• Mark Reeves

Week 3 - using vaseline

Although I have previously tried other materials (plastic bags, clingfilm etc.) to act as diffusers, it never occured to me to use vaseline. I think this is because I associate it with being used in the 70s and 80s to create tacky soft-focus portraits! However, experimenting with it was fun and I am sure I will continue to use it in my photography in future.

For my first shoot, I visited some local countryside. Here are some of the results:

1. Bog

The first image shows the scene without vaseline, the others show the results as I played around with the vaseline to make different patterns with smears in different directions.

2. Woodland scene

3. Trees

Effect of aperture

I experimented not only with different smears on the vaseline but also different apertures. The first two images were taken at f3.2 and the last at f22:

4. Buildings

I do quite a lot of ICM photography and I find that the results from photographing buildings or angular objects with hard edges are very different from those obtained from organic or natural subjects. As some of the results using vaseline somewhat mimicked ICM effects, I decided to see how the vaseline would affect photographing a building, in this case a ruined abbey.


What did I learn?

You don't need very much vaseline!

Rotating the filter (that has the vaseline on it) can make big changes to the results

Radial vs linear vs concentric smears give very different results

Higher contrast scenes tend to work better.

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