Shutterbug @ home

Shutterbug @ home

Shuttered and nowhere to go? Click this opportunity, don’t let this crisis pass, suggests Hema Narayanan

Lockdown is a current reality, but we know this is temporary and soon, this too shall pass. In a recently published feature in a news daily, Dr Arthur C Brooks, a Harvard professor was asked about his view of whether the lockdown will make us re-examine the things that make us happy.

He had said, “‘The lockdown affects different people in different ways. Some are just trying to get through it, others are noticing that the lockdown while not what we had hoped for, provide opportunities for personal growth. Time has slowed down, but it is important not to let this opportunity pass…” So why not, use this time in stimulating ways — to try something afresh, to learn, to create or just do something for fun. Become a shutterbug at home? Photography is one such engrossing pastime to
try during lockdown, irrespective of if you are into photography or not.

Celestial
Celestial

Photography, for one, gives an instant feel-good factor when you see the outcome, ‘Your Photograph.’ It is recreational and a great tool to keep your mind engaged, to kick in some creativity through your visualisations and importantly, a very effective stress-buster, which is much needed today. And what if it develops as your interest and into a hobby, if not already? Use any camera available (DSLR, semi-automatic or your mobile phone camera).

What to shoot? Well, you can start with pretty much anything at home. Framing your garden flowers each morning, birds visiting you, colours, contrasts, patterns or even your home itself. This is an appropriate time to create everlasting family portraits or for trying your hand creatively at food photography (your cooked delicacies framed exquisitely). For the more adventurous seeking challenges, go spot interesting
knick-knacks and subjects in your home and don your experimenting hat. The outcomes may surprise you, just like they surprised me. From crystal glasses, cheese graters, pen springs to cookies to light painting, I tried them all. Like any craft, practice makes us better, but here I wish to share a few techniques for you to attempt.

Incredible India
Incredible India

Oil on water

What patterns do oil or soap liquid make when they spread on water? 

Basic ingredients: Moderate sized glass dish/ plate, olive or similar oil, colourful backdrop (anything from a chart paper, paperbacks to a colourful carpet), a low table, washing-up liquid, dropper and creativity. For lighting, it’s good to have flash but if not, use natural window side lighting at the right times. Even a lit reading lamp and cell phone light are good add-ons to illuminate the patterns on water. Frame the scene as the oil spreads making unpredictable patterns. (Optional, but good to have: Macro lens and tripod)

Contours
Contours

Glassware

Can kitchen glassware, be it a flute, wine or drinking glass, become the hero of your image?

Basic ingredients: Transparent clean crystal glasses (of any kind), white and/or black backdrop, colourless acrylic sheet or any reflective surface at the bottom on which glass can be placed. While the photograph, ‘Incredible India’ was shot using Bright Field lighting technique (lighting is from the front bouncing off the white backdrop), ‘Contours’ was conceptulised using Dark Field lighting technique, where lighting is from the back of the black backdrop.

Texas Tornado
Texas Tornado

Low key

Next, out of my kitchen came the white coffee mugs, to be shot as Low-key images. Low-key photos contain predominantly dark tones and colours, creating striking contrasts through reduced lighting). Tad bit tricky for a novice and the experienced, yet a technique that brings about a drama in your image. From the
couple of maiden attempts I made, I understand that it is all about illumination and elimination.

Basic ingredients: Anything white (mugs, glass, bowls) against a black backdrop, sugar (or white granules) or coloured lentils and lighting (flash preferable or window). I will leave you with ‘Texas Tornado’, a Painting with Light technique, created with an empty bottle, a torchlight and a long exposure. Become a shutterbug at home to bedazzle and de-stress yourself during the lockdown.