Project 52

Assignment 32 - Say One Thing

Say one thing about one thing...that was this week's instructions for my 52 week project.  We were encouraged to explore shape, texture, color, point of view, etc. to find the "one thing" to highlight in the image.  When I read the brief, my mind went right to a fuzzy tennis ball - I don't know why - maybe because they are all over the house and the yard, courtesy of our yellow lab, Bentley. 

Before jumping in with the tennis ball, I did some brainstorming of other objects I could use.  I thought I could feature the spinning heads of my electric toothbrush, the porous nature of a cork (because God knows we've got enough of those laying around), the curly shaft of a cork screw, treads on a sneaker, and the cut glass of our Waterford crystal. 

Before settling in to take some photos, I ran my Saturday errands and while getting out of my car, I noticed a baseball in our garage.  I grabbed that as a possible subject too.  Feeling inspired by the fact that Major League Baseball's Opening Day is right around the corner, I decided to try the baseball first.  I wanted to focus on the red stitches, and have them cutting diagonally across the frame so it was a bit more dynamic.  I put a grid on a speedlight and played around with the angle to show texture in the ball and to highlight the raised nature of stitches.  A bit too much light was falling on the rest of the ball, so I put a large black card between the ball and the light to cut off some of the light on the left. 

I was happy with the baseball shot, but I had all afternoon, so why not try some of the other ideas?  I put the tennis ball in the same position as the baseball with the same lighting set up.  I recomposed a bit and moved the light so it was a bit more level with the tennis ball.  I wanted it all the "fuzziness" to be in focus, so I took six shots focusing at various points on the ball, and blended them together in Photoshop. 

Last, but not least, I grabbed a cork screw.  I set it up on an angle, as diagonals tend to be more dynamic in images.  I then thought I'd put a colored light on it to make it a bit more wine colored.  I put a spot light directly overhead with a purple gel on it, and gradually added white cards around the cork screw to help bring out the dimension and make sure it wasn't blending into the background.  Because the light was directly overhead, it was causing some bright spots on the top of the screw, so I put a scrim (big translucent reflector) between the light and the corkscrew at a bit of an angle, and it softened the "hot spots."

I preferred the baseball image, so that's the one I submitted for the assignment.  Next week is the final conceptual assignment.  The subject is "speed."  I keep thinking about the quote from Top Gun: "I feel the need...the need for speed."  I don't think I'll be seeking out any naval aviators by next weekend, however.