Piano grain

Piano Grain

Wood grain is a very beautiful subject for photography. We have a little acoustic piano that was relatively inexpensive when new. It would generate a scoff from a piano appraiser today. However, they made things better in the old days. Despite the lackluster innards, it has a beautifully finished wood cabinet. Today’s One Picture a Day is a tribute to that finish. By the way, this picture is posted late due to a computer issue, but it was taken on the appropriate day to keep our one picture a day streak alive.

The technique for this one was very simple. I used a Nikon D90 with out trusty cheap Nikon 18-55mm AF-S VR. I also used a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight. I placed a diffuser on the Speedlight made from a rubbing alcohol bottle. This is a glossy surface, so one must be careful to avoid reflections from the strobe flash. The Speedlight was directed at the ceiling with the diffuser in place. We were very close to the subject, too, which increases reflections. The final step, then, to overcome these reflection issues was to dial back the strength of the flash two stops. This was after some trial and error made possible by the preview screen on the Nikon D90 camera. Digital makes it so much easier to play with settings on the fly, and not have to wait for a roll of film to come back to learn you had it right–or wrong.

The piano is a Gulbransen Pinafore, a tiny spinet made for the small living rooms of the workaday household of the 1950s.