Saturday, February 02, 2008

Narrow Minded

Can We Wax Lyrical About Candles?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


With this week's Photo Hunt theme being "Narrow", I thought I'd have a huge selection of choices. There was a narrow slippery slide, a narrow pathway, and a great shot of the narrowest lane in beautiful Quebec City. But I wanted to shoot something specially for the theme. I walked into our lounge to open the window on a hot afternoon this week - and there was my theme.


Allow me to present the narrow opening on top of a candlestand. They're interestingly crafted, whether they're in wood, metal, alloy or crystal. You see, they have to fit a universal candle size and they have to fit absolutely snug, so that each candle is held exactly perpendicular to the ground. If the opening is slightly wider than it should be (even by a millimetre) the candle will lean over, dripping wax untidily. That's precisely why you'll notice something that is common to most candlestands - the actual opening that holds the candle is generally a little wider up the top than it is at the bottom, so that the candle is held tightly in place.


You've probably noticed that the first three shots in this sequence have a lot of interesting inter-reflection within the angular segments of the crystal surface. It's also intriguing that there is a lovely pastel blue tinge to the background. This comes from a lace curtain about a metre and a half (not quite five feet) away from the candle stand. This window looks out onto a wide south-east aspect, so the light was really soft at the time. As it was late afternoon, the harsh light was on the other side of the house.

If you're wondering whether I moved the candlestand to get the best light or the best reflection, the answer is no. I shoot objects where I see them. It's not my style to move them to a different spot or even a different room to get a better effect or to make use of better light. I didn't use a special filter and as you probably know by now, I never digitally enhance my shots.


This last shot was taken completely on a whim, to get a different angle and a different background. The candlestands are placed on a glass-topped mahogany table. By shooting the object from above and to the side, I was able to get an unusual aspect, with some reflection in the bottom left-hand quadrant and the dark brown background of the beautiful, smooth mahogany.

VERSE AND WORSE: Enter the fun Loony Limerick Competition.

BLOGGERS INTERVIEWED: Starting tomorrow, a new weekly series, called The Sunday Roast. There will be an interview with a different blogger each week.

72 comments:

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Like the last one particularly for its surreal, space station elements.... great original interpretation of the theme!
Brancusi's column, and all that...

Casdok said...

Candles have a beauty and charm of thier own, one you can loose yourself in. Your photos of this candlestand certainly lend yourself to the feeling of surreal as Julie said.

MamaGeek said...

Fantastic shots. I love the prism effect (and mad thx for adding me to your blogroll).

david mcmahon said...

Hi Julie,

Thank you very much. May I take a bow if I promise not to knock the candlestands off the table?

The last one wss my favourite as well!!

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Casdok,

You're so right about the charm and beauty. And there are millions of different designs, too.

Thanks you for that comment - I'm so glad you like the interpretation.

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Mamageek,

Thank you. I'm so glad you liked them. Like you, the prism effect really caught my attention.

Keep smiling

David

WomanHonorThyself said...

How did ya know that I adore candles~!..especially scented ones..mmmmmmmm.

david mcmahon said...

Hi WomanHonorThyself,

I just knew .... !!!

Keep smiling

David

the mother of this lot said...

Hi David, I just called in to say thanks for visiting and for your kind comments.

(At first I just saw 'David' and for a second I thought Beckham was replying)!

Looking forward to your 'Sunday Roast'

pat houseworth said...

Excellent David, Excellent...

Fyremandoug said...

David What brand of camra are you using and what lens are you using

lynn said...

I adore crystal. Lovely shots here. I'm late getting here; it's been a busy old day at Daily Photo. Come and see!

Zoë said...

candles are significant as its candlemas and also imbolc - let there be light! terrific pictures.

david mcmahon said...

Hi The Mother Of This Lot,

Er, um, that's the first (and probably the last) time I've ever been confused with D Beckham Esq!!!

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Pat,

Thank you. I'm so glad you liked the shots.

I was just lucky with the light and the background.

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi FyremanDoug

I use a Pentax K100 D with a Sigma 18-125 lens which is very versatile but is not the best macro!!

From memory, I shot that at 1/180th of sec, F8 and ISO speed 400.

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Lynn,

Yup, crystal looks great, displays well and is wonderful to photograph.

