A Burst of Colour
Nimish Choksi discovers there is more to paint buckets than just lifeless containers and paint splatters.
- Description: To capture manifold hues and tones as well as tactile detail.
- Duration: From ideation to postprocessing, this project took me 10 days.
- Notes: After finishing the series, I realised that the same subject would look completely different when shot with a macro lens. Perhaps I will try that next!
Observation is an important habit that every photographer must cultivate. The simplicity of some objects might cause them to skip our attention instantly. But with a keen sense of observation and a little imagination, an interesting photo opportunity can emerge at any time. I had a similar experience when I saw these paint buckets. As commonplace as they looked, they made great subject. Observation is an important habit that every photographer must cultivate. The simplicity of some objects might cause them to skip our attention instantly. But with a keen sense of observation and a little imagination, an interesting photo opportunity can emerge at any time.
I had a similar experience when I saw these paint buckets. As commonplace as they looked, they made great subject.
One day, during my daily walks on my building’s terrace, I observed these paint buckets in one corner. I felt an instant connection with this setting and wanted to shoot this scene immediately. But, I restrained myself and observed the buckets for almost a week. I waited for the level of paint to reduce and create interesting textures around the side of the buckets and the piece of cloth they were kept on.
After waiting for seven days, I couldn’t resist. I brought my camera and began shooting the buckets as best as I could.
I spent about an hour thinking about the different perspectives I could use to capture the scene. I shot several photos of the buckets as they were, but then started shifting them around.
The blue cloth on which the paint buckets were placed made the perfect background, with its frayed appearance and paint splotches.
I wanted to highlight the circular patterns of the paint buckets, so I made some images from a top angle. But for some images, I was lying flat on my stomach to capture their vivid textures.
All the images were shot handheld in the Aperture Priority mode with Matrix/ Evaluative Metering and in RAW. I did not use the flash during the process. Sharpness was key and so, I chose an aperture of f/14. This meant that I had to deal with slow shutterspeeds, but I managed to keep myself steady.
Once I was happy with my images, I made a selection and edited the images in Adobe Photoshop CS3. I had previously captured some textured surfaces which I overlayed on these paintbucket images. I felt this added more grunge to the overall series.
Making these images did not take a lot of time, and was quite an enjoyable experience. It just goes to show that anything can be photographed if you spend enough time thinking about the subject.
I used a Nikon D90 with an 18–105mm lens. However, I feel such a project can be attempted by any kind of medium… what matters is one’s imagination!
Tips to Showcase Still Life in a New Light
- Experiment with Composition: Don’t stick to traditional, straightforward angles. Explore all available angles, and different kinds of crops.
- Add Your Own Props: If you feel there is something missing, you can always use your own ingenuity to add to the frame.
- Try Visual Puns: Look for backgrounds that will have a funny connotation when coupled with your still life subject. For example, a setting sun could act like a basketball to the basketball hoop you are photographing!
To see more of Nimish Choksi’s work you can visit www.memoriesnmoments.inTags: On Assignment, photoshop, tones, colours, Raw, slow shutterspeed, matrix, hues, textures, january 2014, paint, Nimish Choksi, Splatter