311 – Il Combattimento

We had rain in Vienna all afternoon. In the morning I was in a hurry and didn’t make a single photo, in the afternoon on my way back home I couldn’t, in the evening I had no time, and so I began around 11pm to set up a game of chess, two flashes of my macro flash kit and the camera on tripod. At first I tried my luck with the Sigma 20/1.8 wide open and very near, but that didn’t work too well, at least I found nothing that excited me. I was already determined to use an archive image for today, when I finally decided to try one more shot with the Sigma 150/2.8 macro. About 20 shots later I had what you see here.

This is no real game any more, but photography has other rules than chess. I did a lot of shuffling around with the chess pieces and the flashes until I had this configuration. Actually I like it, I enjoyed the experience and I expect to get back to chess on another rainy day.

What really took time, was not taking the image, was not processing it in Photoshop, what took me time was finding a decent sound sample from one of the recordings of Claudio Monteverdi’s “Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda“. This is probably the most dramatic music Monteverdi has ever written, and I was lucky to find a sample from William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. I’m always amazed by how good Christie is. Whenever I compare recordings of something baroque and operatic, and whenever Les Arts Florissants are in the game, they usually end up among the three best, and frequently they are my favorites.

The sound sample is only from the beginning, but the drama builds up fast enough to give you at least a hint of what this really is.

2 thoughts on “311 – Il Combattimento”

  1. Sounds like you went to a lot of troble to end up with this image but it was worth it. This is a study in DOF and what can be achieved at the hands of a master – amazing. Those two front pieces have a third dimension feel about them, almost 3D, and the DOF seems to decrease in discreet steps with each row of chess pieces until we reach the background. I believe Ted has called you a control freak (only in the most complimentary manner of course) and this is a fine example of that aspect of your work. Really enjoyed this one Andreas.

  2. Thanks, you can’t see me blush, but I do 🙂

    Honestly, it was a lot of work, but when you already have a controlled situation, it just makes no sense to pull the plug before it’s done.

    There will be more chess images. It’s a rainy day occupation, just like flowers 🙂

    Thanks again


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