Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pipes and Photography

Inspired by the work of Greg Pease, as well as the very supportive Photography group on Smokers Forums, I've begun to dip my lens into the pool of pipe photography. Having focused so long (pun intended) on landscape photography, it's been a difficult transition to still life subjects.

Actually, the transition began out of necessity. My wife Paula began a jewelry business about a year ago and needed photographs for her website. She gave me a light tent and a bunch of the associated accessories last year at Christmas, as a little nudge to have me get going on the photography. I stumbled quite a bit learning to photograph the intricate pieces of jewelry she was creating, but learned a lot about lighting, shadowing, depth and composition.

In between jewelry shoots, I began photographing pipes from my collection. I haven't advanced very far in it, but it brings another facet of my hobby to the fore. I still have a lot to learn about staging and the always-present lighting challenges, but I'm making incremental progress. Avoiding hotspots is paramount, and can be difficult especially with a smooth finish pipe. At the same time, smooth gradations in tone give the image modeling and depth. Otherwise, it just looks flat and unappealing.

I'd love to experiment with photographing a subject, probably me in a self-portrait, lighting a pipe. Hmm...wonder if Paula would know I was smoking in the house!

- Bob

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