well together, and she seemed much happier there with her native squashes than back on the window sill in the kitchen! The pastel-pumpkin-pie-colored wall of our house in the background fit in well too. So I set up my camera on a tripod, using my Sony DT 30mm f/2.8 macro lens, with a shutter speed of 1/60 second, aperture of f/6.3, and ISO at 200. I’m going to enter this photo in the next camera club competition, which has the theme of “macro.” It probably won’t win any awards, but still, I think it turned out nice.

Just yesterday the idea came to me to take some close-up shots of a couple of precious metal coins I own. To the left is a Tower of David Gold Bullion 2010 coin from Israel, while to the right is a 1879 Morgan silver dollar coin.

As I often do, I set my equipment up in my home office. I put each coin on a black background, illuminated with a small but bright light. Turning the coins relative to the light created different looks and effects, as the bas-relief of the images produced various shadows and highlights depending on the direction and angle of the illumination. Having the light shine from the top of the coin generally seemed to give the most satisfactory results.

For both photos I used my Sony 50mm f/2.8 macro lens at full magnification, with an aperture of f/32 for maximum depth-of-field, ISO 100 for reduced image noise, and a shutter speed varying from 1.3 to 2 seconds. Taking such close-up pictures of these coins give you a totally different perspective — and a stunning one at that! I also took a photo of the back of the silver dollar.

Because these photos are spread out amongst three different albums, simply click on each photo (or text link) to see it larger. I hope that my examples of indoor winter photography fun will inspire you to make your own creative pictures, no matter what mood Mother Nature is in outside.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 38
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 38
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