Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Juan Valdez, eat your heart out!

Overflow coffee beansI promised myself I would do every Strobist Bootcamp II assignment this go-around. I swear I did. When I failed at doing the second one (the food assignment), I went out and bought some random vittles at Whole Foods to make up for it. A good strobist I was. I chose a random smattering of things: serrano peppers, fresno peppers, coffee beans, spaghetti (spinach AND wheat), two-bite brownies, and pints of blueberries.

Sadly, the brownies didn't make it out of the evening alive. But the coffee beans did! I'm not sure about the photos though. I need to take a step back and re-evaluate what I did and figure out how I could have made them better. I think the biggest problem is that they're just too uniform in color. All brown, no biscuit.

Biscotti might have helped.

Sea of coffee beans IIIBut that's ok. I still managed to spend over an hour working the light and coming up with something that looked good. Compared to many of the 2nd assignment's submissions, I think they suck a bit. For the reason mentioned above. I just didn't think enough about what I wanted to do with what I had.

I have a few more ideas to work through for the berries and peppers, but that's going to take a day or two before I'm ready to even work on that. The hard part is trying to re-create northern sunlight coming in through the window in the dining room. It's just too hot during the day to try and shoot back there.

I've included a few lighting setup shots so you can see what I was doing. It's not much, but it's a start.

Sea of coffee beans IWhat I'm realizing now is that, while the umbrellas do really well at creating a large, soft light, they're extremely challenging to control. I mean, it's a big round light. At one point, I was getting hot spots coming through because of how close I had the umbrella to the kitchen table. Solved that by slipping a piece of paper inside the umbrella at the point where it came closest to the table top to help diffuse out more of the light. That definitely worked great.

But, I need a good softbox. I need more light control for something like this.

In time.

Sea of coffee beans IIBut yeah, take a look at my coffee. Juan Valdez ain't got nothin' on my coffee bean yumminess! I think I'll have to play with this idea some more. Add some piles of white cane sugar, maybe some cinnamon sticks. And a different mug. The brown is definitely just too much.

Oh, and next time I'm buying cheaper coffee. Something I can throw away when I'm done; or at least keep away from my wife who kept trying to act as part of the coffee bean thievery guild of greater Austin. Maybe I'll just buy her her own coffee and that'll solve my problem.

More photos from the evening. Click through to see the explicit lighting details.

Coffee beans in cup I
Coffee beans in cup II
Sea of coffee beans IV
Setp for Overflow coffee beans
Setup for Sea of Coffee beans

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