Revisiting subject

20 01 2012

Originally I wanted to name this post Cool colours in warm winter because we have exceptionally warm winter this year but then the day after taking the photo which is accompanying this post we got snow and it lasts for more than a week now. So let’s leave the title and move to the real content of this post.

If you are taking photos for longer time you have probably came through the situation when you would like to take a photo of a subject which you photographed in past or it just happens that such a subject lands in front of your lens. Then you probably know that if you tend to investigate the subject very well, as I do, it is more complicated next time. The truth is that there are subjects which are so variable that you can take a photo of them every time and it will be always a little bit different. This is valid for subjects with complicated structures and as I am a flower photographer a nice example of such a subject for me are roses as every single rose has differently folded petals and they exist in uncountable amount of colour varieties. Then there are subjects which look like the same but you can add difference by changing background and angle of view. Such a subject is for example cyclamen. And then there are subjects which are more complicated and it takes time to take a photo in a different, previously not taken way. I found this challenge with hyacinth this year.

Hyacinths exists in five colour variants (white, yellow, pink, burgundy red and blueish violet), as far as I know. Beside colour the flower as such looks always the same. A cluster of trumpet-shaped blossoms placed one next to each other. Two years ago I examined a white hyacinth from bigger distance and took a photo of more flowers in this cluster resulting in this photo. Last year I examined pink variety more closely, resulting in this series of photos. This year I finally got a blue/violet variety which I always wanted to have. BUT, when I started to examine it with a camera on a tripod I was surprised how difficult it was to find something appealing this time. I found several compositions but they were mostly copies of the photos which I took last year. After some 15-20 minutes and couple of not-fully-satisfying captures I found one which I really liked.

~ Cool Hyacinth ~
0.3 @ 100 mm, f/2.8 ISO 100

The flower was placed in contra light so the blossoms in direct light turned slightly to blue whereas blossoms in a shade turned out in violet and the colour combination was really interesting; the shade of blue reminds me colour of icebergs. I decided to go with fully open aperture to get as much smooth colours as possible and I think that it turned out really well. It reminds me a pastel drawing. As usually I took this photo also with higher f-stops and later I layered together the one taken at f/2.8 with one taken at f/10 and I used the latter one to paint pistils with more details into the softer one (layered and painted in Photoshop).

So after all I ended up with a photo which does not look like any photo of a hyacinth I took so far and that’s exactly what was aiming for.

Even though revisiting the same subject in photography may seem as tedious or boring, I find it challenging and I think that it is great for training photography eye and creativity. Try it, it’s fun!

Technical information: the photo 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.




13 responses

20 01 2012

A wonderful exercise with splendid results!

21 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Melanie.

22 01 2012
Barbara Kile

Beautiful close up and the pastel colors are to die for!

22 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thank you very much, Barbara. Such a compliment from you is the highest appreciation.

22 01 2012
Anita Bower

You are quite right that it is difficult to shoot some subjects in new and interesting ways. You succeeded here. Lovely soft colors and shapes. For me, the sharp pistils in a different color, are a bit jarring.

22 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thanks for honest comment, Anita. I think that I understand why you see those pistils so. As I thought about it I came to a conclusion that the main subject in this photo are the colours and “flows” and the pistils are distracting viewer’s eyes rather than opposite. Is it what you meant?

24 01 2012
Bernie Kasper

Wonderful work Tomas… man I wish I could get some time to shoot more, your work makes me homesick for macro !!!

24 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Hi Bernie, long time no hear! I’m glad that you like it and that it evokes something in you.

24 01 2012

Hi Thomas,
Flowers are a great but not always easy subject to photograph. I like the way you have approched it, trying to do something you have not done before.
All the best,

24 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Ingrid. I always try to use a creative approach, I don’t want to copy other and even less the others.

25 01 2012

Beautifully captured! I admire your persistance! At times, I have dismissed photographing a certain flower because I had already photographed it prior and have thought I wouldn’t be able to see anything ‘new’. Now, I KNOW that isn’t true, and have probably cheated myself out of some nice captures. When I have put in the time to closely examine an already-photographed-flower, I must admit, I am rarely disappointed.

Thank you for reminding me that it pays to go back time and time again! 🙂

26 01 2012
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Tracy. It’s interesting that when I am examining subject which I photographed earlier I usually find something interesting at time when I start thinking about giving up. It happened twice in past month so I guess that persistence is the key here.

2 02 2012
Anita Bower

Tomas: To answer your question, yes, you understood me perfectly.

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