404 Camera: metal over matt


When I began working in the web design one of the first things I decided was that I wanted my own 404 page (here). It makes a great help for people visiting your page, if they misspell an URL you can guide them with a site map or search box. At a grapic level a camera with no film seemed a good choice for a photography 404, so I took one my most beautiful cameras (thanks Esti) and started working.

The main trick with this photograph was because of the object´s different surfaces, having to light the metal and the matt parts in just one shot.

Let´s begin with the easiest part. The matt surfaces were lit with a strobe on the left, you can figure its exact position looking at the shadow in the lower left part of the camera body. The reflectors placed to lit the metal (later) did the rest, filling the harsh shadows that this strobe made.
The background is illuminated by two strobes, one on each side, giving a meter reading two stops higher than the other source and keeping the whole background white.


And now the metal. The metal is not illuminated, that simple. It doesn´t matter how much you try to light the metal, it will always look the same. You have to light the surfaces reflecting on it: if it gets light from an angle that makes light bounce back to your camera it will appear illuminated, and if not, well… nope. In this case I used the light reflected from the background sending it back to the object with two reflectors, one each side of the camera, in an almost perpendicular angle. With this setting I still had a tiny little problem, the back part of the camera made part of the metal to appear dark, so I putted a small piece of paper, used as a tiny reflector, hidden behind it (white square on the diagram).

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