A combination of an hour to spare, a large handful of pencils and an idea for using my fish-eye lens gave me the inspiration for the following shoot.
I’ve been hatching a plan to do some photography with a load of pencils I got recently. I knew that I wanted make a simple graphic image showing some pencils splayed out like the petals of a flower and I wanted a simple background. The solution to my problem was a mug, a couple of sheets of mount board and fish-eye lens.
The process for this shoot was to prepare my subject by literally putting the pencils in the mug and allowing them to fall to the sides. Because of the number of pencils and the size of the mug I knew the pencils wouldn’t tip very much but I was keen to get an even spacing so several “shakes” were required to get the pencils even. To get the simple graphic image I wanted I knew the secret would be to use a strong coloured background, so I used a number of sheets of mount board to achieve this. Finally I wanted some directionality to the light, but I didn’t want any strong shadows so the solution was to use a softbox about 12″ above the pencils.
Since I would be working a close range (the camera was only a matter of 1″ or 2″ above the pencils) in order to get a large depth of field is selected my fish-eye lens, chose a mid aperture. I then held the camera directly above the pencils and took my shot. Since I wasn’t looking through the view finder I needed to take several shots to ensure that I got the pencils squarely in the centre of the frame. Having perfected the technique it was then just a matter of repeating the process with different backgrounds and with the pencils both “point up” and “rubber up”. As I shot I experimented with a few shots as a slight angle and placing the subject at different points in the frame.
Here are my results;
Which one do you think works best? My personal favourite is the first one with the points of the pencils and the contrasting blue background, but I also really like the yellow one for the bright colours.
If you’d like to use these images please contact me, regarding licensing.