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Thread: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

  1. #1
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    Milkweed seed pod still life. I am just starting to post. I would really value your C&C. Please share with me your experiences so that I might learn? If the subject is trite (gulp) please guide me in another direction.

    I used a mirror, a clamp on work light with a 100watt lightbulb and a tripod. No flash. Post processing was minimal - levels and slight color correction.
    Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please
    Last edited by Marie Hass; 5th February 2011 at 11:31 PM.

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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    I am a real "hollers" fan having also grown up in the boonies. Color, tonal quality are right on the money until you get into the inside of the pod where it tends toward blowing out. You can try several things, the easiest being backing the light off a bit, or using some kind of scrim material to cut down the intensity of the light. It might require some additional shutter time but since it isn't going anywhere, what's to lose. If the light becomes an issue, you can increase your ISO a bit to compensate for the loss of intensity. And...you can also go to some PP burning on a new layer to knock down the brightness on the stem part. (Can that idea...just tried it in PS and it isn't all that good.)
    I would also close down the aperture at least one to one-half stop to increase your depth of field which will give the eye a larger plane to focus in...nice try, Marie.

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    Chris, thanks again for your help. The seed pod, as you say, isn't going anywhere. I am excited! I will reshoot tomorrow with the recommendations you gave me - Marie

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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    I installed a 13Watt (60 Watt equivalent) flourescent daylight bulb in my clamp on lamp. It works nicely in avoiding mixed light and makes hitting white balance quite easy.

    Pops

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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    I haven't tried that kind of light, yet...just got in my black plexiglass today and am in the process of removing the backing paper and setting up some lights and backdrops/reflectors, etc. to play with some still life setups...I like the idea of lower light levels and balnanced whites so will try that bulb. Thanks for the info, Pops.
    By the by, did the Color information help you any?

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie Hass View Post
    If the subject is trite (gulp) please guide me in another direction.
    Hi Marie

    We are experts here at CiC for posting trite subject matter, and I am top of the queue, so you should have no fear there...

    If you want a reflection, a standard mirror is not the best option. It does reflect (obviously) but you get 'ghosting' as you have here, from the reflection. Much better is a black acryllic surface. I use acryllic sheet, but you can also use things such as a black glass surface of an electric hot-plate on your cooker (I've used that before), or a black glass cutting board in the kitchen.

    I think I would have shot this in landscape mode to include all of the pod. Or was there something unattractive at the left end?

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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    Hi Marie

    We are experts here at CiC for posting trite subject matter, and I am top of the queue, so you should have no fear there...

    If you want a reflection, a standard mirror is not the best option. It does reflect (obviously) but you get 'ghosting' as you have here, from the reflection. Much better is a black acryllic surface. I use acryllic sheet, but you can also use things such as a black glass surface of an electric hot-plate on your cooker (I've used that before), or a black glass cutting board in the kitchen.

    I think I would have shot this in landscape mode to include all of the pod. Or was there something unattractive at the left end?
    Having not shot much in the manner of black persplex (plexiglass, here), I didn't notice it was shot on a mirror. I wonder if you put a black cloth above the shooting area if it would help to offset that mirrored look and give more depth to the reflective side. I am still gathering "stuff" to make my first attempts...it's alwas a bit of a scary thing to venture into photographic unknowns, so Marie and I will be asking you lots of questions, I am sure.

  8. #8
    rob marshall

    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    ..it's alwas a bit of a scary thing to venture into photographic unknowns
    Nonsense! Get the hiking boots on (metaphorically speaking) and march right in there...

  9. #9
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    Thanks Rob, for some great ideas! Chris says he just got some black plexiglass so I will check with him. Office Depot may have black trifold presentation board for a backdrop. I tried cloth, but maybe because I didn't know how to hang it, it looked cheesy.

    Chris, I did a second shoot, upped to ISO a tad (200), narrowed aperature to f11, and backed off the light. I think someting to act as a diffuser may be in order. The results are rather harsh? Where did you get your black plexiglass?

    And, Pops, I plan to do as you suggested. I'll get the flourescent daylight bulb the next time I am in town. Thanks for that idea.
    Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    I am not familiar with the Elements toolbox but suspect since it is an Adobe based unit, many of the same type tools are in there as are in Photoshop.

    I started by correcting your white and black cippling points on a curve layer. Next, I flattened the image and on a duplicate layer, I tagged each highlighted section with the quick selection tool and did a curves adjustment to the bottom end of the curve to remove the glare. I did this in sections as some areas needed more, some less. When I was relatively pleased with the highlights, I did two layer adjustments using Multiply at 40% on the first and 35% on the last, pulling in the left and right markers slightly to fill the necesssary areas with tone. Lastly, I added a 10% luminosity layer to punch up the contrast.

    Even with those adjustments, I found the brights were still too glaring, so I added a layer mask and picked a light color from the stem end, knocked it down by 25% in the color menu and gave it a 27% opacity and painted over the offending glare points.

    I flattened the image again, made another copy layer and using the quick selection tool again, tagged the reflecion areas of the mirror, did a curve adjustment at about one square up from the bottom of the scale (the foot) unitl it was much darker. Any areas that were a bit ragged, I smoothed out with the blur tool. One more flatten, and this is what I got...it is not as ideal as using black plexiglass, but it is a way to dodge the bullet until you can get some.

    My cousin owns a sign company and I use his scraps.
    You may not have the same tools, but I am sure there are enough tools in Elements to get you to the same place, though via a different route.
    Good Luck

    Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

  11. #11
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Milkweed seed pod still life for C&C please

    Chris, beautiful! I always did like the blend modes. Thank you for taking the time to enhance this picture! It looks so much better! I will spend some time with the layers you suggested and see if I can re-create close to the same effects. :-)

    Marie

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