Last year my wife and I took a friend who was visiting from Texas to the Museum of Glass for the afternoon. At the end of the visit we stopped in the Museum’s gift shop and picked up a number of items, including a blown glass humpback whale. Once we came home we looked around and found the perfect place in our bedroom to hang the whale. I’ve looked at this whale since then trying to determine the best way to take a photo that would highlight the perfection of the whale. This weekend my wife mentioned that I hadn’t taken the picture yet and she would like one this weekend.
I thought about how to take the photograph and soon came up with a strategy that I believed would do the whale justice in the photo. The room is not large and is located on the north side and, as you can imagine, there’s not enough natural light that would suffice. Additionally, the wall on one side is a patterned wallpaper which would not work. The wall directly behind the whale would be the best as it was painted blue which would be perfect for the shot. The last obstacle was a very limited field of view that had to be considered to ensure the patterned wallpaper to the left was not included.
As there was insufficient natural light, I had to use the only light available which was a lamp almost directly under the whale. The lamp was extremely bright so I placed four layers of bubble wrap over the top of the shade to dim the light so the whale wouldn’t be washed out.
A handheld shot was out of the question so I had to use the tripod. As the room wasn’t wide enough for a tripod to stand securely on the floor (all three legs), I ended up with only one leg on the floor and the other two legs on the bed. Sounds strange but it worked, albeit a very shaky solution. I had enough distance for a bit more than minimum focusing with the 80-200 which was all I needed.
I set the tripod in place, attached the Df with the 80-200, set the aperture for f22, waited a few minutes for the camera setup to settle, and then exposed the image for 35 seconds – a magic combination.
When I do close up work, I find the Nikon Df is perfect for two primary reasons: first, locking the mirror up is a painless selection as the Mirror Up function is as part of the Release Mode settings (single, continuous [low and high selection], quite mode, timer, and mirror-up) located next to the shutter release; and two, the shutter release is threaded to allow use of my old school shutter release cable. Without these two capabilities, this shot would have been even more difficult that it was.
And, yes, my wife liked the image very much!!!
Without further adieu, the Glass Humpback Whale…(it almost has a 3D look)