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Thread: 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

  1. #1
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Here are the results of a second effort at capturing these 3 Calla Lilies. I changed the arrangement some by using just a couple of wider leaves, as they seem to wrap around the flowers much better. Unfortunately, I also got scissor happy and and cut the flower stems too short in an effort to lower them in the vase. No chance to get replacements until the plant grows them, so the short ones had to do.

    The first effort was just not satisfactory. Steve (Wirefox), Donald and Chris (MiniChris) all told me not to quit my day job just yet , and along with their kind encouragement they provided many helpful recommendations. I've done my best to incorporate those into this iteration by dropping the ISO as low as possible, shooting in Aperture mode to get a "fill-flash", etc. My sincere thanks to you gents (especially you Steve) for taking the time to offer the help and encouragement.

    PP of the RAW image was done using Nikon Nx2, and also used Image Composer for cloning out the "fold-lines" that were in the cloth background.

    3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux
    105mm, AF-A, F/5.6, 1/60s, Aperture Priority, -0.3EV, Metering: Matrix, ISO 200
    Built-in Flash, Flash Sync Mode:Front Curtain, i-TTL-BL, -0.3EV

    3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux
    58mm, F/7.1, 1/60s, Aperture Priority, 0EV, ISO 400, Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
    Flash Mode: i-TTL-BL, 0EV

    As always, your thoughts, opinions, comments and criticism's are most welcome.

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 13th August 2011 at 05:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    One of the things that I enjoy most about this forum is watching (and being aware of it in myself) people growing and developing their knowledge and skills.

    To look at the difference between the first effort and this is a joy. To see someone who wants to learn and to put that into practice is wonderful. As I've written on here before, the capacity to learn and to reason and to apply that to improvement (in whatever field it is) is, in my view, the greatest gift humankind possesses.

    So this is just brilliant to see. Well done, Mike.

    Now all we've got to do is figure out to help him learn how to use scissors. Mmmm!

  3. #3
    jjbacoomba's Avatar
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    Re: 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Great job Mike. The second one really does it for me. The first one had that glare on the vase that was distracting. Love the colors! Donalds comment tells of what this forum is all about. I have learned so much and I learn here everyday.

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    Re: 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Yes indeedy, what a difference between first and second effort, great job! I sometimes try shots like this myself and after all is said and done the thing that ends up bothering me is the shadows. I see you have the same issue. A couple things I've learned here to try and eliminate the shadows are:

    1. get the subject as far away from the background as you can, and then work with the available light to try and seperate foreground from background even more. I can't give exact instructions because I'm more of a try it out type of person, but I'm sure if you look around you will find more exact ways to do this or someone more technical than myself might show up to help out.
    2. a reflector/diffuser of some type helps to redirect the light - you have to play around with this and you can use anything from white art board to aluminum foil or if you want to get fancy there are great little 5 in 1 kits you can get that are easy to carry around and quite versatile. Just google photography 5 in 1 reflector diffuser and you will see what I mean. I have a small one and it makes a huge difference when I take the time to use it.
    3. Sometimes you just have to change the angle of shooting to try and get the shadow out of the shot. It seems like it should be an easy thing, but I can't count the number of shots where I have ended with shadows that bothered me after the fact but that I did not notice when shooting.

    Anyway, just passing on some info that I learned here in the hopes that it will help you out also.

    BTW, I think a single Calla Flower in the vase against that background might be worth trying, that's just me though, I love monochrome colour schemes.

    Wendy

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    Re: 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Hi Mike, I didn't see the first post but this one is dramatic. I noticed two things you may want to think about. By having the background as close as it is to the subject, you see both the shadows and the folds in the cloth quite plainly. As Wendy suggests, try it with more separation between the subject and the background to help avoid both issues.

  6. #6
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Thank you for the kind words Donald. I visited quite a few sites before joining here, and it was the people like you, Steve, Frank and so many others here who are willing to take their own time, and freely offer the benefits of their experience to help a beginner that made me want to be part of CiC. We try to promote the same values over on my astronomy site, and when folks go out of their way to help me learn, I feel a certain level of responsibility to apply what they took their time to share. Hopefully, there will come a day when I can give back some of what I'm learning now.

    As for the scissor error..'er..ah..well..umm, you see, that was a matter of judgment, really, as the vase did not look quite that deep due to the light refraction when I cut the bottoms off those flowers. 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Joe: I never noticed that glare until you pointed it out.. As for the learning, you betchya! A wise fellow once said in a movie "You can get the same $150k education for $1.50 in late fees at the local library". All it takes is the desire to learn and the willingness to try and apply what we do learn. I'm a bit of a "hacker", and as such need to actually get my hands on the subject, make the mistakes, see what I did wrong and then learn by applying the solutions. This technique seems to be very effective for many, providing that is we're not trying to learn explosives..

    Thanks for the great tips Wendy! I looked up the "5-in-1 Reflector Kit" on Amazon, and it looks like there is quite a variety of choices available. I've played with lights a bit using my P&S on some indoor shots, and a kit like that would be great to have. It's now on the "wish list".

    As you'll see in the image below, I was somewhat limited by the size of the background area, but am already scheming on how to make a much better background for future sessions on the back deck. I've always liked images that had a nice bokeh effect in the background, and that is what I was hoping for here. It's just one of those things I need to spend more time reading about how to achieve, as I'm sure it's not simply a random effect.

    Hi Frank: Actually did try shots with the camera at various distances from the flowers, and also by setting the flowers a distance from the backdrop. Unfortunately, the backdrop area was too small, but it's a lesson I learned for the next session out there.

    Here's a photo of the set-up I was using. That's my #1 grandson (he's 6) taking a picture with his own Kodak P&S. He's quite computer literate, and already downloads and crops his own images..

    3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Tried to get the flowers as far from the backdrop as possible, but if I set them too far away the backdrop just got too small..3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Notes for next time: Bigger backdrop; have wife arrange the flowers..

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 14th August 2011 at 02:36 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: 3 Calla Lilies in a Vase - Redux

    Hi Mike, when I tried to do this sort of thing I went to the art store and got a 2' x 3' foam-board with black on one side and white on the other. Usually I can get this far enough back to avoid shadows and mask out busy backgrounds. If you have any PP software that can do layers and masking, you can pull the cloth tight across a frame, the foam-board will do, and photograph just the cloth. In PP you can combine the flower shot with the cloth shot and avoid most of the issues. As you are shooting outdoors you could consider natural light and avoid the flash shadow.

    I haven't got to the point as yet where I'm learning how to use flash so you will notice all of the shots I post are using only natural light. Sooner or later I'll take the time and effort to learn how to shoot effectively with a flash and/or auxiliary lighting. Keep shooting and learning and above all have FUN!

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