table top



Title: “Copper Fire, v.7, Edit C”. Series: COSMETICS AS ART Creation Year: 2007. Copyright 2007 Nawfal Johnson.  All Rights Reserved. Penang, Malaysia.

EGG in White Bowls Study, No1, Edit B

A photographic study of raw eggs in white bowls. Just something I wanted to do for awhile and finally took some time to do it.

Uploaded by Metal Rain on 22 May 10, 8.38PM MYT.

Many Colors, v.1, Edit B

Many Colors, v.1, Edit B

ESTEE LAUDER Cosmetics Case and crayon shavings.

Uploaded by BEHIND the LENS with Nawfal Nur on 27 Jan 09, 12.52PM MYT.

This is a One-Light Setup: A technique of lighting that I prefer if possible.

I can fully respect Photographers who use a truckload of lighting gear to get a shot, to light and fill 15 people for an Ad Shot at a Bar, or something.  Nevertheless, when it is just for me, for my portfolio, and going Macro, NOT getting too complicated with lighting allows me to put a single light (or two lights) strategically where I need them to get the look I want.

I like graduated shadowy areas in my shots; the shadows give a certain amount of atmosphere to a shot making it have depth, show texture, and express the interest that I want.

For this shot, an ESTEE LAUDER Cosmetics Case is the main subject, and Crayola Crayon shavings in the foreground provide a colorful filler.

A single VIVITAR 2800 THYRISTER Flash (left of camera) was used with a DIY Light Modifier (Silver), and a single white Styrofoam board (opposite).

I’ve had this VIVITAR flash for YEARS…at least as long as I’ve lived in Malaysia, and that is 15-years. On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “poor” and 5 being “OUTStanding!” – I’d give the 2800 a BIG 4.5!

.5 of a point taken off for NO Swivel.

The refresh rate on rechargeable batteries  is good and this flash unit is sensitive to my remote firing system…MUCH better than the Canon Speedlite I have, which seems to need much more battery power to trigger.  My Canon Speedlite works best with NON-rechargeable batteries.

My favorite small flash unit, however, is made by METZ! My 32-Z2 is my all-time favorite flash unit. Nevertheless, I made my DIY Flash Modifier specifically for the 2800 unit, the one used for this photograph.

Over all, I like this single, small setup for Macro, Still Life Photography: It sets up fast, easily transportable, low power to run and can be moved in and out quickly and effectively for good end results.

Happy Shooting!

And, to my Chinese friends and readers, “Gong Xi Fa Chi!” Happy New Year!

By the Way…If anyone wants to give me “Ang Pao” (Red Packet), then I will graciously and humbly accept, OK!


VITA LIFT, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Men’s Products.
Still Life.
Table Top.

Fine Art.

Uploaded by fine-grain on 17 Apr 08, 2.50PM MYT.

Well, it’s not the typical white background macro-product-personal-care shot that you usually see on the walls in the Cosmetics Department at the Mall.

I guess, it wasn’t meant for that type of setting. As I’ve mentioned before (maybe more times than I know), I tend to approach all my macro work from an Art Photography slant. I like manipulating color and perspective and interpreting the subject in my own way. Maybe 70% of my shots (like this) are initiated because I like the shape and color of the subject. I want to see what I can creatively do with it to get an image.

I also don’t have the ‘fantastic equipment‘ that the Product Shooters have. So there! Cat’s out of the bag! Well, actually, I have five cats and they can’t all fit in my camera bag, but maybe one or two. Nevertheless, they are out of the bag.

Not often do I mention the equipment used to make a shot. However, I guess if you are a viewer who likes this shot, you may enjoy knowing that a ‘halfway decent‘ product-style shot, can be made with minimal equipment.

I used my Canon Powershot A620 Camera.
1 – SYSTEMS IMAGING 600-Watt Studio Flash with BOWENS Snoot.
1 – VIVITAR Macroflash.

Of course, a DSLR would offer more options, more flexibility, more details, more resolution and better dynamic range; but, if you want to be a better Photographer, you can’t wait for the “dream camera” to magically appear before you begin working and practicing.  You need to work with the tools you have. The “dream camera” will come later.

At the present, I’m making images and applying the same methodology used by a Paleontologist with a toothbrush in hand, delicately clearing debris from tiny fossils preserved in sandstone. In other words, basically using less sophisticated equipment by necessity, but getting decent results.

So, get out there and practice. Use the tools you have. Develop your skills, and better things will surely come your way.


Tie Painting v.5-B

Tie Painting v.5-B, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Painted Tie Painting.
Still Life Photography.
Abstract Expressionism Painting.

This is a photograph that “ties” (no pun intended) together my liking for Still Life Photography and Abstract Expressionism Painting. This photograph is also one of the few, first images I’ve edited with Paint Shop Pro’s new program, X2.

I may be an anomaly in the general scope of photography, but I really do prefer Paint Shop Pro over Photo Shop.

The key, however, is still to create the best photograph possible in the camera. If the end results of the “camera-creation” are poor; then the end results after editing with software will be nowhere near what they could have been.

I fiddle around a lot with positioning lighting and moving subject and tripod around. I take many photos until I get approximately the image that I need with dark blacks and details still in the highlights; and also, I attempt to get a fairly decent gradation between the extremes. If I have to take my soft-box’ed studio flash off the light stand, and then hand hold it to get my ideal lighting, then I’ll do it. In fact, that’s what I had to do with this image: the lighting was too uneven when the light was sitting on the light stand.

Whatever it takes – do it.

Of course, this final result was a matter of experimentation, of adventure and creating change. And of course, help from X2.

Sometimes, I don’t really know what the final image will look like until I see it. You often hear photographers saying that they have an image in their mind and then work on the photograph to get it to nearly match their mind’s eye. I do that sometimes; however, more times than not (lately), I’m not sure what the final image is going to look like. I work with the image until I have that, “Ah Ha!” moment.

Then, I stop.