HDR photography of flowers with a light box creates the illusion of translucency, which is very attractive in itself. By fusing X-ray light and visible light in flower photography, one expands the photographic possibilities by reproducing the inner structures of the photographed plants or objects. The illusion of translucence is enhanced by the physical transparency of X-ray light. Even photographically non-transparent objects can be given the illusion of transparency by fusing X-ray light and visible light.
A publication by the dPunkt publishing house in „foto espresso“ gave me the opportunity to present this idea in the May 2023 issue.
Yesterday I came across a piece of music through a noble advertising trailer of a French watch company with the wonderful actors Catherine Deneuve and Rami Malek directed by Guy Ritchie. I was almost magically drawn to the film because there was a time when I lived in Paris.
But the most exciting thing was the soundtrack „Lilies of The Valley“, which exuded such an incredible lightness. I hadn’t heard of the composer Jun Myiake before, but I did know Arto Lindsay, who added his inimitable vocals. Perhaps one cannot leave the cosmos of one’s own taste.
That’s why I quickly set off to get some lilies in town. They were to be white lilies, of which I could only get two. Red lilies in all stages of blossoming I then allowed myself to enjoy. So I took some pictures with a mixed bouquet of paradisiacal blooming lilies.
Today the sun shone warmly, almost too warm for a day in mid-February. A few tulips given as gifts were getting older in the vase and one started to hang its head. They had delighted us with their colourfulness for many days.
So I decided to do a photo series with tulips on my lightbox.
Tulips are best suited for scenic representations because they look like a human person against a light background. Dance is the most obvious association I have then. The leaves become whirling arms. The flower is the head. The legs are not really needed.
If the tulips lie close together, you get the impression of a tapestry. The light from the lightbox penetrates well enough to create an airy effect.
Here they show themselves in a formation like a dance group.
The format for recording an image can be very variable when fusion imaging is involved. In the example below, the image on the left is taken with a Phase One IQ4. The sensor size is 44mm x 55mm. The X-ray image on the right was taken with a Hologic mammography system with a detector size of 24cm x 30cm. The aspect ratio of both images is 4:5. The pixel size of the IQ4 is 6.5µm, the pixel of the mammography is 70µm long. Nevertheless, the images can be fused well.
I added some texture to the fusion image because it made it more appealing. Due to the fusion of the image from „visible light“ and the image with „X-ray light“, the definition of whether it is a medium format image or a large format image is no longer meaningfully applicable. It is simply an image.
My LED ceiling light, which I use as a light box for flower photography, can be dimmed and the color temperature is adjustable. The cold and extremely bright light can be tamed and turned into faint, warm light. Together with my tent of linen, I manage to control the light.
With LiveView, the composition is created and the focus is worked out. The camera is controlled by cable connection via laptop (tethered shooting) and the recordings are made with mirror triggering. The colors become better and the impression of the picture more natural and vivid.
A sunny day in winter without training or weekend obligations: we can let ourselves drift a little. The Hermannshof in Weinheim with its botanical garden attracts many visitors, especially those with cameras. Many kneel or lie down on the floor to gain a beautiful perspective. You don’t notice dirty trousers. Rather, trousers like that ennobles the wearer.
First light welcomes a crocus when the sun shines abundantly and the joy of photographing is written on the face of all visitors.
Winter residual flowers in the first spring light: Helleborus
At the end of our sunny stroll we sat down in front of a café for a tea. We met this Siberian Husky in front of our café. It took me a while to recognize three legs and a shaved fur on her right hip. Due to a chondrosarcoma her owner had decided to have an operation on the dog. She did quite well, as far as a human may understand.
Changing colors in flowers are attractive, especially if you approach them closely. A group of 3 flowers looks like a communicative group. With targeted overexposure and instant images on the laptop, the compositional decision is easier and the colors become more picturesque, without too much processing with the computer.
A curtain over the illuminated background behind the focal plane creates an effect reminiscent of nebulae in the night sky.
Photography of flowers in a vase in an exposure series (HDR) is complicated by their light sensitivity, which causes a change of position in short time scales. Plants constantly rearrange their leaves and blossoms. This results in blurring, which can be compensated for e. g. by repeating the shot series, shorter exposure time series or tools for aligning the images. Or you can do your image without HDR, because the dynamic range of the camera data is sufficient.
The center of a Gerbera blossom is richly structured. Due to the high resolution of the camera back (150 MP), it is possible to crop out the center still in good resolution.
The transparent representation of the petals is achieved by using a light box. The light should be relatively bright, but does not have to be fully homogeneous. The heat of the light does not matter, it is adjusted using RAW format in post-processing. More informations about this method see web-pages of Harold Davis, who invented this method.
The most surprising thing this year was the selection of many of my pictures in the Flickr Explore stream. My best picture in 2021 is again a black and white, this time of the Bernese Alps with a view of the mountain chain Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The picture was taken on the Schilthorn when I fled the permanent James Bond exhibition.
The end of the year had some surprises in store for both of us. We drove to the Black Forest and hoped for snow to cool off. The snow did not come immediately and a red dawn on January 2nd seemed dangerous and not calming.With plenty of snow, alternating sunshine and snow drift, there were beautiful moments in the countryside in Breitnau near Hinterzarten.
With the help of some tips from a photographer friend I was in school with a long time ago, I tried to improve my photographic technique and post-processing. This includes the trick of placing a piece of newspaper in the sharpness plane of the lens in order to speed up the focus. Very effective.
I’ve been experimenting with macro shots or portraits that have a black background. For this I reduce the roomlight with the help of the electric shutters, the exposure time and the ISO value are increased. To improve the quality of the shots, I also used the method of frame averaging to get the RAW image with a single shot and sufficient quality.
Yesterday I was able to admire my friend Harold in a tutorial how he created LowKey HDR macro photographs using an exposure series from -4 EV to 0 EV. I tried all paths today with my Amaryllis, which I had bought 2 days ago.
The exposure series can be performed for LowKey pictures and HighKey pictures. Through the systematic under-exposure one can create a beautiful black background. The use of a surface spotlight creates transparencies with HighKey effect.
The LED lightbox can be placed vertically on the wall. With two clamps you attach the black velvet as a background and loosen the clamp gently to create the HighKey image after switching on the lightbox.
A series of exposures with 5 shots between -4 EV and 0 EV is sufficient to capture the set in high quality.
For the first composition today I started with cornflowers on a lightbox. I always have liked cornflowers with their typical cornflower blue. With this composition I wanted to show different stages of cornflower development in one image.
I developed a combination of colours that the garden offered me with the craspedia globosa to create this picture, in which red, blue, yellow and green play a leading role.