27 03 2011

Do you know that feeling when you think that you came up with a great idea just to find out that someone else not only had it earlier but also did something with it, used it to get some great results? I was thinking about my photography lately. I was thinking what could I try to create something really original. I was thinking about motion blur technique, perhaps about small series of photos from nature created by using this technique because I haven’t seen it much in use lately, if not counting some experimental work. Then I was visiting blogs of the photographers I am following and, after some time, also of those who I’m not following regularly such as Jim Goldstein and there I saw it. Whole series of fantastic photos created by motion blur (and not only) technique called Color fields!

I was also thinking about my flower photography and, again, what could I do to achieve a unique results. I was thinking about the flower photography in general. You know, flower photographers are sometimes offended that they try to create perfect photos, looking only for perfect flowers without spotted or ragged petals, in the most fresh state, just open at best. So I thought, what if I’ll try to make great photos also with flowers which are not perfect? Those faded or wet or ragged or however crippled. I saw creations from photographers trying this but what I saw was usually morbid rather than nice. And then I visited, again after some time, blog by Mike Moats where I noticed his “Finding character in…” posts such as this one about Gerbera daisy or this about Black Eyed Susan.  Mike has created a whole book about it! Got it?

Ok, it doesn’t mean that I can’t use these amazing shots by amazing photographers as inspiration but it mainly means that I need to think a bit harder. Maybe I’ll come up with something unique one day. Or maybe I’m just too young and naive.

Last drop. Two weeks ago my friend visited me and when he was looking through my printed “portfolio” (quite emphasized word for it) he stopped with one monochrome photo in his hand saying “Wow, this is great! It looks exactly like those photos from IKEA!”

~Tulip Dreams ~
1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

If you also have such a “down” moments in these days, hopefully this fresh spring photo can cheer you up a bit.

Enjoy spring!

Technical note: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.


Ful or less?

24 03 2011

I mean colours. And a photo. Colourful or colourless? You probably know this. Sometimes when I am processing a photo I end up with satisfying result but then I start to think “how it would look like when applying this?” This is exactly the case of photos in this post. I took this photo some weeks ago along the photos presented in previous post but it took me some time to get down to the processing. The main reason was that I had 5 images with different plane of focus which I planned to merge into a stack to get bigger depth of field. I knew that it will require more time than routine post-processing which usually takes under half an hour. When I had the stacked image I knew that I want to make a painting from it. Well, a photograph which look like painted. I knew all the tools that I need (Photoshop, Alien Skin Snap Art 2) and also the process.  I wanted the result to look like this.

~ Intertwined (Oil on canvas) ~
1/15 – 1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4 – f/8, ISO 100

When I have a photo in Lightroom for usual processing I try application presets sometimes, just to see if something  fits the photo. I did it also this time and sepia preset did something that I really liked. I did only small tweaks to default settings and the result suddenly matches my “Flora in High-Key” series. And it can’t differ much more from the photo above.

~ FHK #10 – Intertwined ~
1/15 – 1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4 – f/8, ISO 100

I like both of them and it leads me to thoughts about suitability of different styles for different occasions. While colourful photo easily drags someone’s attention, as human eye is very sensitive to colours, the BW or toned photo must attract with something else because the main attraction – colours – are removed. Colourful photo looks very well on monitor and it can drag viewer’s attention easily even in thumbnail. Once he is trapped and viewing full size version he can enjoy all the details and additional processing. In case of the second photo it might look a bit mundane and “tasteless” at first sight. Viewer who is not enjoying this kind of photography will very probably move his eyes to something else soon.

Very often I think about my photographs as accessories to a living. Something to hang on a wall to make the place nicer or to give it some mood. If I think about the first, colourful, photo it’s not easy to find a place in our house where I would hang it. Or in any other house. I work with colours as with mood/atmosphere evokers and thus every colourful photo needs to be carefully chosen to work with the rest of the room or to create a contrast. Colour photos are good for places where energy flows. They can make living comfortable if well chosen or discomfortable or even irritating in opposite case.

