Thoughts from inside the fridge

Thoughts from inside the fridge

For Eva’s third week photo of 2014, I combined themes for the photo with that from another group that I participate in on Flickr (Studio 26).  The theme was unusual perspective so I decided a shot from inside the fridge would qualify.  And it shouldn’t be too bad because I have a fridge, a camera with remote, and a dog that likes to investigate what’s in the fridge.  Needless to say I was wrong and had underestimated my limitations and challenges.

The best part of this plan was that I needed to stock the fridge with some drinkable props.  So I built in a trip to buy some beer.  A decision was to be made between the Flying Monkey and Barking Squirrel beer.  Went with the barking squirrel because the name reminds me of Eva – the speed and energy of a squirrel, with a great little bark.  And of course it’s a good beer.

I quickly discovered that the fridge is actually a rather confined space. Funny that it took me 40 years to learn that. I also diecovered that none of my lenses gave me wide angle of close focal distance to get the image I had in my mind.  So I changed what I was trying for and went to the lensbaby composer and sweet 35 (very short minimal focal distance), made a little tunnel of beer, manually focused it to a stack of books it would sit on in the fridge and placed the camera on the book pile in the back of the fridge with a remote to fire. A few test shots later and a few modifications to the beer tunnel it was time to bring in Eva.  No props yet consumed.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly if you actually think about it) Eva is a little afraid of an open fridge containing a camera that fires automatically, especially when the fridge starts beeping because it’s been open for too long. So, time to reassure her and pull out some cheese. It also turns out that she is quite obedient and wouldn’t break the rule of not eating straight out of the fridge. So more reassurance and eventually I got close to what I was looking for. Total time for this shoot – one hour.

The other thing I didn’t plan on is that the kitchen island is quite close to the fridge so it would not disappear into the shadows like I expected (the only light on in the kitchen was from the open fridge).  Also I didn’t have a good black backdrop to help it disappear.  That and there was a big piece of cheese in the middle of the shot.

3-52 barking squirrel 1

Since I had the basic image I was going for, it was time to consume a prop, import to the computer and editing.

The first thing to go was the cheese, edited out in Photoshop.  Then the colour corrected so it wasn’t too yellow, and some local sharpening and contrast done.  Even after applying a soft sepia, it still wasn’t quite what I wanted as I found the background wood grain distracting.   But none the less I think it makes for an nice alternate image as it shows Eva’s nice colouring.

3-52 barking squirrel 2

So I processed in B&W playing off the graphics of the bottles and the fur patterns on her sweet face. I went high contrast, and darkened the island until it almost disappeared.  

3-52 barking squirrel 3

End of the day not what I originally had in my mind, but I think I like it better.  Total time spent on this was about 1.5 hours working in the fridge, and 30 minutes on the computer.  Plus one consumable prop used.

I also liked another version quite a bit as a second choice.  Big fan of the tongue going after the cheese, and the focus on her one eye.

3-52 barking squirrel 4


Since the cheese is now part of the story for this shot, it had to stay.  But the colours were distracting, and I needed to add some sharpness to her tongue to make it clearer what was going on.  So convert to black and white, add some sharpening and this is the result…

3-52 barking squirrel 5


At the end of the day I quite like both of these shots.  More of a set-up than usual for me, but I think worth it in the end.  Now to think of a way to use the flying monkey theme …