Climax

©Steve Chong

 

Tech Info

Climax

Camera: Canon EOS/1V
Lens: Tamron SP90mm
Film: ASA100
Aperture: F3.5
Shutter: 1/30s
Filter: Hoya 80A, Polarizing Filter
Light: Backlit
This is a rather significant photo to me because it has set my course to surrealistic and conceptual photography.

1 - The fluid. I have tried numerous kinds of liquid, including honey, oil, milk and even cough syrup but it is extremely challenging to shoot all the above liquid. After numerous experiments, I finally settled with corn syrup. The sticky nature of the syrup was perfect for this assignment!

2 - The practice. To obtain the satisfactory thickness I have to keep trying pouring out the liquid. This is the key element for the setup. Too thin you would to have superb reflexes to capture the shot, too thick it would drives you nuts trying to pour it out. I also find that the practices are best carried out in the kitchen. Imagine having this sticky stuff spilling all over the place! My preparation started as early as 3am in the morning. Dad woke up and asked me what the hell was I cooking, and I replied "Naaah just preparing for the set". He slapped his forehead and went off. I didn't even take a look at him because I was so busy preparing the syrup!

3 - The setup. After about 1Kg of corn flour wasted I finally got the right mixture. I rubbed the surface of a stool with wax and then used tissue to smoothen the surface gently. The idea was to creat a water resistant surface so that I could maintain the pearl-shape form when the syrup falls down. A few drops of water were utilized to complement the puddle.

4 - Lighting. The reason I woke up 3.am in the morning was that I wanted to prepare early, so that I could catch the morning ray. There is a window in my house where Mr. Sun would shine very nicely on a white wall. I wanted to use the reflection from the white wall to shoot in backlit. However, that day, Mr. Sun was very cooperative but Ms. Cloud didn't show much of interests in my quest for taking better photography. It was an overcast day. That spoiled my plan. I have to shoot it in my room instead. I used a 500W sport light and bounced the light off the wall.

5 - Getting the shot. I learned that I couldn't just pour the liquid out. Doing so was the result of my failure in many attempts. I positioned the cup on top of the other and use a pencil to guide the 'tail'. Thanks to the right mixture, it is interesting to see a 'long tail' being drag out from the syrup.
After 3 days of tireless sessions and 3x36 rolls of film later, I finally got this shot.

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