Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Experiment #1: Reusing an empty Tera's Whey Canister in Photos

Hi! I'm Ruben.  I've been photoblogging for around 2 years over at sqwair.blogspot.com.  I'm going to be doing photography experiments along with others performing creative experiments as part of a group experiment executed by Tara.

I had the monday morning blues and I needed a pick me up.  99% has been an incredible resource for productivity tips and always has challenged me so I naturally went to the blog looking for new articles. After watching a video and reading this blog post, I wanted to continue on my personal goal to have 100 photographs or illustrations available for viewing and purchasing.  I currently have around 60 unique listings on my etsy shop now.

Video I saw from Tina Seelig's TedX talk:

The concept I walked away with was to use resources that are nearby and free.  I looked through my recycle bin and my family had just finished a Tera's Whey canister of protein powder. My son, Max, saw me messing with the cylinder and before his bedtime I showed him how to spell out letters one poke at a time.  Writing on the can and poking with a push pin every 5mm worked best.

I held the canister to the light and wedged a rock underneath to keep it in place.  All lights in the room were off except the light shining through the canister.

Scorpio Constellation

These concentrated lights made me curious to see how an out of focus, a.k.a bokeh, approach would look.

Used yellow/orange tissue paper.
Used a handmade filter to change the light color (I'll explain this in  a blog post coming shortly).

The 1 class I took from David Wells at the Worcester Art Museum several years ago emphasized always trying several settings because you never know what will look good.  Slowing down the shutter speed would allow more light in.  I definitely wanted to see points of light and have it surrounded by pure black.  I didn't want to see any writing from Tera's Whey in the picture.

Exposure time set to 1/500th of a sec versus the previous settings which ranged between 1/1000th and 1/2000th of a sec.
I went to sleep at 2am that night!  Between my day job and when all in my house go to sleep I often will stay up very late to get a few hours of creative time in.  I do best when I'm not confined just to my lunch hour during the day.

The following morning I woke exhausted + running behind schedule to get to work, but I was also remarkably cheerful knowing what I had done the previous night.  I imagined the canister lit up showing constellations and thought about how I could make it better.  Several movie scenes show a shaft of light from the sun or a flashlight in dark areas.  I knew the light path would need to be smoky or dusty to be seen.  After work, this desired cloudy atmosphere around the constellation seemed feasible if I used baby powder. Unfortunately, baby powder didn't change anything.  I tried smudging a sage stick and although I felt extremely relaxed, it had little affect on the photos.

I was so stoked to have this experience and my blues were gone! : )

Click on the pics to see the prints available for purchase from the experiments done here.


I figured another nice side project would be to get bokeh and straight shots of all zodiac constellations and offer the photos as a print or as a card for birthdays.

Any questions about the process or other thoughts on the experiment?  Comment down below!