If you have been following Weekly Fifty recently, you have probably seen some shots I have taken with my new color-changing LED lights. Today’s picture, then, will probably not surprise you as yet another in this series as I learn to use this new style of lighting in my photography. However, this shot contains a few key differences from the ones I have shared in previous weeks. First of all, even though I took all the pictures thus far with my 105mm macro lens this is the first one that is a true macro shot. Second, the subject here is almost entirely monochromatic: hard white plastic, rubberized black accents, and only the faintest bit of color with the button icons which are a shade of light bluish-purple. That means the coloring is coming not from the subject, but from the lights, which is something I’d like to explore more in the coming weeks and months.
I employed a rather unusual setup to take this picture, which presented some interesting challenges that were fun to attempt to overcome. First of all, I had a concept in mind for this picture which helped a great deal when I set out to actually take it. I knew I wanted a top-down view of the buttons on the controller, and I knew that I wanted a shallow depth of field as well. That meant I had to shoot with my camera pointed straight down, which meant I needed to use a tripod and angle my camera down. Fortunately my trusty Manfrotto tripod I have had for nearly 15 years did the trick quite nicely, but then I also had to use some boxes and even my wallet to bring the controller close enough to the lens, and positioned at just the right angle, for this shot.
After that I had to play around with the lighting. A lot. I tried different colors and different positions of the lights, including far away and close up as well as holding them in the air with my hands. I took several dozen shots but this one ended up as my favorite for a few reasons. First, the bright glow on the right side of the frame felt like just the right amount: not too much, but not too little. I also liked how there were little spots of orange light on the left side of the buttons that were created from the same light source. I am also really happy with the depth of field: the X is tack sharp while the rest fades away, which gives a sense of three-dimensional depth to the shot. Finally, the white plastic being cast in a soft purple thanks to the other light tube ended up working out really well too.
I also shot this at ISO 100 to get a nice clean image, but then realized afterwards just how dirty the controller was. I had to clean up a lot of dust and other minute imperfections in Lightroom, but that’s kind of par for the course with close-up shots like this. In the end this is probably my favorite shot I have taken yet, and only makes me more excited for what else I can do with these lights :)