Evolution, photo by Harold Davis.

This is a photo I created for my upcoming book Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques. One of the parts of the books explains both the Zen and the nitty-gritty techniques of the still life photographer.

I’ve had many requests for a description of how I made this photo, so here goes in a “sneak preview” from my book.

I placed a whole egg and the egg shell from a second egg on a slightly transparent white seamless paper background. The image was lit from behind the paper background by a strong late afternoon sun coming in through a window. I lit the eggs from the front by bouncing a 250 watt tungsten light off the white ceiling.

When I exposed the image, I was careful to focus carefully on the eggs and use a moderate aperture (f/8) for shallow depth-of-field, so that only the eggs would be in focus.

In Photoshop, I added the blue background seen towards the top of the image on a layer with low opacity. I used the Gradient Tool to blend the blue with the rest of the background.

Exposure data: Nikon D300, 200mm f/4 macro, 1/8 of a second at f/8 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.

The title I gave this photo, Evolution, also gets some comments, both positive and negative. As far as I am concerned, there is no great significance to this title. When I named the photo, I was following the example of surrealist Rene Magritte, who said that he had “no interest in making anything comprehensible” in his titles for his paintings. I was hoping to be evocative and mysterious rather than descriptive.

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