The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “Antique


I finally finished it. Getting back to still life with as little as I’ve shot since last summer (and such a small percentage of that planned table top) means I’m rusty right now. I have to make myself do this. The joy and fluency will return as I keep at it. But enough of my inner frustrated artist.

When I hear or read the word dictionary, this is what comes to mind:

The big, red dictionary was once my Uncle’s. I don’t know how it got to us, but whenever my Mom told me to look something up in the dictionary, this was the book I picked up. We had other dictionaries, but this was The Dictionary. Mom let me take it with me when I moved out.

I’m not language crazy by any stretch of the imagination, but an old dictionary just has some kind of venerable aura about it. When I find one, I want it. This one from the 1950s was thrift-store find last fall. With its pinkish cover, letter tabs, and gold-edged pages, it almost looks like a Bible.


Not all dictionaries are venerable tomes though. I found this pocket dictionary at a library book sale a few years back. The writing in the front cover tells me a teen girl owned it back in the 1940s.


Next Time: Observatory

Speaking of old and venerable, I spent yesterday at an observatory constructed in 1895. In the early 1920s, it was such a big deal in astronomy and astrophysics that Albert Einstein himself visited it.



Classic Car Museum

I visited a classic car museum with the photo club a few weeks ago. Lots of cool old cars! Unfortunately, there were also a lot of reflections and mixed lighting. I used a tripod and tried to find shots where the reflections were minimal, neutral in color, or worked with the subject. It was good to get out and spend the day appreciating man-made beauty, but I hope I’ll be seeing some nature soon.







Next Time: I should finish those dictionaries.

Lightning Rods

A few weeks ago, I was at my grandma’s house for a family party. Looking for something to photograph, I happened to glance up at her roof and see the lightning rods. I had forgotten they survived the great re-roofing of 97 and were still standing proudly on the tall old house.





Next Time: Fall Nature or Fall Objects

The season is here. No more denying it.

The Antique Phone: My Photographic Nemesis

I finally got around to photographing the old phone last week. It’s not the first time I’ve tried. Something always seems to go wrong with this phone. I’m not sure why it’s such a challenging subject for me. Anyway, it seems like I’m improving.

Here is my most recent attempt at a long shot of the phone. As you can see, it’s quite the phone. My aunt had it for years, and when she got rid of it, my mother took it. Mom says it is a “French” phone. She doesn’t use it, but she’s pretty sure it still works. Needless to say, I am under some pressure to get a landline so I can use the phone.


It might take me a while to get comfortable using this: a dial. Never had a phone with a dial. I have a guess as to how it would work, but my parents might have to give me lessons.


Next Time: Nature

Depending on the weather and my travel plans, it will be either parks or abstract nature.


Last week, I set out to photograph the entirety of some vases from my collection. I started by photographing the light-colored ones against a white background. Since I don’t have lights, I used a large window. Lack of lighting control resulted in an unevenly illuminated background, which was corrected in Photoshop. I went through the trouble of making an effort to do it in camera for two reasons. 1) It’s a challenge. 2) The closer you get it in camera, the easier it is to fix in post anyway. I started with a white vase on the white background for practice shooting white on white. 

Up next, my favorite pink vase. Although transparent, it has a beautiful iridescent coating on it. Charming, but tough to get on camera right.

The last vase I shot against white was an antique I got from my grandmother. Sadly, this vase bears the marks of wear. I love the shape and colors, though.  


Next, I moved on to the black background, partly for the sake of doing it, but mostly because I didn’t think this handmade vase would look good on white. I used a piece of black poster board for the background and lit the shot with a desk lamp and two mirrors. Having to fix the background in post again made me resolve to obtain a piece of black velvet larger than my poster board. The larger the piece, the more distance I can put between my “lights” and the background, besides the fact that velvet  absorbs light.

Last but not least, I did some more artistic shots. When it comes to shooting at home, I may not have lights, but I do have a wonderful prop library. For this shot of the antique vase, I used an old suitcase and a dried snowball bush flower. In addition to fitting with the age of the vase, they also went well with the colors. Window light provided a soft, reflective mood.

I also used  window light for this shot of the handmade vase. The lace leads to the vase and complements its curves. A dark wood background provides elegance without steeling the show.

The idea for this shot came to me in an odd way. I just set the vase down next to the nesting doll and noticed the colors went together. So I made a funny scene. Unfortunately, the vase is nasty to light. I used several pieces of poster board and a speedlight, but glare was still an issue.

One night, the nesting dolls go exploring in the library and find a vase . . .


Next Time: Knitted Rose Pins

At the request of my sister, I’m photographing her creations this week. They’re unique items, and I already have ideas for what to do with them.

Is there something you’d like to see me photograph or post about? Leave a comment and let me know!