John Meiers  

Zane Grey-2 by John Meiers

March 2023 - Zane Grey-2

About the Image(s)

Did this recent still life that I submitted to my local camera club competition.

Have a room in my home that my wife used as a floral making room. She recently retired as a wedding florist. Previous home
owner has several fluorescent light fixtures in it. A few years ago I replaced the old fluorescent bulbs with newer
and better bulbs for brighter lighting. I now use this room somewhat as a studio for some still life photography.

I have a few old Zane Grey books that I read as a child. Here are some of them. Also have a newer full set of
Zane Grey books bought recently as a local book sale. The old childhood books have some exterior character
to them. The new set are all the same cover. If any of you have ever read Zane Grey books they are all
about the days of the old west. Stagecoaches, gunfights, just like the old western movies. By the way that
is a toy gun.

Photo taken with my Nikon D750, shutter 1/6 second, F/18 aperature, ISO 200 and no flash.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
6 comments posted

Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Hey John, I dig the theme here. Everything's super sharp here to me. I like the exposure overall. And as far as subjects go, I don't think you could get much better than those books. And, BTW, I commend you on playing with still life images. As you may have read, I think the genre gives the photographer enough control to really play with and master the elements of putting a good photograph together. Kudos to you.

As far as things that I might change, I have two basics, and one extra credit. In my opinion, the crop is kind of tight, especially on top. I have a tendency to crop too tightly, so I know whereof I speak. Is it possible to loosen it?

In my opinion, this lighting setup doesn't really contribute to the image. I get the impression that the white balance is pretty yellow, and it's definitely very soft (except where it isn't, like under the crossbeams on the wall). The color can be changed in editing (although it's preferable to get it right in camera), but to me, the lighting character (how soft it is), doesn't really suit the subject. Just my thoughts. Are you tuned into this idea of hard v.s. soft light? Check this out:

And that leads me to the extra credit. I would LOVE to see another version of this, shot so that it appears to be books on a table, with maybe a pistol resting on top, but with lighting that appears to come from an open window. Of course you'd have to meticulously stage it, but it would appear NOT STAGED, and natural. You could fill the frame with the subjects, or crop more loosely to include more of the room. And wouldn't window light, in an otherwise unlit room, on a wooden table, just scream old west? Anyway, just my thoughts. I'd love to see you pull it off, and if you want collaboration on the lighting, I'm your huckleberry. ;)   Posted: 03/09/2023 07:56:57

Dean Ginther   Dean Ginther
I like the Zane Gray theme too and the way the background leads the eyes to the center with the diagonals. And I agree with Damon that the lighting is a bit flat. Maybe some selective use of small flashlights might add some lighting interest.   Posted: 03/09/2023 09:34:36

Debbie Chasolen   Debbie Chasolen
I like your concept; the old books and (toy) pistol are great props and you have good texture and color for the background and table. Are these permanent fixtures? I too would like to see the image done with different lighting. You've got a lot of good material to work with - have fun exploring!   Posted: 03/10/2023 04:28:21

Patrick Brosnan   Patrick Brosnan
Texture is amazing here, I might want to sidelight a bit more to bring it out even more. The gun is a nice touch and more kid cowboy stuff would help a little. The background adds nicely. I struggle with still lifes as they frequently come out flat. The soft constant light renders a good realistic presentation but it doesn't add to the dementionality. It is a decision you as a maker get to make. Nice tones and solid image.   Posted: 03/10/2023 05:38:02

John Meiers   John Meiers
Fixtures are not permanent. The setup is still there. Planning on trying a black background and a dark wood background which would require different lighting. Glad you all like the concept. Just have not had much time to play around with it.   Posted: 03/10/2023 13:55:56

Rita Johnston   Rita Johnston
Some nice props here. Is there something else in the Zane Grey books that could go in the photo. The gun might be staged to one side and something like dryed flowers (that your wife might already have) in there too. Just a different idea to try. If you redo it with any of the comments above or with mine, would love to see that version.   Posted: 03/18/2023 10:43:10