Recently I was asked, “Ok. I have to know what these are and how were these lovely pieces produced?”
A fair question, but one I have some ambivalence about answering. Not (as might be supposed) because I fear giving away secrets. There are no secrets anymore. Actually, I’d rather have folks immersed in an image. Not thinking about me, and certainly not thinking about my techniques.
But it is a fact that I have been working on these images for a while now, about six months, and have amassed a considerable body of work. You can check it out using these links: Bottled Light Exploration; Easy Travel to Other Planets; Earthlight; Blue on Red; Homage to Rothko; A Point of Information; Approaching Indigo; Playing with Light; Cosmic Misunderstanding; Life is Strange; More abstractions!; The Making of the Abstractions; Abstracts, and a Photographic Mystery.
Mostly, this style of image making is “a hecka” fun! I am having a blast.
To get down to the nitty-gritty, I set the photography up using glasses and glass vases. There is liquid in the glassware, mostly (but not always) food color. Sometimes I use clear water in colored glass, and other times I use a fluid such as wine or maple syrup that has a color on its own.
The imagery is primarily created using strong back lighting, so each colored vessel of water casts a variety of colors on the vessels in front.
Finally, I use a macro telephoto lens, often with an added extension tube, handheld at a fast shutter speed and a wide-open aperture (f/1.8) to create very low depth-of-field photos focused very close, and capturing whatever phenomenon the light is creating.
I actually think you’d have to see the setup to believe it!
Mostly, these are single shots, pretty straight from the camera, and with almost no serious tweaking in post-production. I like keeping things simple, and it is fast and easy not to need to spend a great deal of time in Photoshop.
But in a couple of images—think Cosmic Misunderstanding and Weaving with Light, the image at the start of this story—I’ve added Photoshop post-production doodling, photo composition, and photo-compositing of an image with itself to the mix.
After all, why not?
This one was photographed on a mirror, into a standalone glass concave lens, with a smaller aperture and more depth-of-field than I usually use for these images: