Attentive readers will remember that in January of this year, the family and I spent some time in Gippsland, Australia, in particular on the beach at Cape Conran park. On the big beach there where they surf, you can find remarkable sea-shells. The process by which the waves slowly turn them to white sand is transparent here, as you can pick up all sorts of shells once cone-shaped which are eroding away, revealing in the process unsuspected beauty of internal structure. They look like flowers. I brought a bunch home and I’m trying to photograph them.
It’s quite a challenge. I think the right technique is going to be the one invented by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, of using a flatbed scanner; see how it worships a rose here. Alex says “The depth-of-field is immense, just hang the flower over the scanner and turn the lights out”. Yeah, well, he’s got more technique than I do obviously. How to hang a seashell over a scanner in such a way that it holds still is not self-evident; I’m now looking for Plan C. Also I have depth-of-field problems. But my first few attempts, although fatally flawed, are damn visually dramatic so I’ll keep plugging away at that.
For the picture above, I put the shells on a black cushion and the Tamron 70-210mm on the Pentax DSLR, clamped it onto my pretty-good tripod, told the camera to use f/8 and pick its own shutter speed, which with interior light was several seconds at ISO 200 which is OK with the shutter on delayed-release and me at the other end of the room. Plus fairly heroic Photoshopping to subtract the cushion textures.
I expect this project to combine extreme phototech geeking with worship at the temple of Natural Beauty. What’s not to like?