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Girl with the pearl earring


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#1 Cal

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:44 PM

Hey Wetpixelators

I managed to convince a good friend of mine (Annika - an exchange student from Sweden) to model for a few ideas I had.

As ive mentioned in some other threads, I moved to Townsville, Australia and can't dive because of the cost. I've been going crazy due to the lack of underwater photography so I've been trying different things such as river snorkeling and now pool sessions.

In this series, I wanted to try to replicate the famous painting "girl with the pearl earring" by the dutch impressionist, Vermeer.Girl with the pearl earring This has long been a favorite painting of mine . One of the key points to this painting is that the viewers eye is drawn to the pearl and I wanted to try and copy this underwater and get the pearl to reflect the strobe light.

For these shots I used a combination of fast shutter speeds (1/200th) and narrow apertures (19th -ish) to get the black backgrounds. I used a combination of one or two strobes to create shadows as needed.

No 1
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No2
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No 3
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No 4
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Another idea I had was to get the reflection of a bright object above the models face and use it to create symmetry.

For this I put one strobe above the water and one below the housing pointing up to try and light the surface reflection.

No 5
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#2 Cal

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:47 PM

I wanted to try and get a weird shot of the model kissing her reflection.

for these shots I used two strobes with one above the water. I splashed the water in a few to create dappled light rays from the strobe. I really like this technique and will be using it again in a river soon :-)

No 6
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No 7
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No 8
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I wanted to copy keri Wilk's recent award winning photo of a back lit blenny's profile. I got the model to hold the strobe out behind her head whilst I composed the image.
No 9
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This shot was a simple off camera strobe shot whereby I wanted to create some odd shadows on the models face.
No 10
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and a final few

I wanted a close shot of the reflection incorporating the earring. This was 2 strobes below the water aiming almost straight up.
No 11
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Annika loved some of the shots but couldn't understand why I liked this one as she doesn't appear to be underwater. Thoughts ?
No 12
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and finally after 2 hours of shooting,

Cal and Annika enjoying mints and collecting rose petals that were floating around the pool
No 13
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Hope you enjoyed them!

More images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/calmero/

Cheers

Cal
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#3 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 11:35 PM

Nice stuff, Cal,

Some good and some average stuff there. I think 7, 8 and 9 are particularly interesting.

Alex

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#4 photovan

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 11:42 PM

Cal, I'm impressed by your passion for underwater photography, and the way you are setting yourself projects that get you and your camera wet without tanks.

I enjoyed the progress through your pool session, and your approach of replicating some pictures that you like. It's a good way to learn, as you can try different techniques with a goal that is in full view.

I particularly liked the middle part of the session, the "kissing" series. No 7 is my favourite.

The strength of Vermeer's original is in the direction and the quality of the light. Trying to replicate this in the pool with bare (I assume) strobe light rather than window-like light (from say a soft box) is always going to be a challenge.

I recently got some results I was happy with using a Lasolite Easybox for some pool work, adapting it in a rudimentary fashion to my Seaflash 250. With the help of 2x slaves (actually one assistant/slave :) and one or the light-sensitive variety built into the 250 :) ) it's easy to place the light in the desired location to achieve the direction you need, and the Easybox takes the edge off / softens the light a reasonable amount, as long as you keep it close to the subject.

Keep up the experimentation! Can we see a take on "American Gothic" next?

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#5 loftus

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:01 AM

I like 7,8, and 9 as well. Great, relaxed model - you should be able to do some really cool work with her.
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#6 Drew

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:05 AM

What is it about Townsville and Swedish students? :)
I thought #8 had the most potential. 8 had a bit too much ripple and spoiled the model's face. If you had the ripples like #11 and the lighting of #8, it would've been a nice pic.
As Darren said, a strong spot light would've worked better.

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#7 james

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:23 AM

Hi Cal,

Great first effort, keep it up! I like your use of lighting in the photos - very creative. As you can see, getting a good reflection is tough - but you've captured it in a few. I like the first one w/ the pearl earring - great concept, and the backlit shot is cool too. The earring shot could use a little stronger lighting on her face, IMO.

Keep up the good work,
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#8 Cal

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:24 PM

Hey Wepixelators,

I always love posting pics on here.


"Some good and some average stuff there. I think 7, 8 and 9 are particularly interesting. "

- Its great to get such constructive criticism from photographers who I know have a critical eye.

Photovan- thanks for the detailed response. I'm finding more and more that I'm a photographer who prefers to work underwater rather then a diver who carries a camera around :-)

I've lined up some models and did a brainstorm for "american gothic" were doing it later in the week so ill make sure to send you the results!

After that is Munch's Scream and I have some funky ideas on how to do it :-)

Loftus - shes great. I'm exceedingly lucky to have a friend/model like her to work with. The face that shes gorgeous helps as well :)

"What is it about Townsville and Swedish students? smile.gif" haha I don't question it. I just enjoy it :)

thanks for all the feedback guys. I've taken it on board and will be hopefully getting some more stuff out by next week.

Cheers

Cal
http://www.calmero.com.au/ - Creative Underwater Photography

#9 photovan

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:29 PM

.... I've lined up some models and did a brainstorm for "american gothic" were doing it later in the week so ill make sure to send you the results!

After that is Munch's Scream and I have some funky ideas on how to do it :-).....


Great work Cal, will look forward to the next installment.

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#10 Drew

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:43 PM

Ah... the ol' " you'd be a great model, and I'm a photographer" line. Good to hear it still works.

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#11 Cal

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:01 AM

" you'd be a great model, and I'm a photographer" line. Good to hear it still works. "

100% success rate :)
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#12 Drew

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:36 AM

Sigh... one more line to warn the little girls about.

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#13 ornate_wrasse

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:26 PM

Sigh... one more line to warn the little girls about.


Ahh, I must tell my college age daughter to visit Wetpixel as part of her education informing her of the lines that the guys will use on her :)

Ellen

PS Great pics BTW!

Edited by ornate_wrasse, 25 March 2009 - 01:26 PM.

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#14 RWBrooks

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 04:37 PM

Nice work, #1 & #9 are very cool and I reckon with some work what you are trying to acheive with the ripples and reflections will produce that really stunning shot.
Very important to have a relaxed model!
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#15 scott_nielsen

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:41 PM

I think they are great! love number 2, how do you do the reflections for the kissing pics?
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#16 diver dave1

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:49 PM

Love the pics.. thanks for sharing.
When I look at pic 1, I keep wanting more light on the color of her eyes. They appear blue in that photo and if they were bright, I think the photo would 'pop' more.
Just a thought.

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#17 Hani Amir

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 08:22 PM

I like number 9 the best. That one's awesome.

I think the problem with most of the shots here is that they're unbalanced one way or the other. I personally would have taken number 3 and 4 from the other side and from a lower angle with the model in the same post but looking more away from the camera. The elements don't "click". Number 2 seems too centered with the models face right in the middle of the frame. I think lighting her hair a bit more may have made the shots more dramatic as well.

How about using some coloured filters over your strobes for the reflection ones? That might look really cool.

Do you or other people who take stuff like this do a dry run on land before going under? I've always wondered about that.

edit: And in regard to the painting, I think you were trying too much to draw the eye into the pearl. The thing that strikes me most about that painting is the way she has her head turned, her expression and the way the light hits her face.

Edited by Hani Amir, 25 March 2009 - 08:25 PM.