Fire Vase

Fire Vase: Dark Room Photography

Artistically, this was a bit of serendipity. It was late, I had not taken my One Picture a Day yet. I went to my new “assistant,” a strong LED flashlight and the dark room. Not the darkroom, where film is printed, but a room with the lights out where we take photographs with single light sources. Looking around for something translucent, I found this vase in our curio cabinet. I didn’t really pay that much attention to the pattern; the stripes are more of a pale pink in full light. I shined the LED flashlight into the center, held above the vase. The vase is on a black cloth background. When I took the image into Aperture, I discovered a pleasant surprise. The fire theme of the vase really came through. There’s even a hint of flame breaking from the main body at the top right, from the lip of the flared top. In the center, the color intensity is reminiscent of glass heated in the furnace.

In Aperture, I first removed some dust specs that the vase had by using the Retouch tool. Increasing contrast removed any spill of light onto the black background. The next issue was to remove some of the grain; I used a higher ISO of 1600; this grain stood out most on shadows on the lower sections of the colored bands, where the light from within did no penetrate the more opaque glass there. I used the Noise Reduction tool to soften the grain. I also used the Highlights tool’s Shadow setting to reduce those grainy shadows. Even so, there’s a little more shadow and grain that I would work to eliminate during photography.

The photograph was taken in a darkened room. We used our Nikon D90, and one of our favorite budget lenses, the Nikon 18-55mm AF-S VR lens, handheld. A tripod would have allowed me to reduce the ISO and the grain, but I did not have one handy. I’m pleased with the result. I may revisit this one at a future date.

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