Candle

Whilst in Oslo Holly and I didn’t really eat much local food. Holly can’t go near fish without some form of projectile vomit and any of the traditional eateries we investigated the menus of seemed to have aquatic life as a central theme. Our first night we found a fantastic albeit expensive burger bar, and on our second and final night before we flew home we found an American-style pizza restaurant with great pizza, decently priced and in a place with great decor.

On a cold dark November evening in Oslo, where the sun had set at half past three in the afternoon, it was lovely to sit by a window looking out at the Norwegian nightlife at a proper wooden table with a candle.

As you will probably have guessed from the title, that candle is the focus of this post. Because of the way the red of the candle contrasted the brown of the wood, as well as the light itself and the way the candle was melting, it was a prime subject for shooting.

1/80sec, f/2.2, ISO 100, 50mm
1/80sec, f/2.2, ISO 100, 50mm

I started shooting with my 50mm f/1.4 partly to cope with the low light of the restaurant but mostly to create a shallow depth of field effect. It turned out, exposing for the flame meant that the table was too dark to see.

I quickly broke out my macro lens to get really close.

1/400sec, f/2.8, ISO 640, 100mm
1/400sec, f/2.8, ISO 640, 100mm

I’m very pleased with the way the candlelight led to the dark background. It leaves the location of the candle to the imagination (assuming you’d skipped over my introduction above). Whenever I look at these shots I imagine a dark Victorian house, quiet and late at night, like something straight out of A Christmas Carol when Scrooge is retiring to bed on Christmas Eve.

1/640sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm
1/640sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm

I played about with where to put the focus. For most of the shots above the focus is on the formation of wax in the foreground on the top lip. This next shot is focussed on the wick itself.

1/250sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm
1/250sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm

Meanwhile this shot takes it in the other direction and emphasises the wax at a more extreme angle, making more of the candle blurry.

1/250sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm
1/250sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm

As with some of the images in the Oslo post, I have been experimenting with Nik Software in post-processing. To emphasise the feeling of an old Victorian house I put this shot through Analog Efex to replicate an old photograph.

1/320sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm
1/320sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm

Finally, a wide shot to capture the base the candle was on, part of what attracted me to it in the first place.

1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 35mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 35mm

I’ve decided to no longer be afraid to put out short little posts from time to time. Normally these sorts of images would be weird addendums to the sets of images they were originally taken with (such as, in this case, my photographs from Oslo) or in other cases they would see the light of day at all. In any case, let me know what you think.

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