Bringing autumn into the studio

As the wheel of the year slowly turns, autumn is my favorite season during that cyclical journey. The drop in temperatures, the clearness of deep blue skies, the changing leaf colors, the rustle of falling leaves and their musty smell when kicked under foot; all these descriptors fascinate me and some times I attempt to bring these sensations into the studio.

Fortunately for me, I have a project in my advanced studio photography that challenges my students to create scenes in the studio that could be perceived as having been photographed outdoors on location. Not only do we need to consider appropriate subject matter, but also we need to give attention to the details of props, backgrounds, and most importantly, the lighting. All these elements should work in concert to recreate a believable fluid outdoor environment inside the controlled parameters of the studio.

This past week I demonstrated to my advanced studio class techniques to control the mixing of various Kelvin temperatures of light sources to help achieve the believability of an outside/inside shot. I included natural elements as part of my supporting props to help create the sense of being outside. After the class demo was completed, I remained in the studio another hour and kept fine-tuning the shot. It was a short period of involvement that allowed me to slip into the creative right-brain mode of working and to forget about daily problems, schedules, dinner, and all the mundane minutiae of life. Photography therefore, can function as a catalyst for not only our visual pleasure, but in some instances, for all our sensual encounters, whether in the studio or out in the environment.

Below is a simple still-life shot from my class demo, followed by a similar shot produced the prior year for the same assignment.

"Harvest table, Autumn 2011" © Terry Ownby. Lighting demo for my advanced studio class using mixed Kelvin temperatures.

Behind the scenes of "Harvest table, 2011." © Terry Ownby.

"Harvest table, Autumn 2010" © Terry Ownby.

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6 comments

  1. This is a great post, Dr. T! You know, I’m over here still in summer temps- your descriptors yanked me right back to mid-west autumn. By the time I scrolled to see the cool shades of the scene I literally had a split-second chilly shiver run down my side. Very well done. It also put me back on the 9th floor of AIC for a moment. Thanks for sharing.
    And thanks for the BTS shot. Photogs always appreciate a good peek behind the curtain.
    You should really consider duplicating this onto G+.

    1. Chad, I’m glad I could give you some momentary “relief” from the China heat! I thought I had posted it to Google + but I guess I did something wrong. I’m still trying to figure it out!

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