Monday, March 31, 2014

"Slides" of Sabbatical Work

The last few days have been fairly productive. Not only did I clean my studio and work on finishing one last sabbatical piece, I also had a chance to take "slides" of my work.

my photography setup
To take slides I get up at dawn (literally) and set up a table and a large roll of grey photography paper as a backdrop. I like to start taking slides at sunrise when the light is softest. By the middle of the day, when the sun is overhead, the shadows are too harsh and the slides don't look as nice.

sabbatical work (wall hanging or free-standing)
I set up my camera on a tripod and take a series of pictures of a whole bunch of works one after another. This weekend I took pictures on Saturday and on Sunday. Saturday's pictures are not as nice, probably because I was tired and in a rush. I wasn't planning to take images on Sunday, but there were some awful images from Saturday that needed to be redone and I didn't get all the work photographed.

sabbatical work (wall hanging or free-standing)
The goal with these pictures is to force the viewer to focus only on the artwork, making the background boring, so as not to distract from the subject. If I've got the camera settings right, the background is grey and smooth and without folds, shadows or an obvious horizon line. Some of my backgrounds look blue, either because I was sloppy or because I need photography tutoring.

sabbatical work (wall hanging or free-standing)
The most important factor is that my images are in focus, clear and accurately colored. I try to close down the aperture of the camera and increase the f-stop to increase the depth of field in my images so that most of the sculpture is in focus. The amount of sunlight and wind obviously impacts how well I can do this. The best quality images allow me to share my work more effectively and apply to exhibitions. I have been delaying some applications, in part, because I didn't like my images.

"Scylla Bionica" 2013
Taking good images of my tall pieces and my piece that overhangs the edge was an added challenge this time around. I was actually fairly happy with my earlier photos of the Cerberus piece in the gallery. I can't really see a way around including an edge in this piece since it needs to sit on a raised surface so that the chains hang down.

"Cerberus" 2014
The tallest pieces were too tall for my usual table setup, so I laid down a folded card table on the ground (the ground was damp) and set up the pieces on that, lowering my tripod accordingly.

"Cephalotus Prosthesia" 2013
At the end of Saturday my hands were freezing and my camera battery was dead so I gave up and went in to warm up and sulk. (I wasn't happy with many of my images).

"Pedal/Petal" 2013
On Sunday I must have gotten more sleep because I had a better day taking images. I retook the bad ones and even took some images of olders works that had gotten missed over the years.

bike wheel with an alternate base (neither the base I planned to use, nor the one I will use)

I also started to take images of my latest piece, but realized I had made a major planning error. The base with the bike wheel on it is top heavy and wobbly, causing it to fall over. After fretting a while and taking some make-shift images, I decided to turn one piece into two. The epoxy is now drying, so I'll be able to share images in a few days.

unfinished base for what was going to be a bike wheel piece
If you'd like to see my sabbatical work in person (and probably the two pieces that are being epoxied right now), visit Oak Hollow Gallery in Yakima between April 8 and May 3. And join me for the artists reception on April 12 from 2-4pm. 

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