The high-key photos, black and white photos, toned photos and such don’t give so much energy. They are not evoking strong emotions. They can evoke a sense of peace and relax, elegance and even glamour if well accompanied by other accessories in the room. For example we have this kind of photos in our bedroom. With earthy brown colour tones and simple modern furniture it creates fantastic atmosphere where it is pleasure to relax.

That’s how I see and understand “colourful” and “colourless” photos. How do you see it? How do you perceive it?


Enjoy the spring while thinking about it 😉

Technical note: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.

Practicing while waiting for spring

16 03 2011

This ending winter has been really strange. We had exceptional load of snow in December, then all the snow was gone and we had some exceptional temperatures (exceptionally low) in January. February was quite normal with one exception, there was no snow and whole winter was thus quite dry. Normally the snow melts down by the end of February and rainy chilly days come followed by warmer and more sunny days of spring. This year it seemed that spring will not come at all.

When spring pot flowers arrived to shops we bought some hyacinths soon and so we were “calling for spring” with them blooming on our dining table. I took the following photos 2 weeks ago and this week we finally had spring weather with sun on clear sky and really pleasant temperatures. I even heard about new plus records 2 days ago 🙂

I like to think that I called the spring even though I know how naive this thought is. Anyway, I found the hyacinth flower a great subject which left me with more than few satisfying images. I decided to practice my post processing skills resulting in different processing for each image. The following one was simple straight shot without any specific processing, only the usual adjustments for exposition, vibrance, saturation, contrast aso.

~ Peeping Pink ~
1/15 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I saw this photo on the LCD screen of my camera when I pointed itto the flower, chose a composition and locked the mirror. I think that the shutter is fully open in this case and image on screen looks even brighter than when it is taken. So I at least tried to close to what I saw and I think that I got very close.

Another photo is a close examination of hyacinth blossoms and their beautiful curves.

~ Calling Spring ~
1/20 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I liked the result after usual adjustments in Lightroom but the green background was a little bit too prominent and the green/brown stem on the right side was really distracting so I gave a try to a texture overlay. I used Pareeerica’s Crimson Grunge texture (thanks!) twice as overlay which blended all subjects on photo nicely together.

Next, and last for today, photo was the most complicated.

~ (Blooming) Towards Spring ~
1/30 sec. @ 100 sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

I liked the bokeh and I knew that I want to have the “main” blossom more in focus than what’s achievable with f/2.8. Therefore I took 2 photos with the same f-number but focused on different parts of blossom. During post processing I  used the one with more blurred background and I painted the in-focus petals from second photo (using Photoshop, each photo in 1 layer). Then the usual adjustments (brightness, clarity, saturation aso.) followed but the result wasn’t still satisfying as I wanted the blossom to pop out against the background. I took the photo to Photoshop again and applied Orton technique which gave it softer look and little bit more saturated colours. Then was the right time to make the blossom pop so I masked only the blossom and used High pass sharpenning method. Finally, this is what I was striving for.

I hope you like them. I have some 2 or 3 more images from the same photo session and I plan to give a different post processing to each also.

Enjoy the spring!

Technical notice: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.

Into the eye…

6 03 2011

I wonder what it is that power that forces us to look into the eyes of others? I bet you all know this. Sometimes you simply can’t resist to look into eye of other person or animal or sometimes, even flower. Now you can raise and objection that flowers don’t have eyes. Well, literally they don’t, of course, but don’t you think that center of blossom of some flower looks like an eye? Especially in cases when the flower center has a lot of interesting details such as in case of daisy, rose, clematis or… primula which you can see on following photo?

~ Psycho Primula ~
0.6 sec @ 100mm, f/8, ISO 100

Sometimes the “eye” of the flower has interesting colours, other times it has so many details that we don’t even recognize them until we look at them though macro lens. But they are always worthy to be investigated, in my opinion, and they always draw my attention. Try it sometimes. You might be surprised what you will find.

Enjoy the Spring sunday where Spring has already arrived!

Technical notice: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.