Day 313—She Sells More Seashells

Today’s challenge was “soft light” so I decided to take softly lighted photos of the same shells I took for the hard light challenge. I thought this would be an easy challenge and I’d have it wrapped up in a few minutes. I was wrong. It took me more than three hours to accomplish this challenge.

Soft light proved particularly difficult for me to find in my house. I tried different artificial lighting and long shutter speeds. My OTT lights were too bright and even taping white paper over them didn’t help. I tried florescent kitchen lighting, light through my honeycomb blinds, incandescent lights. Nothing was right and I had shadows everywhere. I tried different background fabrics but settled on white, the opposite of the black I used in the “hard light” challenge. After duplicating the focal lengths I used for each of the shells I was still not happy. When I discovered that my south facing guest bedroom had the perfect light at mid afternoon, I set up on the bed. Now the shadows were almost gone and I didn’t need any artificial light but the shallow DOF was ruining my photos. Then I realized that I was trying to soften the light by using a wide aperture to make a shallow depth of field. All that accomplished was to make the shells mostly out of focus and uninteresting. I needed to use the same aperture as I used in the “hard light” challenge, f/29. Since I was using a tripod, that just meant a slightly longer shutter speed. This setting and the nice modulated afternoon light got photos I wanted.

These are all SOOC. I used varied focal lengths, ISO 100, f/29 and shutter speeds of 1.6 seconds for the Sea Urchin and the Lightening whelk, 2 seconds for the Endive Murex, and the Pink Mouthed Murex.