Composition and Lighting Tip from Digital Photo Academy Instructor Don Peters

Last month, we started highlighting images, tips and insights from instructors at Digital Photo Academy (DPA). This month, we’re highlighting an image from Photographer Don Peters, one of the 100+ instructors at DPA. Don is based in Chicago as well as Orlando (generally during the winter months). This photo definitely reminds me of the colors I often see when visiting the amazing theme parks located in and around Orlando.

photo © Donald Peters, All Rights Reserved (click for a larger version)

“My mantra, in my Composition in the Field Classes for DPA, is to look for color, shape, texture, pattern, line, form….etc.   This in-studio composition of a simple array of colored pencils gave me an opportunity to explore several of these elements.  Using close-up extension tubes, mounted between my camera and lens, I was able to focus very closely on my composition of the pencil tips.  Using a goose-neck desk lamp was all the illumination needed for this on-tripod exposure, and I was able to move the lamp around to try various pleasing light angles to create shadow and best show off the texture of the shaved wood.   Because the lamp I used had an incandescent bulb, I adjusted the white balance setting in my camera to overcome the “yellow” cast of the bulb and make the subject appear more natural.”

Technical Information:
Camera: Nikon D300 on a tripod with cable release
Lens: Tamron 90mm, 1:1 macro
Kenko 50 mm extension tube
Aperture: f/11
Shutter speed: 1/150
ISO: 200

Lighting: Simple goose-neck desk lamp with incandescent bulb, about 45 degrees left of the subject, which cast some shadow on the right side of each pencil, to portray the form of the curved objects.

The front of the lens was about 4” from the pencils for this image.

You can learn more about Don, and find some of his other images on the Digital Photo Academy site by visiting this page.