Partly because I love getting interesting stuff in the mail, I signed up for Canon’s Photo5 competition this year. For those who haven’t seen it before, participants are sent a little brown box with various items that need to be used in photographs according to 5 different briefs. This year’s briefs used an eyedropper (for a closeup), confetti (for motion), bubblegum (for a portrait), incense (for a black and white shot), and a really annoying sound file (for a photo inspired by the sound). My dabbling in photography so far has been mainly portraits and landscapes without much direction in mind, so this was a pretty big challenge for me! So here’s what I came up with:
I decided to attempt a macro for this one, despite the fact that I lack a macro lens. Instead I taped my 18-55mm lens onto my camera backwards and worked with that.
The result is the ability to get really close up, with a very very shallow depth of field – which is probably why my shots came out somewhat unfocused. I played around with various liquids before settling on using a wineglass with some oil, balsamic vinegar and washing detergent dripped into it. Not the most creative entry for this brief, but I think the reverse lens macro is something I’ll have to play around with again sometime!
I had various ideas for this one, mostly involving people blowing bubbles, but balked at the idea when I saw how many people were doing the same thing with much better execution than I’d manage! After playing around with some self portraits and unsuccessful attempts to blow bubbles (never managed it, even as a kid… and the stuff is so disgusting!) I settled on a concept that covered most of my face and didn’t require me to chew the stuff anymore.
I wish I’d taken a photo of my setup – it involved gum stuck to the underside of our coffee table, me leaning right over the table quickly pressing the remote then posing, my camera sitting on a precarious assortment of boxes and books, flash wired and pointed at my face from bottom left. Good times.
#3: Incense/Black & White
Smoke photography is so interesting! I followed this tutorial and took hundreds of shots before deciding on the final one. Lacking some of the necessary equipment (such as a light stand and snoot) I had to do a bit of ghetto improvisation – and was surprised by how well it worked! The smoke makes lots of interesting shapes, but I wanted to use the curves of the smoke to create a feminine figure, a genie. I took an image that I could sort of see the figure in and manipulated and painted bits in Photoshop to get the effect I was after. I think is my favourite of the five final submissions.
As Canon decided to give me a tiny packet of offcuts for the confetti theme, I ended up hand punching hundreds of little circles out of blue tissue. It worked out well in the end though, as I wanted to give the effect of falling rain or snow, with the clay mouse taking shelter under a clay mushroom. My original idea was to do this shot out on some grass, but lacking a backyard or the desire to clean up tons of confetti outside I settled for using a fleece blanket as a backdrop. This one took quite a few shots and a bit of mashing up in Photoshop as I had some trouble with the timing, but it got there in the end. I’m still finding random pieces of confetti around my apartment.
#5: Inspired by Sound
Okay, I admit my entry for this brief sucks because I was not inspired at all by the sound, and just wanted to get something up there so I could say I completed all the briefs. I went straight for the obvious and the easy – that is, associating the noise to falling and gravity. This is the same apple held up with clear thread and photographed in different positions
Considering I usually do cosplay portraits and holiday happy snaps, this contest was definitely a welcome challenge for me. Definitely entering next year! The finalists are up if you want to get your vote in.