Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bubble Bottles

Although I sometimes think I don't have that good of an eye for picking subjects to photograph, I'm constantly scrutinizing just about everything in sight. I'm frequently impressed by images of different types of bottles and glassware, filled with richly colored liquids and lit in such a way to make those vessels and what they hold glow with a dreamy intensity. These two little travel bottles have held my attention for a while and I finally filled one with shampoo, the other with soft soap and started experimenting with how I could create a cool image of my own.

Starting out, I set the bottles on a one foot square, glossy black piece of floor tile, placed a small softbox behind with a Vivitar 285HV flash shooting through it and made a series of shots to track down the best exposure. The results weren't too bad, but seemed a little blah to me. Contemplating how I could create something a little more interesting, I remembered that regardless of how full the bottles were, there were still bubbles floating around in there. Of course, the bubbles always work their way up, so I ended up spending close to an hour holding the bottles up one way, flipping them, setting them down on the tile and then reaching for the shutter button on the camera fast enough to get a shot off before the bubbles had floated out of the frame. Don't ask me how many exposures I made trying to catch those bubbles where I wanted them, as well as getting bubbles that were the most interesting. Yes, it's silly, but anything for the shot, right?

Picking out several of what looked like the best shots, I downloaded them onto my computer, fired up Photoshop and set to work on getting a final image. I sent an example to a friend of mine who likes to keep tabs on what I'm working on and it wasn't long before I heard back. She liked the image overall, but didn't like the "3 fluid ounces" on the bottles. "It's really distracting," she said. Some keystrokes, mouse maneuvering, a little Photoshop magic and I made the writing disappear. Adjustments in Curves, contrast and sharpening brought out the detail and color I was looking for. I decided to include the basic image as it came out of the camera to show how much different it is from the finished image. Shot with my Nikon D300, Nikkor 105mm micro lens. The flash was fired with a CyberSync transmitter and receiver.

No comments: