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Thread: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflection

  1. #1

    Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflection

    Any comment/questions welcome.

    A lot of flower shots creeping in - it must be spring. These are three I did recently using quite different techniques. I'm not going to say it's easy because the first one certainly wasn't. If you want to see more of my botanic shots they are here Rob's botanic shot Good job I'm married to a botanist

    Shot #1 Is a Hellibore. Taken from the garden this morning (the botanist was out!). Placed indoors on table facing up. Two studio flash lights bounced off the ceiling so the light was from the top. Used six manually focussed RAW exposures to get the full range of focus from front to rear. Edited the RAWs in CS4 then fed them into Helicon Focus - a great bit of software for 38, which stacks them together taking the best focus parts from each shot. Output to 16bit TIFF and did some minor corrections in PS. I told you it wasn't easy

    If you do macro or close-ups you will find Helicon Focus a very valuable tool, and it's cheap and east to use. http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus.html

    Three different flower techniques  - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflection

    Shot #2 - Camelia. Taken last week at Bodnant Garden North Wales. Bright sun overhead. I got my botanist to hold a diffuser (small foldup one) over the flower to shield the sun. Then shot the flower with slight fill-flash. All of that avoids the glare from the sun, while filling in some of the shadows.

    Three different flower techniques  - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflection

    Shot #3 - Chrysanthemum. This was placed on a sheet of black acrylic and lit with a single studio light bounced into a white umbrella to give a soft light. very minor processing was needed to finish it off.

    Three different flower techniques  - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflection
    Last edited by carregwen; 6th April 2010 at 03:15 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Any comment/questions welcome.
    Hi Rob: all beautiuful, I escpecially love #3. From your album my favourites are: Spear Thistle, Jacobs Ladder, and Gerbera 5. I seem to be partial to the dark backgrounds.

    Your notes say the Spear Thistle was shot indoors, but I am wondering if the other 2 are also indoor shots with studio lighting.

    Wendy

  3. #3

    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Hi Rob: all beautiuful, I escpecially love #3. From your album my favourites are: Spear Thistle, Jacobs Ladder, and Gerbera 5. I seem to be partial to the dark backgrounds.

    Your notes say the Spear Thistle was shot indoors, but I am wondering if the other 2 are also indoor shots with studio lighting.

    Wendy
    Thank you, Wendy. Yes they were all shot indoors with studio lights (only cheap ones). It's surprising what results you can get with a few props and some cheap lights.

  4. #4

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    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Yes they were all shot indoors with studio lights (only cheap ones).
    I suspected that (not the cheap part ) I don't have any experience at all with artificial light, I think I will make it a winter project though. When the time comes I will have lots of questions before making a selection. The local camera store has a large variety of lights and stands with prices to match. I wouldn't know where to start, but they have a light box kit that comes with 2 (cheap) lights and stands that looks like an interesting start.

    Sometime this week I am going to get the portable diffuser reflector kit you mentioned in another post ( they have those in stock in the store too). I think that will be a big help this summer with outdoor flower shots.

  5. #5

    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I suspected that (not the cheap part ) I don't have any experience at all with artificial light, I think I will make it a winter project though. When the time comes I will have lots of questions before making a selection. The local camera store has a large variety of lights and stands with prices to match. I wouldn't know where to start, but they have a light box kit that comes with 2 (cheap) lights and stands that looks like an interesting start.

    Sometime this week I am going to get the portable diffuser reflector kit you mentioned in another post ( they have those in stock in the store too). I think that will be a big help this summer with outdoor flower shots.
    Have to warn you, the lighting project can get addictive. Ask on here before you buy the lights because I made a mistake with the ones I bought (not enough power). This is the type of reflector http://www.lastolite.com/originalreflectors.php They fold into a quarter and have several different finishes. You need one with a white mesh diffuser for sheltering from the sun. Don't get one too big or the wind will catch it. Mine is about 20 inches.

  6. #6

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    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Ask on here before you buy the lights
    Absolutely! I will narrow it down first and then check here before buying.

