Zolang wij erin zitten

The Dutch website, from the city I used to live in, De Stad Verbeeldt holds a monthly competition during the Corona pandemic with often cryptic themes. For January and February 2021 (yeah, they take the concept of monthly broadly,) the theme was: Zolang wij erin zitten. Which translates to something like: As long as we’re in it. Even with the ongoing pandemic in the back of my mind, I had trouble coming up with any imagery that would fit it.


What resonated first with me from the theme was the feeling we are all in this together. Secondly came the feeling of the ongoing predicament. These together led me to sardines, which is a bit weird ’cause that’s clearly not in line with the social distancing rules.

An image formed with the little fish crammed into a can one by one, the lid rolled back with a key.

First session

Started with one snooted light, but this was clearly too flat.

So, I added a soft box -4 stops on the other side to fill in the shadow.

That was the light sorted, now on to setting the focal point. I started with the 85mm tilt shift at full tilt, but with the aperture set to f/22 there was not much difference between that and the 90mm macro.

Still one thing I don’t like about the Elinchrom BX500Ri’s, their lowest output is often still too bright. Therefore I was not able to use the max aperture of f/2.8 on either lens, even when lowering the ISO to 50. Moving the snooted light further from the subject also helped some and did lead to a nice fade to black in the background.

The fish looked too muddy to me, i was hoping for shiny fish and being able to clearly see the individual fish. This needs more work.

Quick side note, if you have a choice, work with sardines in water instead of the ones in oil. The oil will get on everything, no matter how careful you are and it will smell fishy for a long time.

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Well, that was it, I saw better pictures of opened cans of sardines on amazon.com but never tried any of those brands. Clearly this assignment kicked my butt, I did get a sardine sandwich out of it though. Let’s see what the next one will bring.

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