Funny you should say you've had a busy day ... I was on your blog about an hour ago and left two comments on both your latest (brilliant) pictures.

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Zoe,

Thank you very much. I agree that they are so significant in many cultures too.

Glad you liked the photos.

Keep smiling

David

Carver said...

That's a beautiful sequence of shot of the candle holder. Great idea for the narrow theme.

imac said...

Oh show off David lol.
So many narrow shots, and they are all great. love the different angles that you have taken them from.

My P.H.=narrow is also up.

Jenera said...

Would you mind going to my Flickr Page and taking a gander? Maybe leave some tips/suggestions?

Thank you much!

Jenera

Corey~living and loving said...

Great choice for the theme David. I love the last shot in every way. :)
I still haven't chosen a photo for this week. eekkkk I need to get on that.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

As usual, David, great pictures! You make the ordinary look extraordinary!

Bart said...

I SO want to be interviewed. I know it won't be tomorrow, obviously, but dude, jot me down.

Bart said...

Ready, it's incredibly complicated...

bartraeke@gmail.com

Katney said...

They make a very interesting subject of photography from every angle. Mine is not posted yet, but will be by morning.

Andrée said...

I love the third photo. It is one of those infinite reflection photos. Beautiful.

jmb said...

They are all just wonderful shots. Fancy not moving things, I am always moving my things around to photograph but it doesn't make the shots better sadly.
Love the last one especially.

Mushy said...

Micro stuff!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Yes, we can wax lyrical about candles. I have bunches of candles. Of course, few of my candles are narrow; almost all of them are thick—very thick.

napaboaniya said...

Crystal candle stands are really nice with an elegant feel to it. I like the perspectives of the shoots you've taken.

psst, that crystal candle stand would probaly turn into a million pieces with a clumsy oaf like me around!!
Keep it away from me if you treasure it! LOL!

ian said...

interesting how seemingly ordinary, daily, unimportant things get to be seen in a new light if we only allow ourselves to look beyond the obvious... if we only cease to be the negative version of being "narrowminded" (the false profundity is killing me hahaha) in short- GREAT PHOTOS!

Natalie said...

I really like that last shot! :)

Am'n2deep said...

I can't even pretend to know what I'm talking about when it comes to photography--but I certainly do have an appreciation for all things beautiful. And these shots are beautiful indeed.

Lilli & Nevada said...

That is a beautiful candle holder and you did a great job.
All the shots are great but i did like the last one the best.

I too added you to my blogroll and thankyou for adding me to yours.

Bubba's Sis said...

I'd love to be interviewed, too!

PastorMac's Ann said...

These are terrific. Really like that last one as it applies to our "narrow" theme this week.

Always enjoy stopping by to see your take on the theme of the week. You never disappoint.

eastcoastlife said...

A lesson from a great photographer. I enjoy every one of your photos, beautifully taken and they can tell stories.
I have a pair of crystal candle holders, I'll try to experiment taking photos of them with my digital camera.

shooting star said...

nice shots!!!..the candle stand is ver pretty and unusual!!!

eastcoastlife said...

David,
You are too humble.

I try to learn and see from your angle, from the photos you have taken. The photos taken in India were awesome. I want to capture the stories on my picture too.

I hope I can have a good photo to show you one day. So far, my photos are shallow and lifeless. *sob sob*

everydayhealy said...

Such beautiful candle stand make me can't wait to celebrate Valentines! :)

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

THat's funny- Mummy bort sum candols this week. They wer Crismossy smellin wuns, in a sale. The playse haz gon all sinnamonny.

I've finally posted me mewsings, btw!

:@D

CRIZ LAI said...

This is one of the most beautiful candle stands that I have seen and you shot it real well. I'm sure the pair are your most precious items in your home.

Psss... where can I get a pair? :P

If you have the time, do check out my another interpretation at http://www2.crizlai.com/2008/02/02/photo-hunters-narrow/

David said...

These are beautiful candles. I love the way you've captured the reflections inside them. Candles like these would never make it into my house though - too breakable!

Cheers,

David Webb

Nessa said...

I love taking pictures because it helps you really look at things closely and differently.

YTSL said...

