Tulips in Black & White

27 04 2011

Tulips are amazing flowers. So graceful and delicate with their thick wax petals, tall stems and proudly standing heads. We have been buying cut flowers to our bedroom very often in last months and tulips were the most frequent ones. Once we bought beautiful white tulips which turned out to be the variety with much more petals then only those surrounding the blossom’s center. I decided to try both high-key and low-key kind of photos with them beside some macro shots of center details which I will present in some of next posts. Now I would like to present one high key photo and one low key. Here is the first one:

~ FHK #011 – White Tulip ~
1/3 sec. @ 100 mm, f/10, ISO 100

It was tricky to get all subjects in the photo with right tonality because the leaf on the left side was very dark. Finally, the luminosity masking technique produced the best result.

Following photo is more classical low key image than those from previous post. I leave the judgment up to you.

~ FLK #003 – Trinity ~
1/3 sec. @ 100 mm, f/16, ISO 100

I tried various presets of conversion to B&W but after all I manualy changed the tones and their lightness in Lightroom. It was also a bit tricky to get all the details as I wanted. I wanted high contrast but I didn’t want to loose all details in leaves. I must say that I’m pretty happy with the result.

Let me know if you like these photos or not and why. What works for you, what would you change or do differently? This all helps me to understand how you perceive my creations and how could I do it better next time.

Enjoy spring!

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


Tulip in Low Key

10 04 2011

I will start generally. Low key lighting which is used in photography or film industry is a technique using usually only 1 light source and working with a strong contrast. You will find monochromatic or almost monochromatic images in low key very often. Photos created with this technique evoke feelings of darkness, deep sadness and strong tension. If I say “noir” and “Sin City” I think you are at home.

Or I can say it even more simply. Low key photograph has all the information (or at least majority) in lower half of the histogram. In opposite high key photograph it is vice versa. See histogram below for one of photos in this post.

Since I took first photos in high key more than one year ago (look at this post about it) I always wanted to try a low key photo of some flower. I always imagined a dark flower with black or very dark background even though  it is posible to make a low key photo with almost any flower, or generally any subject, no matter if it is bright or dark. Still I wanted to try it with dark flower. I really liked the idea of “dark on dark”.

When I was in a flower shop to buy something to shoot with during unexpectadly free day couple weeks ago I saw beautiful very dark violet tulips with ragged petals (parrot tulips?).

After lunch when light in our dining room is optimal (we have a big window there so it’s my temporary studio) I started a session with these beautiful tulips. I took quite a lot of photos and was able to process only part of them. Very first one was the photo in this post and as you can see it wasn’t a low key photo at all. Still I took the session with intention of creating low key images. Quite soon I realized a problem with natural lighting. For high key image you need a strong ambient light (indirect light or shade is a must for flower photography) and just keep an eye on a histogram to not overexpose a single pixel. For a low key image ambient/indirect light isn’t enough. With dark flowers there is always danger that even the ambient light will create reflections on some parts of the flower. In this case I got ugly reflections on petals and I needed to additionally shade the flower. This resulted in very limited light then. Fortunatelly it was enough for some decent aperture times. Finally I was able to process 2 images below which would make for a nice diptych in my opinion.

~ FLK #1 – Tulip ~
1 sec. @ 100 mm, f/5.6, ISO 100
~ FLK #2 – Ragged ~
1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/6.3, ISO 100

As I wrote in the beggining, low key technique works with higher contrast. Here the contrast is more than twice higher in comparison with my other/”normal” photos.

I am so happy with these photos that I decide to start a new series with them. As I already have Flora in High Key series, the new one is called analogically, Flora in Low Key. It is true that I haven’t seen much floral photos in low key so far so I think it is quite original and I’m really looking forward reactions of viewers and yours as well, of course.

Enjoy spring flowers in full bloom!

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

Getting to market, step 1

7 04 2011

I announced my goal for this year – getting my photos to a market – in one of my previous posts. I did some small preparations when a very pleasant surprise met me and I’ll write about it in one of my next posts for sure. Let’s focus on the “getting to market goal” now.

My first step on the road ought to be offering my photos in a gallery hosted by the printing company where I make my photos printed. I have already sent my photos there but they haven’t been published, yet. Ok, never mind. They will do it soon, I guess.

Maybe a month ago my wife stuck on a web site called fler.cz. My local visitors will probably know it. It is the biggest local web portal for artists and craftsmen (no mass production) allowing them to offer their products on the portal pages for a commission. Something like a local version of etsy.com. I browsed the shop and I really liked what I found there. Frankly, I like the stuff there more and more 🙂 Moreover, I looked through a gallery of photographers offering their photos there and I found out that such a type of photography as I’m doing is not present there so my work will “fill the gap” in their portfolio. And “fler” if it comes from “fleur” in French means a blossom! What a match 😀

~ Seedy Mum ~
4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/10, ISO 100

It took me some time before I finally decided to put my work on display and so from now on you can see and buy my first 15 photos there. There is a LOT of various photos on the server so I’m really wondering if my works will interest someone to buy it. Time will tell. I know that the key is to have a bigger offer than just 15 images and I plan to update it regularly. I’ll definitelly do a recap after some time and I’m really looking foward to it.

Until then, enjoy the spring in full bloom!

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