All posts filed under “photography

A Really Lazy Sunday

Alright, so no recipe this week because I went and saw The Counselor today. Ridley Scott’s new thriller, penned by Cormac McCarthy and starring man of the moment Michael Fassbender. For all intents and purposes it was a messy film not really worthy of much afterthought…except it was. 10 hours later and I still can’t really shake the film. I’m reading reviews, commentary, analysis and I just can’t get enough. I’m hoping to even read the original McCarthy screenplay later on. I guess maybe it’s not as bad a film after all, and my film school student core just can’t NOT delve into why the film turned out the way it did. Anyway, I do recommend it, even if you do come out hating it, you’ll have a lot to say on why you hated it. Anyway, whilst my brain is utterly preoccupied with analytically tearing this film apart , it is in no way in the right space to type out a recipe and be witty about it.

Anyway, back onto this film… the one undeniable thing about The Counselor is that even under all its cinematic failings, it’s still amazing in terms of design, both production and costume. Everything was the right tone of deliberate. From the clean modernist lines of the architecture, the rich yet not gaudy props to the understated coutureness of Giorgio Armani, who supplied most of the costumes. This film looked AMAZINGLY good, and good design made the cinematography look good too. I feel that the older I get the more observant I am of these design details and after really diving into photography seriously the past 3-4 years, I’ve really started to pick up more things on the cinematography side as well. (That and I guess working with amazing cinematographers day in day out helps too).

I’ve spent a lot of the weekend watching Youtube videos of photography strobe setups so I went in to The Counselor with particular focus on catchlights and lighting setups and in turn I probably had more fun watching that side of the film than the actual film. And it’s great to be able to analyse real cinematography, as opposed to setups on a greenscreen which is VFXed to the max in post.

Anyway whilst we ponder the controversial question of whether greenscreen cinematography is legit… I recently upgraded to the Canon 5D MKIII from my Canon 60D. Going full frame was something that I wanted to do for ages, ever since I got my first DSLR, the Canon 40D back in April 2009 but it was always a question of money and whether I really needed one. I mean is it actually worth 4 times the price of a 60D? Probably not but at least my subconscious will now stop nagging my brain for full frame now. And I won’t be able to blame any photography mishaps on an inferior body.

So still, fresh thoughts of cinema in mind, I had a little time to experiment with my new camera today. Sadly there’s not much fresh food around the house this week (yup it’s been that lazy), so I ventured into the backyard and picked out a few odds and ends. I used the Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro, Canon 85mm F1.8 & the Sigma 50mm F1.4 to see how each worked with the new camera. It’s interesting getting used to that extra 0.625 sensor area. And the low noise on the 5D is amazing. It was an incredibly cloudy, rainy day in Sydney today, and I took these photos at about 5pm, so not a lot of light, but even at ISO 3200, you can see there’s very little noise in my setup of The Counselor inspired nihilistic bouquet…

Still Life Bouquet Vase
Still Life Bouquet Vase
Still Life Bouquet Vase
Still Life Bouquet Vase

Intersection of Light, Colour & Mood

I’d like to think that everything important I’ve learnt about life I learnt from the Godfather trilogy. It’s not a typical film series which would interest a 13 year old girl, but I guess I wasn’t your ordinary teenager. Of course it’s filled with brilliant, acting, writing, directing etc but what do you take away from the colour palette? I’ve always thought the series swam in murky hues of black and orange and when there is colour or a distinct tone on screen, they tend to really pop, like Don Fanucci’s white suit or the red rose in Don Corleone’s front pocket during Connie’s wedding. I guess the Technicolor process helps (Supposedly Part II was the last film to be processed in a 3 dye print in Technicolor’s factory before it closed). But overall I can’t help but be taken back to the paintings of Caravaggio, Rubens and  Rembrandt. There’s the sense of colour and light enveloped by darkness which prevail in these works. It’s the classic Chiaroscuro style in varying strengths from the slightly muted light and dark contrast in scenes of the Godfather to the extremes of Rembrandt.

The Uffizi museum in Florence is huge treasure trove of Renaissance works and for most people they stop and marvel at the Botticellis but for me it was Caravaggio’s Bacchus that was the true masterpiece. Depicting the youthful exuberance of Bacchus, the god of wine and ecstasy, the Chiaroscuro doesn’t stop at the light or colour. Caravaggio decides to also contrast the subject of the plump muscular decadence of Bacchus with the objects of rotten fruits in the basket.

bacchus

Inspired by these works, I wanted to delve into more of a Chiaroscuro look, the classic style of food photography emphasizes as much light as possible, to make the objects bright and appealing. This experiment was to do the opposite but keep the appeal of the food. I had some nice strawberries and blueberries lying around in the fridge and I just wanted to keep it simple.

I hope especially with the strawberries that you’re transported to Michael Corleone’s Sicilian villa in 1947 where he and Apollonia could have lived happily ever after.

Strawberry Still Life
Strawberry Still Life
Strawberry Still Life
Blueberry Still Life
Strawberry Still Life
Blueberry Still Life