Monday, January 21, 2013

Four Horses Photograph

This is a photograph that I created earlier today:
Four Horses
By created, I mean created. I built a small diorama and photographed it. I was inspired by photographer Matthew Albanese's "Strange World" series (click the link and check it out).

I built the diorama with the above image in mind. Before I even starting out I saw in my mind Four Horses (at least pretty close to it). I then built the diorama so that I could capture the photograph that I wanted. That's called photographic vision.

Let's back this up a minute. The only reasons for one to spend the time and money building a diorama for the sake of photography is because it would be impractical to find and capture a similar scene or the scene does not exist.

The scene in Four Horses exists somewhere, and maybe even not far from where I live. But the scene isn't practical to photograph because it isn't the right season (it is winter right now, and the scene looks like late spring). That is the reason for this project.

The diorama itself is simple. The body of it is the lid to a small styrofoam cooler. I painted the top of it dark green and sprinkled some model train vegetation products on top of that. I glued a "tall grass" product to the front edge and "planted" some trees on the styrofoam behind the top.

Those products cost about $20, but the trees are reusable and I have tons of the vegetation and grass material left over for a future project. The horses were $10 for five.

I wanted the appearance of a gentle slope up and perhaps a steeper downward slope on the other side. I angled the diorama slightly to give the appearance of the upward slope and the trees planted on the back of the diorama completed the effect.
The Diorama
I wanted the feeling of a low summer sun, so I used an incandescent light (which is "warm") and placed it just to the left of the diorama and ever-so-slightly higher than the trees. I used another light (but placed further away and much higher than the tree line) to keep the shadows from being too deep. The "sky" (which has a yellowish cast from the incandescent light) is a white bed sheet.

I used a Pentax K-30 DSLR to photograph the diorama. Really, I could have used any camera. I set the aperture to f9 for depth-of-field and diffraction considerations. ISO was set at 400. The camera was handheld at 1/13. White balance was set to daylight (so the scene would stay "warm").

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