Home My photo challenge Why is it always 10 past 10?

Why is it always 10 past 10?

by Ally

My hardest challenge yet …

Why is it always 10 past 10? If you haven’t noticed this before, you will never look at a watch advert in the same way again! Keep reading to find out why …

Meanwhile, let’s go back to my photo challenge theme for this week – Time!

This was a tough one. Tougher than I had expected! As soon as I knew what the theme for this week would be, I knew I wanted to create something different … something I hadn’t done before. My mind was set on a composite.

A composite is a picture made up from multiple images merged and blended together in Photoshop (or any other image editing software).

I am quite old fashioned when it comes to my attitude towards photography, and I always strive to get the picture right in camera, so that I have as little post-processing as possible. Of course, there has been the odd occasion when I’ve had to do a bit of Photoshopping, but nothing of this scale … yet!

My inspiration came mainly from Joel Robison, a Canadian conceptual photographer, and an absolutely amazing artist. If you haven’t seen any of his artwork, head over to Instagram and search for @joelrobison … (but finish reading my blog post first!). Joel is a total master of the composite image, and his pictures are so thought provoking. I wanted to create something in a similar style.

My first idea was a little Max looking up at a giant clock, but that was just too simple. My second idea was a little Max trying to stop the giant clock’s hands from moving … I still think this was a great idea, but my execution of it was rather poor. Max’s hands didn’t match the hands on the clock and the perspective was all wrong. So, with three days to go until my blog was due to be published, inspiration struck! I would photograph Max laying down inside a giant clock, contemplating the question why clocks are always set to 10 past 10?

Have you worked out why this is yet?

Actual size ratio between Max and the clock

Having learned an important lesson from my second attempt, I decided to photograph both Max and the clock head on, to avoid having to match any angles.

The clock was easy.

Max slightly less so. I used my white background, as the inside of the clock would be white, and it would make the images easier to blend. I positioned Max on my baby posing beanbag to simulate the curved shape of the face of the clock, and then I got him to rest his feet on a bedside table. I took at least 20 different photographs to make sure at least one would align nicely with the shape of the clock. This one did!

And then it was time for blending … and more blending. One of my biggest fears was drawing the shadows, but after watching numerous YouTube videos and a few attempts, I think I got there. What do you think?

Once I had done the hardest part, it was time to work on the background. I used a distressed wood effect for the surface the clock was sitting on, and a bokeh effect for the background. Finally, I put the entire image through a barrel distortion filter to bring the clock even more to the foreground.

Around 5 hours later (and 5 cups of coffee) my composite image was finally ready!

I must admit that despite the rocky start, this has been a really fun challenge and I think I will attempt some more composite images in the future. Watch this space!

And talking of watches … any ideas why watch manufacturers always set their time to 10 past 10 in their adverts? There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, in this position the two hands provide a nice frame for the brand or logo (which I have shamelessly edited out in my final image!). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they resemble a smile … a subliminal happy message. Imagine if the hands were set to 20 past 8 …

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