This picture is perfect because the thing I am photographing is perfect. It’s the poster boy for illustrating the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio, FGS! The only thing I had do was think of ways to show it off. I thought about using sand as a background. Which makes its own perfect kind of sense and if I had taken it down that creative path, I’m sure would have been equally pleasing. But, my first thought about it was that I wanted to make the background dark to create a visual contrast between subjects. I tried dark and black sheets of paper, black velvet and this bile of black pebbles.
The other reason I wanted black was to eliminate any shadows from the shell that fell onto the background. I didn’t want to distract from the lines of the shell, itself, and the lines inside, as well. I wanted it to look like one of those photorealistic images that were drawn with a pencil.
The entire thing was shot in my studio when I lived in Boulder, Colorado. I used a Rembrandt lighting setup. I positioned one umbrella high and to the left. The soft light worked perfectly to show the simple, spectacular shell and nothing else, save the background, but that is easily dismissed in comparison against the magnitude of the shell’s elegant sophistication. Yet, it still has enough of a presence to make your eye go back and forth easily.
Notice, on the right side and bottom how the lighting has made the lighter highlights to disappear. Watch your eye as it moves from left to right and see how, once it gets to the bottom edge of the shell, it falls into a dark hole.
It was tricky getting the highlights on the pebbles the right shade of gray. It’s hard to tell that they even are pebbles. I wanted it to be hard for the viewer to know what they were even looking at. From another perspective the whole thing could be floating through an asteroid field in space.
Now, you should know that, while I was taking this picture and playing with the rocks, that I didn’t think about all those things I just told you, not even once. I was way too busy being way into it. When you are playing, you are just playing, you’re not thinking about how to play. It’s simple. As simple as a Fibonacci Sequence.
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