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Photographing Glass

The latest, greatest challenge in my advanced techniques class is photographing shiny things, or more specifically, shiny, reflective metal and glass. We worked in teams with a classmate again for this assignment; my partner tackled metal and it was left up to me to come up with a concept for glass. Beyond the fun technical puzzles of controlling reflections and glare though, one of the toughest part of this for me was coming up with that damn "concept".

I've collected colored glass decanters for years now and my first thought was how lovely they'd be to photographs, but the idea suffered from the fact that they really weren't much more than pretty. They didn't say anything.blenko2blenko1
blenko3I took pictures of my beloved collection anyway, but also worked on a concept built around hot chocolate made with chili peppers. (Really, it's actually quite tasty.) The main appeal of this idea was that it gave me the chance to set stuff on fire.

Initially, my styling set-up was just too cluttered, then I needed to come up with a solution for blocking the light that left the whipped cream overexposed

I felt like I was getting closer to something that would work once I traded out my black ceramic mug for a clear one that would show off the actual hot cocoa inside it, but got discouraged when both my project partner and my TA (who would be grading the thing) showed a marked lack of enthusiasm for the idea.chili_chocolate
A weekend in St Louis gave me some more time to brainstorm and I came up with the editorial idea: "Grapes Go Green" which would involve creating a photo illustration about organic wines. I also had the germ of an idea involving key limes contrasting with regular-size limes, but not much beyond that.
organic_winesThe organic wine idea, while pricier than I would have liked, turned out quite nicely and gave me a chance to practice some of the glass/solid-object lighting combos we'd learned, but sadly, it was just really, really boring. Jack and I will still drink the wine, so it's not a total wash, but the idea that finally floated to the surface came to me on the drive back from St. Louis right before my final stint in the studio.
I'll remain a little mysterious about how I did it, but after an ungodly number of hours working on this and even more just thinking about it, this is what I finally came up with. I don't know how much of an editorial "concept" it really has, but at least it's fun.
Better known for their tart contribution to cream pies, Florida Key Limes can also shake up spring cocktails with a tangy citrus kick, as shown here in a photo illustration taken on March 2, 2009.


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