Black C-Tek, Black Southard

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This is a no-setup, available light photo, actually.

I took this photo on my kitchen counter. The yellow comes from the wall behind the counter, and the reflection comes from the polished surface of the granite countertop (which is actually a mottled dark green color). The lighting is available light, consisting of sunlight through the kitchen windows and an incandescent hanging lamp in the kitchen. For stability purposes, I rested the lens of the camera (my trusty old D700) on the counter, though I did shoot it handheld (no tripod).

Total setup time, essentially zero–I just set the knife on the counter. That said, if I took a full depth of field shot of the spot where I shot this, you might think I was pulling your leg.

What I’ve learned, after a few decades of being a student of photography, is that learning enough about light (including shadow and reflection and the impact of operating with a limited dynamic range) is most of the trick to it. If you can recognize good lighting or subject isolation options around you it gets a lot easier to take pretty okay looking photos.

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