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.
The darkroom was the centre of analogue photography. In a darkroom were created the copies of a picture on photo paper, which had been planned when shooting with camera and film.
The “digital darkroom” is in a way the continuation of the darkroom from analogue times. Nowadays, the role of the film is taken over by the RAW image. The development of the film was linked to chemistry, intentional light and shadow effects and fine feeling. Each print was unique.
The “digital development” or postprocessing is non-destructive, repeatable and delivers a result, which at least theoretically can be printed as often as desired. In the digital workflow no print is unique anymore.
With a dark background and systematic shading of daylight, my photo studio became a darkroom where I could photograph flowers. Exposure times became longer, almost like a long-term exposure at night outside. The saturation of the colors came out surprisingly strong.
The creation of a floating cloud with the help of white tulle did not require shading to achieve the effect of a darkroom. As my friend Lorenz mentioned, looking closer you can see nice interference patterns (Newtonian rings). I’m happy with this image idea: the image got two days later a Flickr in explore.
The soft variations of light and shadow fit well to a soft vetch.
Heidelberg Castle is a landmark. In winter its red color becomes softer. For one winter Frederick V. became king with his home in this castle. After that, Germany sank into the 30 Years War. The castle had been ruined already by fire a couple of years before.
The delicacy and dreaminess of a photo is not always the result of intensive digital processing. The ranuncula of the following image hardly needed editing. You can feel it. With a tripod and a 85mm Lensbaby velvet at f/16 I shot this image with really delicate color.
The lavish feast is over. Paradise is no more. The king went into exile. We’re staying.
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.