Tag Archives: pisces

Zodiac series – Pisces final shoot

In previous posts I have told you how I went about planning for the Pisces shoot which would turn out to be the final shoot in the zodiac series. As it turned out while finding models of the Pisces was relatively easy, getting them to commit to a shoot day proved to more difficult.

A month nearly past between the test shoot and when Marianne arrived to do the final one. In that time I had also managed to acquire a fishbowl that better resembled what I had envisaged.

The bowl was actually larger than the one that I had tested and therefore heavier. I therefore decided against getting Marianne to lift it even though that is what we have practised. The goldfish had also become better at avoiding me so I ended up not being able to catch the large gold one that I was after, and instead had to settle with a much smaller one.

In my test shots there were two lights aimed solely at the background. However when I started to shoot I realised that if I pulled them further away that the scene was much more evenly lit. To get light on the front of both the bowl and Marianne I positioned my strobe camera right with it being bare bulbed and pointed at the ceiling. Essentially this created a large light source above her.

Although the light positions did result in reflections in the glass I was not worried about that as it did add dimension to the image.

Although I knew fundamentally how this image would fit into the set I wanted to ensure that I had a variety of images with different focal lengths and angles.

This included having Marianne holding the fish, as well as ones where she was sitting on the ground. Ultimately it was one of her lying on the ground that was selected to be the chosen image.

With Pisces finally shot I now had a complete set of the twelve signs, even though if I was to submit them both Cancer and Virgo needed to be reshot to fit with how the set was now looking.

The level that I am going for the Photographic Society of New Zealand honours has a very low success rate and part of that is the Honours Board’s desire to see a level of diversity in the images submitted. I started to think that the set was not diverse enough and this was confirmed when I took it to one of the members of the board who had just stepped down.

While it did not end up being a submitted set, the process of shooting the twelve image was very enjoyable and worthwhile.

Zodiac series – Pisces Test shoot

In a previous post I told you how I realised that I had an image that could work for Pisces, and that post centered around embellishing the image.

However as the set developed it became obvious that the image didn’t fit in with the others and that I needed to reshoot it. I therefore decided that I would have a model holding a bowl containing the fish.

My wife found a rather elaborate bowl and when she brought it home I decided to see how we would go about lighting it.

Shooting very reflective surfaces aways presents a challenge especially when you want to avoid the lights appearing in the image. When the surface is flat you can work out the angle of refraction and position the camera or light in such a way that it does not come into the lens. When the surface is curved it becomes a lot more difficult.

As I didn’t want to be mucking around when the model was there I set out to try various lighting patterns and see how they would work. I managed to get my wife to assist me which was a very rare occurrence.

My initial thought was to use the largest possible light source that I could so I put up the seven foot umbrella and boomed it out over top.

While this sort of worked, you could clearly see the inside of the umbrella shape in the glass, which was more dominant when the post process treatment was run over it. This arrangement was clearly not going to work.

Then later in the evening I had an idea and headed into the studio to try it out. By this stage I could not convince my wife to help so it was up to me with the camera on a tripod and a self timer. To ensure that I was going to the same position each time I placed a stool on the set. The glass bowl was placed on the stool and I lifted straight up from it.

I took the umbrella off and replaced with a speedlight in a gridded reflector aiming straight down into the glass. I initially tried it with just the single light and was reasonable happy that there was no reflection on the glass.

I then brought in two soft boxes to light the background. While this produced a good look I felt that there was not enough light on me.

To solve that problem I brought in another light in a gridded softbox and aimed it directly at me making sure that is did not fall on the glass.

The background light did catch in the edge of the bowl but I decided that I was ok with that as it added dimension to the image.

It was no time to find my new Pisces model, which turned out to be more difficult that I thought it would.

Zodiac series – Pisces (NSFW)

When I posted the call for the Zodiac series one of the models who answered for Pisces was Kristara. That reminded me that I had already shot her in an image that pretty much fitted the brief. The only thing that I needed to add to it was a couple of fishes to make the usual Pisces symbol.

Fortunately we have a fishpond right outside the house and so I thought it would be easier just to photograph the fish as they came up to the surface. I needed to use a polarising filter on the camera to cut down on some of the water clear but I thought that I had managed to get a usable image despite the fact that the pond was quite dark

I discovered how much of an issue the dark pond would be when I tried to incorporate the fish into the image. There was no way of separating them from the background easily without the image looking fake.

So I decided that I needed to get them on a lighter background. This meant catching the fish and putting into a plastic container.

The only problem with the approach was that the net would pick up a lot of materials floating in the water at the same time.

I had wanted to use two fish but in the end used the same image twice to create the pattern. In Photoshop I placed the fish in an area where there was nothing else, but also copied the background around this area. This was then placed in a layer above the fish and the opacity decreased to let them come through. The benefit of doing this was that the light reflecting on the water was consistent.

I was really pleased with how the image came out.