Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feb. 28, 2008: Gummy Bear Zen Masters

A couple of nights ago I was just looking through random groups on Flickr and came a cross a really bad photo of some gummy bears. There was also a guy who had done a 365-day project on gummy bears. When he got to the point where he was sticking gummy bears in his belly button, I knew the project was going downhill.

After doing a little more poking around, I discovered there was a Flickr group dedicated to gummy bear photography. Initially, I thought this was an asinine idea. But, the more I thought about it, I realized it was a really whimsical thing to do. I really need to add more whimsical ideas to my photography to expand my skills, so I decided to try it.

I came up with an idea to put some gummy bears in my tabletop zen garden. I decide to use an odd lighting source, so I headed to Dollar General and bought a bunch of tea candles. The gummy bears proved harder to find. I finally tracked down a 1-pound package at Wal-Mart after trying to avoid going there by stopping at about 8 convenience stores.

Once I had everything together I cobbled together some lighting support from old Maxim magazines and paperbacks from my bookshelf. The image above shows the really crude setup I used. I lit the scene with 13 tea candles. Initially I tried reflecting the candle light back onto the zen garden with the white plastic behind the chair on the left. But, that made the overall lighting too even, so I didn't get the shadows in the sand that I wanted.

On Feb. 27 I did some test shooting on this.

After an hour or so of playing around with combinations of candle light, I came up with the shot at the top of the post. I got the lighting to a point where the detail in the gummy bear came out, but, I didn't like the irregularity of the lines in the sand.

So on Feb. 28, 2008, I made some more "rakes" out of chopsticks, butcher's twine, masking tape and plastic forks. Those are shown in front of the zen garden in the photograph. I experimented with getting clean lines today. I hope to shoot some more gummy bears in the next couple of days. There are a few more details I want to work out to make everything come together.

The shot above is a whimsical interpretation of the Illuminati. I drew off lines in the sand to represent the Masonic compass and used the gummy bears to form the angle finder that completes the most well know Masonic symbol.


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