Lilies of the Valley
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.
Spring Dance of Tulips
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.
White and purple orchid
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.
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 also liked very much the yellow of a craspedia globosa that Christa bought this morning. To bring out the colors I decided to install them in my „darkroom studio„. I made the image as a frame average of some 15 exposures, 3s each at f/16 and ISO 800.
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.
Callas and pink fern leave
For a short time the winter kept us still. Nature offers many motifs, the effect of which depends on the time of the day.
Shortly after, the snow has said goodbye to us. Still very, very cold cloudless nights, more and more often glorious sunny days let you catch your breath.
Yesterday I came across Calla lilies and rosé-fixed fern at the florists’s. „Expensive“, she told me. But I was already determined wether the many possibilities I had in mind.
Through a chemical process, the fern has received a fixation and new color. That would make it durable for many compositions ….
The next day, I combined the callas and the fern to a single composition. With a background the image looks soft and dreamy. This texture puts a kind of patina over the image.
With daylight and a lightbox I took the cut off flower of an Alstromeria. With the lens I’m able to approach the bloom on approximately 20 cm. The blossom then fills almost the entire sensory. The ratio of the mapping is thus approximately 1:1.
The quality of the RAW images is convincing in itself. The creation of the finished HDR takes place in a combination of manual and automated steps.
RAW conversion is done using CaptureOne, HDR processing is done manually in Photoshop. Further, I generated two automated HDR developments using HDR Efex Pro 2 and Photomatix Pro 6 and layered them in. Some of the original color is transferred from the daylight image with the lightbox switched off.
A small stock of raw footage is always lying on my laptop. My florist had been able to give us a few flowers, some of which were sacrificed after a couple of days on my lightbox. These days in a hospital I benefit while the healing remains to be seen.
Is it possible to retain the idea of a picture for a long time ? What happens to the colors when you no longer have the originals in front of your eyes ? The blossom of the peonies looked like a living eye staring at me, not necessarily a human, maybe an animal.
The tulip offered a wild confusion of petals. Unfortunately, it was monochrome orange.
The amaryllis showed an incredibly intense red. I managed to show the intensity best on a black background than on a white one. I use the inversion of the L-channel in Lab color mode.
Lockdown flower shots
Our flower shops are sold out or closed. There’s nothing new to buy. Thank God. This allows me to take a closer look a t the seasonal flowers we have at home.
Photographing a white amaryllis against a white background I found particularly attractive in the last few days. Because it also contains many colors that you can bring out.
Concerning color a less courageous image is the left one, only shadows and some etheral green from inside the flower. Using Lab color mode and some ideas of my friend Harold Davis this image can get more pizzazz, as shown on the right hand side.
The plant broke off and had to be placed in a vase, but there it developed surprisingly well and even quite symmetrically, giving me the impression of antennas that listen into space because they look similar tho those with which Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the cosmic background radiation. A lightbox as background is easy to realize with a LED for the ceiling that you can get in any hardware store.
The blossoming red amaryllis has two sides, so I had the chance to photograph them both. In my eyes, one side resembled a dinosaur’s head and upper neck as it is about reach for food. Loosely based on an Arabic proverb: „If you see the dinosaur’s tongue, don’t think he’s smiling“.