Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Biweekly Shoot Out (
-   -   Dark Side - Mata Ortiz Pottery (

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

saly Dec 1, 2011 5:30 PM


Originally Posted by Square one (Post 1269879)
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

Thanks square one, I think what I needed to do was to get rid of the glare. Maybe some sort of a diffuser or indirect light. Oh well, it was a lot of fun anyway!

Quervo Dec 4, 2011 2:46 PM

You have a wonderful little pot by Salvador and Virginia Baca whom have won numerous awards and I consider to be among the top five potters from this area. They live in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. Because most of our pots are a mix of shiny and matte they are hard to photograph but I actually liked the dark ones as something different.. These were hand coiled-polished by a stone and fired traditionally using cow "chips".

saly Dec 4, 2011 6:17 PM

Quervo, you are absolutely right, it is signed by Salvador Baca. We found a shop in Northern California that carried a good selection of these pots over 10 years ago. It took us a VERY long time to pick one out and we decided on this one. I am curious how you knew the maker? Do they have patterns or shapes that are unique to each artist?

By the way, we truly love this little pot and treasure it very much.

Quervo Dec 5, 2011 12:28 PM

I live near him.
Sent an email

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 2:29 AM.