    This is the type of reflector http://www.lastolite.com/originalreflectors.php They fold into a quarter and have several different finishes. You need one with a white mesh diffuser for sheltering from the sun. Don't get one too big or the wind will catch it. Mine is about 20 inches
    I just checked online, and my local store does not carry the Lastolite brand. They carry Cameron brand. I can't find much info on this mfg. only resellers, so I don't know how the quality measures up. I suppose it is possible to have a poor quality diffuser or reflector as the type of material used would be very important. Have you (or anyone) ever heard of Cameron lighting accesories? They have 19 and 42" diffuser/reflector sets. Thanks for the tip, I would probably have wanted the larger one and spent my day chasing it around.

    I'm also thinking about going to a craft store and getting the largest ebroidery hoop I can find, and then experimenting with an assortment of fabrics for backgrounds. I'm not sure how it would work, but I have all kinds of fabric around here and the hoop won't cost much, but will keep the wrinkles out and give a nice flat surface that can be propped up, so I think it's worth a try.

    Flowers should really be starting to show up around here within a week or so.

  7. #7

    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Rob, No 3 is an absolute cracker. Beautifully shot. The others are very accomplished but not my thing really. Don't you just hate it when there is nothing to criticise.

    Steve

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    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Hi, Rob;

    All three are beautiful, but I like #1 the best. The crop, by showing some but not all of the petals, brings the attention into the busy stuff in the center, and gives an idea of scale. Then all the great detail of the different structures of different sorts is a feast of shapes and patterns. Wonderful.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  9. #9

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    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Hi Rob

    I can only say one word Excellent. No I will go further, I think I will take up knitting after seeing those.

    Regards

    Delboy

  10. #10

    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Absolutely! I will narrow it down first and then check here before buying.

    I just checked online, and my local store does not carry the Lastolite brand. They carry Cameron brand. I can't find much info on this mfg. only resellers, so I don't know how the quality measures up. I suppose it is possible to have a poor quality diffuser or reflector as the type of material used would be very important. Have you (or anyone) ever heard of Cameron lighting accesories? They have 19 and 42" diffuser/reflector sets. Thanks for the tip, I would probably have wanted the larger one and spent my day chasing it around.

    I'm also thinking about going to a craft store and getting the largest ebroidery hoop I can find, and then experimenting with an assortment of fabrics for backgrounds. I'm not sure how it would work, but I have all kinds of fabric around here and the hoop won't cost much, but will keep the wrinkles out and give a nice flat surface that can be propped up, so I think it's worth a try.
    This is the light set I have. 300W is enough for tabletop photography, portraits etc. Not enough for group shots though. As you can see, they are fairly cheap.
    http://www.kenro.co.uk/product/300w_...Flash+Kit.html I've had no probs at all with it in two years.

    This reflector might be too large, but it's the sort of thing you want http://www.amazon.ca/80CM-Multi-Disc...0591078&sr=1-2

    Try coloured art board from an art supply shop. Normally about 30x20 inches. Quite cheap. Or plain black velvet material from fabric store.

  11. #11

    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Quote Originally Posted by delboy View Post
    I can only say one word Excellent. No I will go further, I think I will take up knitting after seeing those.

    Regards

    Delboy
    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    Hi, Rob;

    All three are beautiful, but I like #1 the best. The crop, by showing some but not all of the petals, brings the attention into the busy stuff in the center, and gives an idea of scale. Then all the great detail of the different structures of different sorts is a feast of shapes and patterns. Wonderful.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Thanks, guys. Once you have the gear (macro lens, studio lights, and a few props) it is actually quite easy. For shot #1 I set everything up, and I only took 6 shots, then fed them into Helicon and that was it. Try it yourself?

  12. #12
    agaace's Avatar
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    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    #3 kicks ass, nice job!!

  13. #13
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Three different flower techniques - Helicon stacking, outdoor flash, and reflect

    Hi Rob,

    While I agree with the others that #3 is beautiful, I can appreciate the effort that went into #1 and I say it was worth it!

    Can't decide which I like best of those two

    Cheers,

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