On Assignment: Wisemen Silhouettes

by | Jan 7, 2022 | Assignments | 0 comments

I had such a great time with this assignment! At first, I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I wasn’t even sure if I could do it! But approaching it one step at a time, and solving one problem at a time, I was neat to see how it all come together. This assignment, Wisemen Silhouettes, is going to be a challenge, but let me show you how I did it!

For reference, this is the photo that the publisher gave us to replicate (or to come up with a similar, creative alternative):

Flyer for Madelyn

There are several things in the video I’d like to show you how they looked from the perspective of the camera . . .

In and of itself, silhouettes against a white background are beautiful:

211217_James Staddon_2081 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 80 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

But as you can see, the reflections on the table are distracting.

So, adding the black table cloth really made a big difference!

211217_James Staddon_2089 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 80 mm, 0.5 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

The dark foreground really helps keep the attention where it needs to be in the photo.

I actually really liked the background texture and color in my prototype foam board:

211217_James Staddon_2096 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 80 mm, 3.2 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

If I had had more time, I think I would have tried something with a bigger piece of foam board. The stars look more like stars, and the “parchment” texture adds an artistic touch.

When it came to the red plastic table covering, you can see there was some interesting banding going on. I think it’s something that could be taken out in post though, if needed.

211221_James Staddon_2119 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 99 mm, 2.5 sec at f - 18, ISO 50

The old poncho turned out to work pretty well. This is what it looked like before putting it in the dryer.

211220_James Staddon_2112 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 85 mm, 0.6 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

But even with most of the wrinkles taken care of, there was still uneven texturing especially where the two softboxes came together.

211221_James Staddon_2115 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 105 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

I had to really think about this one for a while. I tried several things to get rid of the uneven texturing to no avail. But that’s how I discovered the need to separate the blue background from the lights. It fixed the problem right away!

211221_James Staddon_2117 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 99 mm, 1.6 sec at f - 18, ISO 50

Then I had to get it perfectly flat. It was kinda fun rigging up that second stand. A broom stick worked well. And some tape. Open-mouthed smile

211221_James Staddon_2169 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-40 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 250

I learned some things playing around with the flashlight too. It’s interesting how the camera picks things up differently than our eyes see it. Wiggling the flashlight back and forth during the exposure also helps to soften harsh edges.

A bright circle of light looked like this:

211221_James Staddon_2125 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 99 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 18, ISO 50

Standing further away created a different effect:

211221_James Staddon_2141 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 102 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

But the effect I liked best was the starburst. At f/16, the starburst was nice and clear:

211221_James Staddon_2153 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 102 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

When I saw that photo come up on the back screen, I knew I had accomplished what I was going for.

Removing the UV filter was the last thing I needed to do. With only very basic adjustments in Lightroom, here is my final photo!

211221_James Staddon_2154 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 102 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 16, ISO 50

In retrospect, there are some things I would do differently. I would add some bigger stars, and more stars, especially at the top. There is also the shadow of my arm holding the flashlight in the top right corner of the photo. The poncho had some unremovable stains on it, and is not perfectly smooth either, so the background texture overall is un-sky-like. But for these sort of things, I think I’ll just play my “artistic license” card. Smile with tongue out

Now It’s Your Turn!

But now it’s your turn! Discover what sort of things you’ll learn by duplicating exactly what I did, or come up with your own creative way of replicating the artwork that the publisher sent. The Wisemen Silhouettes challenge is now yours to conquer!

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