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Member's ShowcaseFading Sunflower

Nature's beauty cannot be expressed more perfectly than in its flora.
- Flowers and plants in any state, from natural to arranged, outdoor or indoor.
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Charles Haacker
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Fading Sunflower

Postby Charles Haacker » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:05 am

I've been shooting so little lately but I suddenly wanted to shoot something. My DIL has a plot in a community garden and brought home a sunflower she grew. Days ago. It is in water but it's fading fast. The center looks icky and spiderwebby. I decided I needed to photograph it (better than doing the dishes), but I didn't really want to do a lot of actual, um, work? :)

I am a long-time available light freak, the more so since getting into digital 10 years ago and discovering how forgiving it is, even in mixed light, the more so when shooting raw. I am also lazy and I really did need to do the dishes so I didn't want to waste a lot of time. I thought perhaps I could get away with shooting it in situ if I got in very close with a wide aperture. That should nicely blur the background and obviate the need to do much set dressing (lazy, see?). There were some things back there that, if thrown sufficiently out of focus, might serve to add some interest but not distraction. 8):

I put my much loved Sony RX10 on its tripod, set everything in full manual, remembered (for once) to turn off the vibration reduction, and set up the shot, very tight at equiv. 80mm, f/3.2 (almost wide open) with artificial light coming from the kitchen to camera left and the dominant overhead lights giving slight back light. No flash, no reflector. I made three exposures, 1-sec, 2-sec, and 4-sec. I thought I might try a simple Lightroom HDR.

Below is the LR tweaked version of the straight 1-second exposure.
DSC07540.EMlr.jpg


And below is the LR HDR using all 3 exposures. I did nothing with them before making the HDR. All tweaking was done afterward, then I tried to make the straight 1-sec version look as close as I could to the HDR. if you open them in tabs and toggle between them there is not a lot of difference except for there being slightly more detail in the spider webbed center. I do very little HDR so this is an experiment.
DSC07538-HDR.EMlr.jpg


So the "spoiler" below shows the challenge! The actual setup, with the overhead "main light." Yes the place is a mess and I don' wanna hear about it! :oops: The main thing is I am bone-lazy but I still think it'sa not bad pitcher considerin'. And yes, I got the dishes done! :|
► Show Spoiler
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Charles Haacker
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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby Charles Haacker » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:07 am

As another afterthought I wondered what it would look like in B&W. I don't personally care for it. It lacks the glow of the original.
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DSC07538-HDR.EMlr-2.jpg
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby PietFrancke » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:12 am

like a glowing sun, I think it is awesome. I don't think your place is a mess, in fact, I notice that you have some available wall space. GET TO WORK AND FILL IT!!!!

yeah -- BW isn't working for me..

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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby minniev » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:19 pm

Wonderful, Chuck. The color ones win out for me, they're beautiful. I am partial to flowers past their prime and riddled with flaws, those are the ones that are most interesting to me. You've done a masterful job of coaxing the beauty out of this one. I like the almost high-key approach, using that available light. It reminds me of some that Harold Davis does with a lightbox.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Charles Haacker
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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby Charles Haacker » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:09 pm

PietFrancke wrote:like a glowing sun, I think it is awesome. I don't think your place is a mess, in fact, I notice that you have some available wall space. GET TO WORK AND FILL IT!!!!

yeah -- BW isn't working for me..

Thanks so much, Piet. The problem with filling the wall space is that our tiny fambly is in temporary quarters, an apartment, until something. The Kidz' original plan when they moved here to Lincoln in January was to buy a house. Life has intervened. :doh:
minniev wrote:Wonderful, Chuck. The color ones win out for me, they're beautiful. I am partial to flowers past their prime and riddled with flaws, those are the ones that are most interesting to me. You've done a masterful job of coaxing the beauty out of this one. I like the almost high-key approach, using that available light. It reminds me of some that Harold Davis does with a lightbox.

Thank you, Min. I did it as high-key to further minimize the no-kidding paper towels still in plastic bags serving as backdrop ;) . I immediately looked up Harold Davis and Oh Wow! What gorgeous stuff! He says, "...a continuous lighting source is easier to use because you can immediately see the impact of the lighting on translucency." I hadn't thought it through, but I think now that is one reason I am so dedicated to available light: I like the light to be as I see it. Sure, I used to use powerful studio strobes and speedlights for everything, and the big studio lights had modeling lamps that helped see the effect, but shooting film meant that you really didn't know what you had until you processed it. In my case that led to a kind of cookie-cutter lighting scheme for many things because it was predictable. I no longer have any lights except for a small hot shoe flash that I hardly ever use, but I think if I went nuts and bought a light kit, it would be continuous.
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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby minniev » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:49 pm

Those paper towels were sheer genius! Look how well they worked!

I don't use flash, only have a small flash that I usually can't find anyway but generally use only for fill flash anyway. I prefer natural light.

Glad you enjoyed Harold Davis's work,he does so many different kinds of photography. His flower work is especially appealing to me.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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LindaShorey
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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby LindaShorey » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:03 pm

Your past-prime image is full of character and interest. The "spoiler" is hysterical. Informative, inspiring topic!
"What's important in a photograph and what isn't." http://photographylife.com/whats-import ... -what-isnt

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Charles Haacker
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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby Charles Haacker » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:15 pm

LindaShorey wrote:Your past-prime image is full of character and interest. The "spoiler" is hysterical. Informative, inspiring topic!

Thanks, Linda. You should see it now. I thought about shooting it in its present even-way-more-past-prime condition but what I should have done was leave the camera set up in the identical spot. It might have made a good subject for a time-lapse. :|
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby St3v3M » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:29 pm

I really like the first, and am amazed at the results considering the situation. It goes to show how well the artist can overcome!

I agree too, fill those walls with your work, especially of the grandchildren! Command Hooks are a great tool for an apartment.

I think a time lapse would have been fun too, but I can never keep a camera in once place that long. Thank you for sharing these! S-
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Charles Haacker
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Re: Fading Sunflower

Postby Charles Haacker » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:21 pm

St3v3M wrote:I really like the first, and am amazed at the results considering the situation. It goes to show how well the artist can overcome!

I agree too, fill those walls with your work, especially of the grandchildren! Command Hooks are a great tool for an apartment.

I think a time lapse would have been fun too, but I can never keep a camera in once place that long. Thank you for sharing these! S-

Thank you for looking and commenting, Steve! I like the first one best, too. I sometimes wonder, given the dynamic range of the latest sensors plus the range we can add in most PP apps if HDR isn't becoming, if not obsolete, at least less necessary, but I shouldn't talk since I have done, like, 4 total. And I'll probably try to hang some stuff if we ever get into semipermanent digs.
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|


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