Ceramic lotus pod lamp by Deb Taylor at littlewhitedish.com.au

Back in January (2014) I ordered my first custom made ceramic gift for someone very special, designed and made by Deb Taylor (aka littlewhitedish.com.au ). We can say that the gift was very well received. Fast forward to the present (August), Deb asked me to photograph her new line of lamps, The Podcasts, modeled after a lotus seed pod. The design is based on a winning functional sculpture at The Hunters Hill Art Prize 2014 ( huntershillarts.com/gallery/2014/Selected-Works/9894-original ). To me this is one of those moments where life comes full circle.

More information can be found one Deb's website ( http://littlewhitedish.com.au/lighting.html ).

The album should give Deb a good amount of high quality images to pick and choose from for developing promotional material. Here are my favourites. I think they are quite beautiful but that's no surprise.

If you are curious about the setup, here is how it was shot. As Deb already had a variety of DIY pics, and a planned outdoor shoot, I had two ideas to bring to the table. They were, to shoot it as a sculpture as it is a sculpture prize winner, and then as a lamp as that is the main purpose and prospective buyers need to be inspired appropriately.

Photographing as the pods as sculptures, was fairly straightforward. What is not shown above is that I had a softbox on each side, set to full power, pointed at the white paper background. Also not shown is me experimenting with a speedlight to highlight features. Later I noticed that my perspex sheet has accumulated quite a few scratches. This is usually not a problem under more direct light, but in this case shallow angles bring out shadows. Consequently I had to do a bit more retouching. A new takeway from this shoot was finding out about the magenta issue that causes a faint pinkishness instead of 255 white, even after automatic highlight reconstruction, but this was easy to fix with calibrated and saved color curves applied to each image consistently.

With the lamp turned on and needing to capture enough light, this was the next challenge. At ISO50 and f11, the speed had to come down to about 1/5s, so it was important to wait for the pendulum motion to stop before shooting. With a speedlight for background effect and playing with the whitebalance, we got a nice dusky sky look. Later, with the perspex sheet fully illuminated by two softbox strobes behind it, we got our flawless white background look.

Over the next weekend a photo made it to the SMH newspaper.