Let me just make it very clear that the only reason I own syringes and hypodermic needles is because I also own a couple of Continuous Ink Supply Systems for my printer. They can be used to re-fill ink cartridges, or in the case of a C.I.S.S. the ink reservoirs. So, I have a couple which were supplied with those systems.
I was trying to achieve a sinister looking end result with this shot, and I think I just about got there. I might have been better off in this composition with more negative space to the top left of frame, bringing the needle point closer to the centre of the image, but I think it still works pretty well. There is maybe too much empty space to the bottom right however. I needed some room there to allow the syringe to loom out of the darkness, but it could be cropped a bit. I suppose I could actually re-work this without re-shooting as the background is plain black. I could expand the image in Photoshop to allow that extra room to the top left and then re-crop accordingly.
Although you can’t really tell in the end result, the syringe was filled with water and I took great care to maintain a droplet at the end of the needle during the shoot. Sadly it doesn’t really look too good in the finished photo. A couple of hours after shooting this I’m convinced that a better way to have gone with this shot would have been to bring the syringe down to the bottom right and shoot whilst squirting some of the water out of it.
A few details about shooting… erm, taking this photo. The syringe was actually at ninety degrees to the table top, I had my camera on a tripod and just adjusted the angle of the camera so that the syringe was sat diagonally in the frame. I had my flash gun off camera, fitted with my trusty home made snoot to really concentrate the light on the needle and the top part of the syringe. There is no black background card or cloth being used here. The blacked out background is achieved by exposing for the bright flash. 1/200 at f10 requires quite a bit of light so although I was shooting in a normally lit room the ambient lighting just doesn’t show up with this exposure (try it, set your camera to 1/200 at f10 and take a shot in a room lit by a single light bulb at night). This was actually set up on my computer desk, parts of my monitor, various cables, my keyboard etc were all in the frame of the shot, but because the light was directed only onto the syringe by my snoot they’re invisible in the background. I like shooting that way – saves a lot of bother setting up a background and it means I can shoot without worrying too much about clutter.
Most of the “sinister” look this photo has is down to the concentrated lighting, which makes the syringe seem to loom out of the bottom right of frame, and also the processing in Lightroom. I used a Lightroom develop preset called “Hallowed Black”, a sinister sounding preset which certainly resulted in an effect suitable for its name.
Anyway, “there’ll be no more arrrrghhhh, but you may feel a little sick” :^)
Canon 7D, EFS 15-85mm IS, 1/200 at f10, Nissin Di866 fitted with snoot and set to 1/32 power.