Zodiac series – first Scorpio shoot

Although the Zodiac set was being done as a personal project there was another goal in mind. That was to submit the finished set for the associate honours with in the Photographic Society of New Zealand. For a print set there was a requirement that the set must hang together.

Although most people think of the year starting starting in January, the Zodiac signs have Aries as the first sign. When you map the signs into their elements you end up with the following structure

AriesTaurusGeminiCancer
LeoVirgoLibraScorpio
SagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces

To maintain consistency in the seat I had decided that all of the images on the second row would have heavy shadows, and like my Leo image it would be the shadow that showed the nature of the sign.

I initially thought that I would make the tail out of cardboard because all I really needed was a shadow. And then decided though that I wanted to have some substance to it because I was not sure which angle I would be shooting it at. Therefore I drew a pattern and made a a scorpion tail using some old material. I did make one mistake and I pinned the material the wrong way around and when I pulled it together realised that the pattern was on the outside. I used some wire to create a frame to support the tail and then connected it to a lightstand.

It was in a matter of trying to determine what sort of light was needed to create a sharp shadow. As was to be expected a bare bulb or a small bowl reflector produced very sharp edges on the shadow.

I then worked on what was the best position of the light that would enable me to create a clean cut out of just the shadow. This did require me to move the stand further away from the backdrop, which did result in a less defined shadow.

For my initial shoot Kimberley had indicated that Scorpio was her sign. Unfortunately arranging a time to shoot proved to be difficult and we tried to do it when we were both attending the post Covid catch up.

The problem with this was that she had already agreed to do another shoot with a different photographer, so the amount of time that we had to play with the settings was limited. Furthermore while the studio has a full set of lights week none of the triggers to work on my camera. So therefore I was limited to the one light I has taken in.

In the end I got a useable image from it but merging the two images together proved to be difficult as there was a lot of variation in the quality of light between the two. I therefore decided to shoot it again when I had more time. That will be the subject of another post.

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