Finally, I found a use for the old milk crate I rescued from “the dump guys” who were loading up junk to haul away from the old house I lived in last year. Our still life assignment this week was to play with light and shadow in, on, and around a crate, box, cupboard, or what have you. I remembered that old crate, which has been sitting in my laundry room, just waiting for something to do, ever since I moved into this apartment. It would be perfect for this!
Or would it? Once I got it out and took a look at it, I was a little less optimistic. I’d forgotten that it has a metal bottom, perforated with a grid of holes, plus handles cut into all four sides. Here’s what I started with:
I put my little desk at right angles to the bedroom window and put down a piece of black poster board to protect it from the rough crate. Then I propped a piece of black foam board behind the crate to block the light from those holes.
I gathered a couple of props — two little ceramic birds I picked up at Michael’s yesterday for a dollar apiece, and a little ivy plant from Home Depot which I popped into a pot I had bought at the Acton, California, farmers market a couple of years ago. I tried a few shots with my iPhone to see how well the crate was going to work.
Okay, I can work with this. I got out my Nikon to shoot the setup “for real.” Kim’s suggestion to underexpose by a couple of stops if I wanted to go for a shadowy image worked out well. I found that by starting off with underexposed images, much less post-processing was required to get the effects I wanted.
All of this dark and moody processing makes those holes in the bottom of the crate virtually disappear. However, looking over the unprocessed images from my photo session, I found that I actually didn’t mind the holes. They can add a bit of interesting pattern, as you can see in the second photo in this post, the SOOC image. I suspect I’ll be using this beat up old crate for a photo prop again in the future.
Thanks, Kim! This was a fun one.