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saly Nov 29, 2011 9:54 PM

Dark Side - Mata Ortiz Pottery
This was a tough challenge to find the right object that would work. I have this Mata Ortiz, black on black clay pot that has beautiful carvings on the surface. I tried illuminating it with a pin light of my book reading light. Here are some results that appealed to me... It may be too dark, but I kinda ran out of time.....:(

mtngal Nov 29, 2011 10:36 PM

A little too dark perhaps, but I really like the idea. Might have had a slightly brighter light (maybe? or perhaps a bit more diffused?) to add a bit more detail. But if my experience is any indication, it's very easy to over-do it and end up losing the low-key aspect. I'd love to see more of the pot, it looks like a very nice one.

selvin Nov 29, 2011 10:56 PM

I agree with mtngal, its a bit dark at least on my screen and thus it loses quite a bit of I act.
That being said, the vase based on what I can make out looks marvelous.


onlooker Nov 29, 2011 11:19 PM

How much of the pot I see depends on how I angle my monitor.


saly Nov 29, 2011 11:20 PM

They came out darker than what I saw on my screen originally. I lightened them a bit, should I go lighter?

and this is what it looks like in bright light. It's only about 5" tall.

mtngal Nov 30, 2011 9:35 PM

I really like the second version. It adds enough detail to make it clear but it's still really low-key. And thanks for posting the whole pot, it's lovely. But then, I've always loved that type of pottery.

saly Nov 30, 2011 10:42 PM

Thank you mtngal, these are very thin-walled pot made of black clay, with extremely fine lines scratched on the surface to make the patterns. It was a bit expensive but I had to have it.

selvin Dec 1, 2011 7:50 AM


I'm the reverse of Mtgal, I really like the first shot . Although quite true the second gives all of the details but from just appeal, I vote for the first. The lightening does really help.

saly Dec 1, 2011 1:47 PM

Thanks selvin - I assume you are referring to the first shot in my second post? I think that's what mtngal meant, also. This was very tricky, played around with shutter speed a bit. The problem was, if I picked the shutter speed too slow, stuff in the background showed that was not desirable. It would have helped if I had a plain black background like a drop cloth, but didn't have anything.

Square one Dec 1, 2011 4:21 PM

I like the lightened version best.

IMO, I don't think you need to lighten the image any more than you have, if you want experiment I would try going slightly darker

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