Succulent in infrared

13 01 2012

We renovated and partly rebuilt our living in autumn 2010 but our living room was not completed yet last summer. We wanted to hang some 2 vertical photos above the sofa and we were thinking about something elegant, perhaps in black and white. Moreover, we wanted the phtos to have some link, perhaps presenting the same subject. Of course that I wanted to use my photos but as no 2 were suitable for this I had to make some new ones.

I was drawn to succulents in our garden (Sempervivum tectorum to be exact) by that time, observing simple, yet elegant, lines of their leaves. One day I finally decided to take some photos of them and started processing them immediately. Have you ever realized how much dirt is on the flower having its leaves only couple centimetres above the ground? I had to clone out around 100 specks on each photo! When photos where “clean” enough I tried different presets in Lightroom and really liked what infrared preset did with photos. A light touch of sepia and it was ready.

0.6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/22, ISO 100

1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/16 ISO 100

Even though I was really happy with the result after some time of watching the photos we decided to not hang them because if you observe it for a while you will notice tiny thorns on edges of leaves and it doesn’t evoke pleasant feelings. So after all we chose different solution but I still like these photos and therefore I want to share them here with you.

If you wonder what was the final solution, it couldn’t have been more different. We selected 8 photos from my collection, four in white tones, other four quite colourful and we put them together so that it makes a somewhat compact unit. This is nice example of how initial idea can change radically and still be acceptable.

Let me know if you like these photos with inverted-like feel and enjoy the winter until that time.

Technical information: photos in this post were taken with camera Canon EOS 450 and Canon EF 100mm USM f/2.8 macro lens, mounted on a tripod, under natural conditions, outdoors.




12 responses

14 01 2012

Both fine compositions – glad you found something else. You should post a version fo what you decided to hang instead.

14 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thanks Tom, I must take a photo of the wall in living room so I can post it. Be patient, please 😉

14 01 2012

I can relate to what you have written here quite well. First on the dirt – it is amazing the things the camera picks up that we didn’t quite realize at the time of exposure isn’t it? I have seen this so often. Then again, my eyes aren’t very good at zooming to 100% either. 🙂

That is a very good observation about the “points.” I think a lot of people don’t realize that at first, but certain shapes can have negative feelings associated with them. It is one of the most fascinating areas of photography. And given that, I find the top image a bit more appealing because the points aren’t directed towards my eyes. 🙂 I think these worked well with the infrared look.

14 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Mark. Re. the dirt, when I saw the photos for the first time I was really discouraged from processing them by the amount of specks 😦

I think that each of these photos has slightlz different feel, the first one is about flows creatd by angle of view and shapes of leaves pointing more upwards. The second one is about the overlaying leaves in the center and then almost exponential distance between leaves as they grow from the center.

16 01 2012
Barbara Kile

I love your choice of processing and the tones are beautiful. I hope you find some place to hang these images!

16 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thank you, Barbara. I’m afraid that I have no more room for my newest photos 😦 Good thing is that I can replace some of the older ones time from time.

16 01 2012

I, for one, can relate to your arduous process of removing dust specks from white flowers! I so respect your taking the time to do so as, a pet peeve of mine is when I see a gorgeous photograph and my eye immediately goes to the dust specks, or spider web strands or petal damage. In fine art photography, who wants to see such imperfections?

The processing on these works so well and the tones are lovely. I, too, have created images and then, once up in a space, decide I had it completely wrong. Matching the right artwork, to the right frame and the right room is NOT easy!

16 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

You are speaking from my soul, Tracy. Single speck or spiderweb thread can ruin whole photo in my eyes even though the photo is otherwise perfect. Therefore I take the time and patience to remove all possible subjects for viewer’s distraction.

We, flower photographers, are sometimes offended that we use tools such as photoshop to make “fake” immaculate flowers. I think that most of people rather lay their sight on something beautiful than on something disgusting or somewhat disturbing. There are flower photographers who intentionally take photos of dying flowers but this is not appealing to me. I want to capture nature/flower in its full beauty and if I use a tool to help it a little bit then who cares? I think that it can be compared to a model putting her make-up on to discretely hide the imperfections of complexion.

17 01 2012

I agree! This is how I feel…when something is captured in 2D, any and all flaws/imperfections are magnified. So, just like I’d soften or remove flaws in a portrait, I do the same for my flowers UNLESS the flaw and/or imperfection is something so unique or interesting the image would suffer if removed. Another way to look at it is, would a painter paint IN a speck or flaw on a flower? I think not, so why would I leave one in? 🙂

17 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

I think we have exactly the same thinking, Tracy.

17 01 2012
Anita Bower

These images are lovely. I completely understand about the dirt on plants–noticed only when seen on the computer monitor.
I, too, would like to see the arrangement you came up with for your room.
Do you have lots of your photos up on your walls?

17 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Ok, ok, I’ll take a photo of the arrangement and post it in some of next posts as a side photo 😉 As to my photos on our walls, we have 8 photos in a living-room in one arrangement above sofa (+2 photos of my kids but this doesn’t count, right?), 1 photo in a hallway, 1 in kitchen and 2 are in a bedroom of my in-laws 1 floor below us. I think that there is still place for let’s say 1 photo in kitchen and 1 mid-sized or 2 smaller in a hallway 🙂

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