In Spring 2022 I took this close-up shot of my son’s eye with my macro lens, fascinated at the amount of detail I could capture while also playing around with the lighting a bit. We were outside and there wasn’t a lot I could do to actually control the light, since the sun kind of does its thing regardless of what we here on earth might prefer. Nonetheless he and I still found some creative ways to adjust a few parameters like where he was standing, what he was looking at, and the angle at which I took the picture and in the end I quite like how it turned out. A fun first attempt, at least, and it has stuck with me ever since.
Enter (what else?) my Pavotubes 😀 I thought it would be fun to revisit the original eye close-up with a bit more control over the lighting just to see what I could come up with. Both of my sons were kind enough to oblige their photo-obsessed father as I played around with the position, color, saturation, and intensity of three lights, each attached to the top of a separate tripod, arranged in a triangle shape in front of their faces. My first attempts involved setting each light to a different color, but like my brother Phil said it ended up looking like a weird sci-fi scanner effect from a movie and not the creative style I was really attempting to capture. Also, it was really difficult to get a close-up shot with both my camera and my sons’ heads moving around–even the slightest micro-movement threw the focus all out of whack.
Eventually we just paused the whole operation and went to go eat lunch with my wife, and in between bits of our grilled-cheese sandwiches it hit me: use one color of light instead of three, and find a way to stabilize my sons’ heads. The former was a matter of a couple simple adjustments on the light settings, and for the latter I just put a backward-facing chair in front of the lights so they could sit on it and rest their chin on the wooden chair back. Bingo.
The result you see here, then, is pretty much what I was aiming for though I’m not really sure what I was aiming for. You can see the reflection of the three lights around my youngest son’s eye, and I guess it’s kind of…different? I’m not really sure. Is it interesting? Maybe…I guess. I dunno. It was a fun experiment to try, and who knows, maybe it’ll give me some new ideas to consider at some point too.