What can you do with a twig and aluminum foil?

By Ellen Bedrosian

While cleaning up my flower beds after a storm, I found a couple of twigs that had interesting lines and shapes. I studied them at various angles and decided to set up my own photo challenge: How many images can I make from these twigs?

Bokeh Twig

Bokeh Twig

From that initial thought, I began to think about background. Also, how I would position the twig in the most advantageous angle? And most importantly, how would I light it?

One of the greatest benefits of belonging to Teaneck Camera Club (or any camera club for that matter) is having a plethora of friends to bump ideas off of. And, if you’re really lucky, one of these friends might even have studio lighting and a lens you can borrow.

My vision was a selective focus creation, technically beyond the limits of my 18-55mm lens, so TCC member Sean Rhinehart lent me his 50mm lens where I could stop down to 1.8 instead of 3.5. Using his Alien Bee 400 strobe as my light source, he used a gray card to get the correct exposure.

Next I experimented using different backgrounds. White was a failure but black had possibilities. I experimented with various elements of the twig to be the focus point. But nothing really matched the image I had in my imagination.

Then we crumpled up a sheet of aluminum foil and carefully reopened it. I’d read about this technique to create a bokeh effect and we decided to give it a whirl. Every single change in the position of my camera created a completely different lighting pattern.

Next I used a spray bottle to create some water droplets. Each spray created a myriad of different droplet formations to shoot.

Once I started processing the images in Photoshop, I decided to add a color filter to the bokeh effect. With so many options, it was really hard for me to pick just one I liked the best to feature for this post.

You can view all of the different variations on my Flickr account. Except for the first image, none of them have been processed. That’s a project waiting for a cold, winter evening.




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