A series exploring the conceptual hidden world of embryonic development, each image designed to be "more" than the previous. Though abstract and somewhat prosaic, the intention is to present an aesthetically pleasing pallette with the use of bold colours and contrasting shapes.
What was the inspiration behind the series?
During my time in lockdown I've been looking for ways to stay creative in the home, whilst searching the net for inspiration I stumbled across a blog article by Dan Power published on Photocrowd and was immediately hooked by the potentials of Oil on Water macro photography. The embryonic concept actually came about during the shoot, when some of the images started to remind me of the kind of photos you see of embryo's in their early stages.
How did you go about shooting the images?
After reading the article and watching some YouTube clips for further tips I set out to create the setup in my conservatory - I had two chairs facing each other, between which I placed a sheet of glass (from an old photo frame), and then placed a large glass casserole dish on top of the glass.
My camera was setup on a tripod with two legs on each chair, and the third out the back, so I could point the camera straight down onto the dish. This setup also meant I had some distance between the dish and the backdrop so could experiment with different distances. I started off with a small amount of water in the dish, and poured in some vegetable oil quite loosely, I then very quickly realised it wasn't as easy as it sounded on paper, the oil looked like, well, drops of oil on water - it wasn't the look I was looking for at all.
I went back to the drawing board, and decided to tether my camera to my laptop, doing this meant two things. I would have far better control over the focus of the lens without knocking or moving the camera, and I could see the results on the large screen before shooting and make changes easily. This had an immediate improvement on the images, I realised I had to raise the backdrop to fill the frame, and also realised the camera was casting a large shadow onto the water - so I covered the camera & tripod legs over the top of the dish with a blanket, leaving light to come in under the glass and illuminate the backdrop - making the colour "pop" more.
The rest was pretty simple from there - I just manipulated the oil with a spoon to make the swirls I wanted, and processed the final images in Photoshop to remove some unwanted bubbles
What camera equipment did you use?
I like to keep my kit bag very compact actually - I use the Canon 5D Mk III with the 24-105 f/4 IS L lens, until recently that was the only lens I owned, but I've since invested in a 70-200 f/2.8 IS L III for wedding work. I also use a Manfrotto 290 Xtra tripod (with XPRO Ball Head).
Could you tell us a little about yourself as a photographer?
I've only really been taking photography seriously for a few years and would most definitely describe myself as a "hobbyist", but I like to push the boundaries a bit - for example my twofold series is what I'm most actively working on - the principle is shooting an image and "mirroring" it for a surreal, abstract look - that project is on hold whilst on lockdown though.
My work has been featured in a number of magazines in the UK - including Practical Photography and Amateur Photographer and has been published in various newspapers over the years. I offer one to one workshops and club talks to share my view & passion for photography.
I'm passionate about capturing the beauty of the world we live in and continue to be amazed by how blessed we are by our surroundings.