Back Modifications (6)
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Grasses 1

By suejoh
I am going to try and get something like Sakai Hoitsu Autumn Grasses. This is the first attempt just to get something to see where I am going. The grass is stuck in some sponge but I wont be able to do that for trailing ivy - has anyone got any ideas?

Tags: Still life Flowers and plants Autumn Grasses Sakai Hoitsu

GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1


mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
3 Jun 2019 9:34PM
Hi Sue, I like this a lot. Re the trailing ivy, what sort of composition do you have in mind?

Here there are a few things that strike me. The background isn't even, there's a line running down in the top right corner. I'd prefer the background to be lighter, airier. And I do wish there were a few more pixels at the bottom of the frame for the stems to come together. I shall try to demonstrate those ideas..

Back to the ivy, however you arrange it aim for a clear source for the stems, and a strong direction in their lines. Let them occupy the frame on their own terms, spread out to fill the space available. Does that make sense?

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mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
3 Jun 2019 9:50PM
I've uploaded a quick modification, I'm not satisfied with it but it's an indication of what could be done with light and composition. NB I didn't touch colour, the change is down to increased brightness.

One problem I think is the use of a yellowish background with a yellowish subject, there isn't the tonal contrast. Cream would be cleaner looking.
dudler Plus
16 950 1521 England
3 Jun 2019 10:04PM
I think the colour of the background is a bit overpowering... Less is often more.

Otherwise, looking good.
capto Plus
7 5.8k 12 United Kingdom
3 Jun 2019 10:31PM
Good advice above. I have reduced the bg colour using the HSL tool in PS.
3 Jun 2019 10:50PM
That background colour was used a lot in Japanese painting, at least during that period ( Edo? ) It is rather strong, but it fits in with what you were aiming for.
I've done a mod where I've reduced saturation a little, and added a texture to try and replicate the look of a Hoitsu screen.

Trailing ivy... maybe try arranging it on a flat horizontal surface and photograph it from above?

3 Jun 2019 11:49PM
I se you allready have get a lot good help and ideas here.
I like Allans idea of put it on something flat. In my modification i did the same as Ivor (Capto) and removed the yellow backgrown.
Then i used a filter in Nik Collection to put back some texsture and color.
So it went out to be a mix of Allan and Captos modification.
Hope some of the ideas can help you in the direction you will.

Hi Sue
I like your composition but the background colour has overpowered your fore ground in my Mod Iíve changed the colour which compliments the fore ground .
There are quite a few ideas for you to have a go at but try out neutral backgrounds and see where it takes you.

suejoh Plus
15 253 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2019 10:33AM
Thank you for great mods and advice.

I got the colour using white balance but this has affected the grass too which is no good so I will have to revisit all of that. Hopefully all those grasses in the garden wont have died before I get there.

At least ivy never seems to die - or so my husband complains.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2019 12:14PM
Thanks for your feedback Sue. If you adjusted white balance in post processing you could add the original here as a modification. If in the camera settings - I am always wary of customized white balance, because when adjustment is needed I find auto results much easier to correct than a customized setting that has gone wrong!
pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2094 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2019 4:25PM
I think you're going in the right direction, Sue. This is a good start for the basis of your image.

To get something like the Sakai Hoitsu Autumn Grasses, or at least his artistic style, I feel that you need:-
1. A textured background.
2. A less bright background.
3. An extra element that is strong and dominant, with the grasses adding the softness and background interest.
4. An offset composition. Don't go for symmetry, nor anything like it.

A lot of his work is minimalist, so don't include too much. What you are creating is akin to setting up a still life for photographing. Less is more.

Try out a few ideas with the colour of the grasses. Remove all colour, for example, and then present them as a light brown or grey. After that, include the stronger element.

Most importantly, by all means copy his style and let him influence you, but produce creations of your own, without COPYING Sakai Hoitsu's. You must blaze your own trail and make your work original. It's a beautiful path to follow. I have some very nice Japanese lacquer items in my bedroom that I thoroughly enjoy.

dudler Plus
16 950 1521 England
4 Jun 2019 11:14PM
On supporting elements of a more elaborate composition... Shoot striaght down on grasses, ivy and os on lying on a horizontal background. Tripod on top of a table, possibly using the camera tethered to a computer or pad. (You know what places you have to shoot in, so you can work out exactly how to set things up. But creating sufficient separation matters. If you use a longer lens, maybe shooting from the landing to the floor downstairs?

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