Longtime exposures hold a special appeal for me. Again and again I try do do it. I found the idea for this picture in a book about modern photography. The photographer took a picture of flowers in a vase with a specially built camera for many days until the first petals fell. The passing of time, which often cannot be experienced directly by us, can thus be illustrated by a photograph. Due to the new corona virus we had plenty of time at home to make flower photographs.
With my macro lens I can only realize the aperture value f/32, which means that even at ISO 50 the exposure time dose not rise above 15s possible when the lightbox is turned on. As an approximation to a true long-time exposure, I started a series of 23 HDR images at irregular intervals over the course of 4 days, just as it became apparent that my tulips would rise wide.
Each HDR image was created from6 shots at f/32 and ISO 50 with exposure times of 0.5s, 1s, 2s, 4s, 8s and 15s. The biggest difficulty was to block off a part of our living room before Christmas so that the exposures could always be done in the same way. Furthermore, the camera was not allowed to be changed by switching it on and off, changing the exposure times or removing the memory card.
I processed the layer stack of 23 TIF images in two ways. First straightforward as a smart object and then change the stacking mode in Photoshop as an average. Or fade out the layers after the start shot using black layer masks and gradually paint in interesting parts of the later images with a soft brush to create an overall impression. This approach was more promising to me than averaging the layer stack, which in my eyes expresses the flow of time too weakly.
Just to do the math: each image of my camera has 151 million pixels with a file size between 125 and 180 MByte in RAW format and 866 MByte after a RAW conversion to a TIF file. The total size of the project is something above 300 GB. 138 RAW files sum up to nearly 21 Billion Pixels. The final image has 159 million pixels due to some added background at the top of the result.
With flowers we create feelings and express feelings. With flowers we want to elicit feelings. If they aren’t just a comfortable souvenir, that is not suitable for the wall or the shelf.
Their color is not enough to stimulate our emotions. It’s also their shape and a composition. I took a friend to my favorite florist to design a bouquet from the available flowers end of September. The central component were two specimens of a cockscomb, one in red and one in purple.
A not insignificant part of the enjoyment is the creation of the composition, together with a sensitive florist. At home I photographed the bouquet with the horizontally aligned, rectangular Lightbox in the background. It’s, of course, an HDR image, combined of shots with the Lightbox switched on and off. A final greeting of the noticeably farewell summer.
Farewell has always been a theme of flowers. Without color, subject only to the effect of light, exposing a feeling for the original color, the black-and-white image of a flower becomes intensified. The same day at sunset, with an exposure speed of 6 minutes at ISO 50, I obtained the following picture, which made me immediately think of The Godfather: I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.
It had take a long time until I had chosen a beautiful floral arrangement and d the florist had bound it presentably. I was just about to complete the purchase when I noticed a wonderful Gladiole.
„I’ll give it to you for free of charge, it has already fully blossomed“, said the owner. My thanks to her are the following pictures of this flower, which I made with my lightbox in the background.
Light is subject to permanent change. The transformations of light accompany us always. In the course of the day, we immerse ourselves in the light of various sources and their shaping unnoticed. In a photograph, too, the imperceptible shaping of light is our companion.
The light in a photograph and its impression is shaped or transformed by postproduction. The changeability of the light by postproduction helps an image to its final expression.
What light do we see in our dreams ? What light do we see when pre-visualizing an image ? What light do we see when we get the idea to a photograph ? The latter light we experience like „a flash within a long night“. It is only after the completion of the work that relaxation may take place.
Having learned how to do focus stacking on my PhaseOne camera, I made two series of 20 macro images with a rose on a lightbox, the box switched on and off for the two series. Combining the two light situations made this image possible.
You may find more roses here.
Tulips have become an attraction to me. For a long time I found them extremely boring and meaningless. That has changed over many years. Should I have become older because of that ?
We also have many tulips in our garden. A group of red tulips at the edge of then planted tomato bed is particularly beautiful. But is this beauty also photographicable ?
The beauty in a vase is the epitome of transience. In the meantime, changing light conditions trigger a feeling of tension and happiness in me. This bouquet of tulips has been staying with us for a week now.
With my iPhone I took a shot in our living room. Filter apps help me to get a presentable result.
Today I wanted to try out the same light with the tulips, which spoils my eyes every day with the orchids.
As one can see, our tulips in the living room get already weaker. They are old guys now. Fresh water doesn’t really help. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. How sad is that.
For more than a year I observed a special light condition in our bathroom, where orchids usually lead a more or less varied life. During the last weeks new blossoms showed up. I felt a sense of a gleaming white. Would it be photographable ?
Our lives have fundamentally changed during the last 5 weeks. There is more time now for private life. Fortunately we have a small garden to enjoy the sun. And we talk to friends in video sessions like FaceTime. But still 3 Weeks of quarantine is a challenge.
How wonderfully soft these orchids caress me in their shimmering light ! They shall accompany me through this time.
A print is different from a posted image on a website. The expression of precision and painting in some cases is created in print better through a background. I prefer a print, because a print starts a personal communication with an image.
Inspired by a photography of german photographer Michael Wesely, I tried to superimpose the movements of orange tulips in a white vase to create an equivalent to a longtime exposure image. A longtime exposure with 3 or 4 days exposure time was unfortunately not possible for me. Therefore I took 35 pictures with my camera at irregular intervals dictated by occupational requirements whose pixels were to be averaged. Here 4 examples of the highly active flowers in a vase:
Each RAW image has a file size of 125 MB, after RAW conversion this was 580 MB per image as TIF. The entire stack had a size of 21,5 GB. The image of the average then becomes 580 MB again. The pure mean value image was interesting to me but not exciting. Therefore I took this image and layered in parts of original images. The result became convincing:
Harold says: 9 out of ten attempts fail. That’s a good consolation. What happened ?
A company and I could not agree on the fee for an annual calendar 2020. I liked the selection of the proposed pictures, consisting of flower macros and fusion images with X-ray. „Don’t call us, we call you !“
I’m not a merchant and I don’t live on sales. But how many have to listen to such sentences every day.
With a little help from my elder daughter I did the calendar on my own.
Since days with an unsafe walk afflicted after an impact trauma with the head against a sloping roof in a Black Forest hotel last weekend I walk today after the first rain for weeks through our garden. Everything’s shines in rich colors under raindrops.
My first image is an attempt to capture two colors.
Warm and cold colors combined in these heucheria leaves.
Conflowers like stars within two colors.
Karl Blossfeldt was a German photographer who lived from 1865 to 1932. He didn’t think himself a photographer. With his studies of plant forms he made an enormous contribution to plant photography. Here is a nice wikipedia article about him.
He started to do photograms. Plants or parts of plants were placed directly on film or paper suitable for exposure. Exposure then takes place without any optics. Later he built himself a wooden camera, which reminds me of Andreas Feininger.
Black and white backlit macro images with a background can be similar to Blossfeldt’s images.