Light is Everything!

The Black Grouse


Earlier this week I went down to Starr Liquor and Wine to buy a bottle of my favourite red wine: Angus The Bull (a delightful cabernet sauvignon from Australia). 8) It’s pure awesome! Big bold bull flavour. But alas, Starr didn’t have any in stock. 😦 But, lest my palette be dismayed, I caught a gander of a beautiful Scottish Lass! 🙂

Scotch. A refined gentleman’s drink. Or, the most vile drink consumed by those sissy dress wearing’ Scotts! You decide! 😉 I happen to love it. Scotch Whiskey is an amazing drink and in my mind, the peaty-ier the better. I have had famous grouse whiskey in the past but I have never heard of The Black Grouse. It was supposedly more rich and smokey and full of peat-based goodness than the regular Famous Grouse Scotch. So, I thought I would support the local liquor economy and buy a bottle for $35.00. From the Website:

The smoky influence of the peated malts is balanced by the trademark smoothness of The Famous Grouse to create underlying hints of cocoa and spice. With a long, smoky, aromatic finish, it’s hardly surprising that The Black Grouse has been listed as The Best New Scotch Blended Whisky in Jim Murray’s 2008 Whisky Bible.

Well I can vouch for the website’s claim. It’s outstanding! It’s smooth, even for the big bold smokey spiciness. Baby’s butt kinda smooth. 8) If you appreciate a good Scotch, then you gotta check this out. If you haven’t had any Famous Grouse stuff, then you’re missing something from your life! 😆

OK, but this isn’t a blog about drinking. It’s about lighting. And so, here’s the setup from start to finish. Firstly, lighting bottles is a giant pain in the rear end. The darker the liquid inside, the tougher it is to do because they gobble up more light than Rita McNeil on a Haggis at Robbie Burns Night. 😉 I kid. I kid. But it’s true. They’re tough to light.

So I wanted a reflection because everyone loves reflections. And, I wanted to light the inside of the bottle. So, a speed light from the bottom up through some plexiglass was the first step. This would be our fill light.

Ok, not too shabby. Now for the key light. Umbrella from camera right to light up the bottle and add some highlights.

Looking good. We’re still at 1/250 of a second at f/6.3. But the shot still lacks dimension so, we need an accent light.

Boo ya! Now we’re cooking’. The rim light from back behind the bottle just feathers the edge to define the shape of the bottle a bit more.

For this final shot, I did one more little cheat. I took one of the kid’s books and used it as a white reflector to further open up that label a bit more on the left side. Then there was the post production clean up in Aperture and viola! Scotch Bottle Madness! 8) Now, on to drink it!




6 responses

  1. Rifqi

    Very nicely handled light.

    October 18, 2011 at 11:29 pm

  2. Great post Jason…I’ll be sure to get some Angus Wine in for ya!

    October 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    • Thanks! ehehhehehe… it was serendipitous that you didn’t have it because I got to try the Black Grouse! 8) But do bring in the Angus, it’s awesome!

      October 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm

  3. Ronda Langley

    Just came across your site…love it! You don’t, by chance, have a set up shot of this one do you? Trying to figure out what your plexiglass was sitting on to get the black below while being able to light up from underneath?

    January 22, 2015 at 8:48 am

    • Thanks! I went and looked back in my archives and unfortunately I don’t have a BTS photo. Basically, I had the plexiglass spanning across two saw horses. The way to better control the light from the speed light on the bottom would be to make a snoot around your light. That way, the beam would be directional up into the bottle without spill around it. The plexiglass will automatically go black just like the background from the light falloff. Hope that helps!

      January 22, 2015 at 9:24 am

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