It’s interesting where you can find inspiration for photography sometimes. My brother Phil and his wife came down for a visit recently and over the course of a few days he and I spent a lot of time talking about photography techniques, experiments, and of course, gear. We played around with my 105mm f/2.8 macro lens a lot, finding interesting ways to shoot everyday subjects and looking for creative photographic possibilities out in the yard or just around the house. One such opportunity cropped up when the four of us (me, him, and our wives) were played a board game called Concept late into the evening after all the kids were asleep. The game itself was really fun, but what captured our interest even more was the colorful translucent pieces that you place on the board throughout your turn.
The more we looked at the rich greens, blues, reds, and yellows the more we thought they would make for an interesting close-up shot. We started with one single piece—the green question mark—and worked outward from there, with my Nikon D750 resting on the table in Live View as we composed the various elements of the shot. Phil toyed around with foreground and background elements, namely the little colored squares and tall exclamation marks, while I tried different solutions for how to light the image. We ended up using an iPhone in flashlight mode off to one side to get the lighting just right, and Phil carefully arranged pieces in the foreground and background until they looked like what you see here. We shot with an f/3.3 aperture which seemed a bit overkill at first due to super shallow depth of field, but the background out-of-focus elements looked so smooth that we didn’t want to go any smaller than that.
This is one of those shots that works fairly well on its own, but also tells a fun story if you know the context for the image. When I look at this I of course see a green question mark but what comes to my mind is a fun evening of hanging out with family, and that means a lot more to me than any one simple photograph.