Great pictures! The funny thing is that when I first looked at the pictures, my thought was that the glass itself was pretty thick and thus not at all thin/narrow... ;b

i beati said...

Enjoying the limerists , great idea the roast , also I decided yesterday , it's been many mnay years since a good pun book was written or any turn of the phrase book, together with your photography - YOU SHOULD DO IT. Your themes are hysterical, and it would make an excellent coffee table book , especiially the photography and the titles will intrique an even bigger audience..??

Les said...

Great site. Lovely photos.

I am new to writer...interrupted and I certainly need encouragement. I am in NSW so we are in the same time zone at least. That's half the battle.

Please can you check my blog?

http://lchatwin.wordpress.com

Sandi McBride said...

Now this is a post that would attract a girl child who loved to play with prism's from a chandalier...I loved helping my grandmother clean the prisms on hers, sitting out on the screened porch with lots of hot soapy water, cleaning the winter grime from all those intricate cuts into the crystal...letting the sunlight slide over it with hot greedy fingers of light...oh yes, I love your candlestick as the center of your theme. Well done again, David!

pat said...

Great post for today!! The photos of the candlestick are amazing!

Happy Weekend.

Rebecca said...

Those are so beautiful! Once again, I love the last shot.

I very rarely "do" anything to my photos, either. Occasionally I crop them. But I don't generally lighten or darken them or filter them or whatever them. Do you ever do ANYTHING to your photos (even cropping)... or is what we see truly what you shot.

Just curious. (I am a big fan of the "what you see is what you shot" school, by the way.)

Karen said...

Very interesting shots, David. I love when people take pictures of ordinary things and force us to see the beauty in them. The reflections bouncing off the surface is just fantastic. Thanks for challenging the theme - and us!

Write From Karen

Monique said...

That's a hell of a lot of comments. Waxing about candles? Probably not, but love the pics and words about the holders.

Pato & Pearl said...

Bling Bling...love how it shines against the light. Nice shot.
I love candles, scented ones especially.

Have a good weekend.!

Pearl

Joyismygoal said...

that was a great waxing on your candle stick and fun photos to accompany your words your interviews sound interesting

leslie said...

Fantastic idea! Gorgeous shots, as per usual from you and an interesting perspective on the theme. :D

Sarge Charlie said...

wow, this was a good choice for the theme

Yen said...

WOW! Amazing shots you have here! Love it:)

Utah Mommy said...

Wow great shots for the theme! Very wise thinking! Happy weekend!
NARROW FEED THE ROAD

D... said...

The candlestand is gorgeous. Thank you so much for the interest in my blog. By all means, add me to your blogroll and I'll add you to mine.

And I'd love to be interviewed as well. :)

San said...

Dazzling, David!

Bubba's Sis said...

Oh boy! Send the questions to jdc1007@comcast.net! Thanx!

Charles Gramlich said...

There is a jeweled quality to light reflecting on the glass. A very interesting series of pics.

Jessica said...

What beautiful way to capture something that many would not see as narro... Gorgeous! Out of curiosity, what type of camera do you use??? Thanks for stopping by my blog.. Feel free to come by anytime! Happy weekend.

Lee said...

Well, thank you for posting the excellent pictures of nice crystal candle sticks. Since a surfeit of titles seems to be running through the blog community and all of the San Antonio contingent and San have now acquired them, I'm going to ask to borrow that set of sticks for my table. One must maintain appearances you know.

Cheers!

Flassie's Fil'a said...

Thanks for checking in David!

My son will know his test results on the 5th. I'll know on the 6th. Time difference.

Thanks for the prayers,
putting me on your blog
roll and your kindness!!!

Have a Blessed Happy Healthy
Fun Creative Thinking Year!!!

Sharon said...

What a wonderful entry for "narrow." Your photos and description are great! I love candles and candle sticks, I find the one you used very attractive.

Dragonstar said...

These are such beautiful shots. I could look and look. You always have such interesting photos.

Andrea said...

Great shots. Amazing how different shots show different beauty. Interesting post.

smilnsigh said...

Lovely photos.

And I really appreciate it, that you don't enhance your work.

Mari-Nanci

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

It was done beautifully... you are an inspiration.

Liz said...

Fascinating. But candles never seem to fit exactky: is there really a universal size?