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.
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“.
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.
Melitta was looking for an image in her new kitchen. She felt a fusion image of a fruit basket to be too dark. The fusion image technique is not restricted to black and white or monochrome (FAQ: Fusion imaging). With only few structural content in the X-ray of the fruits I better inverted the background of the image and sponsored a golden backdrop like an ancient greek icon. You still can see some X-ray properties looking at the lychees or the bananas. As a print its appearance was best.
Also appropriate for a kitchen would also be an image of an artichoke. If I put it on a lightbox, there is always some resemblance to a copperplate print, which I like personally. This blooming artichoke is a type of a food image, if you spend some phantasy.
A little change of perspective gives more direct access to the blooms. Every image shown in this blog entry is a combination of manual HDR and software assisted HDR. That way I get best results. The background helps to create the look and feel of ageing and simulating a print.
The artichoke presented above has some resemblance to a thistle. By chance we have a place not far from home with lots of them. Old railroad tracks had been removed and converted into bike trails nearby our house. So we went this morning by bike to get a thistle of the former track bed for an image.
As there is so much structure in these images, I felt tempted to convert my artichoke and thistle images into monochrome. To some extent they resemble images of Karl Blossfeldt.
So often I tried to image a Heucheria leaf. It doesn’t seem complicated. With less saturation the impression of a water color image emerges of a single leaf.
Going on with my Blossfeldt studies I need a background for this image. An image with background exerts a special charm. A paper structure fits well.
Only the conversion to black and white comes closer to the impression of a Blossfeldt macro.
It feels like very long ago. Harold and I were taking the shots and X-rays of new compositions last week of April this year. Our first try was an orchid with two stems. The transparency effect is very much augmented using an X-ray. A stem behind petals doesn’t show easily in HDR light box photography.
With a Phase One camera at my disposal a strong crop of the composition shows the tenderness of our orchid much better. With a resolution still sufficient.
Clematis is a reliably blossoming flower in our garden. Every year we look forward to her blooms for many weeks. Photographing flowers means sacrificing beautiful little things. It took me some time to go there.
With growing experience I feel less pain to sacrifice a bloom for artistic purposes. It relieves me a little, that I have the blooms swum after my photo and X-ray sessions in a soup-plate filled with water which is in the kitchen. Many people like the floating blooms in a soup-plate, if they are in a break.
The HDR series of my composition with three clematis gave me a hard time. Although a tripod is indispensable and always used, a small pixel shift between exposures was perceivable. After fixing this, light, color and structure was processed for an HDR image.
The X-ray of the three clematis was performed as mammography due to the size of my composition. The fusion image can be understood as a texturized HDR by means of a radiograph. But there is no unique solution to all compositions. The best solution has to be found out individually.
After all, the clematis look as light as a feather in this image. It was worth it.
Long lasting blossoms, turning up every year: my purple clematis in our garden.
It was my third X-ray session with flowers this week. Third fusion imaging attempt. After blue cornflower and blue aquilegia now a purple clematis. Big data on my hard disk.
Today we did it with mammography at 30 kV and 50 mAs. Lower noise ! Here is the positive representation of a single clematis:
I processed the lightbox HighKey series with a mask. There was a shift of 2 or 3 pixels from the lightest to the darker images. So I processed everything a second time to compensate for the shift. The HDR image shows a cut stalk. Photoshop is made for this.
The stalk can be lengthened like in the preceding X-ray. The fusion image shows hidden leaves, the core of the blossom and stalks much better:
The flower looks pretty fragile now, close to its natural appearance.
First flowers in spring show up. With much support from my colleagues I’m able to do some fusion images. We all would like to have another calendar.
Preparing the lightbox, the X-ray machines, my camera and picking out the data is a bunch of hassle.
My personal favorite is the blue cornflower. It looks like a print of an old botanic book:
The next day I turned my attention to our white and blue Aquilegias. No chance to process the raw data yesterday. Eventually, there was a chance today, after quite a bit of tedious work at my desk:
Fusion imaging is beauty made of composite X-ray images and HDR images on a light box. The primary question is what energy fits best for flowers. To my experience 40 kV is often suitable. But: the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Mammography systems start e.g. from 20 kV and reach 39 kV. The sensor is up to 24cm x 30cm. Conventional systems start from 40 kV and reach 125 kV. The sensor is up to 43cm x 43cm what makes them more attractive to floral compositions.
The higher resolution and the lower energies of a mammography will suit better for transparent objects. But the spatial limit of a composition (which is 24cm x 30cm) might put hard restrictions on the artist.
Floral compositions have more creative space with a bigger sensor. But the X-ray tube starts with 40 kV and this might lead to overexposure of tender structures.
Thus I performed today more than ten compositions to study this relation.
After four exposure of three tulips I found this composition with four dense blossoms attractive to go further. The composition might somehow resemble to a sketch of three angels. The image is nice due to very soft edges of their „wings“, technically blown out portions in the image. The inner structure of the nearly closed blossoms is well resolved. The stalks serve as „body“. There is no advantage with higher energies.
The same composition was done immediately after the X-ray as a bracketing series on a lightbox. After returning I processed a manual HDR, the colors not to warm.
The final fusion image is a composite of the preceding two images. Compared to the lightbox photo, the hidden stalks reappear naturally, the inner petals are outlined like a sketch.