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Casual closeups


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Casual closeups

16 Feb 2021 7:42AM   Views : 649 Unique : 438


Iím really not cut out to be a still life photographer, but itís something I do occasionally. And, encouraged by a friend on here (you know who you are, JANET) Iím doing a little more Ė Iíve even cleared a small area in a large but full garage so I can set up a semi-permanent table and backdrop.

And today my wife was throwing out some roses that are starting to wilt, and I whisked them out to the garage and stuck a camera on a tripod. Nothing fancy Ė ten-second delay to avoid any shake, lens stopped quite well down so that focus wasnít too critical, and I shot two different views: one of a single bloom, the other of the stems inside the glass vase.

Note that the creases in the cheap paper backdrop donít show, because Iíve exposed for the flowers, and a high key(-ish) look. Perfection isnít necessary, providing youíre reasonably on top of the technical stuff. Light was more or less exclusively through the backdrop. (Really weird stuff: I got big squares of it in white, black and green with the background support set I bought to use here: total price under £30, but Iím really unconvinced of the quality of the paper. Itís OK for this, but any exposure to human subjects will shred it in minutesÖ)


I used Aperture priority, and well over 1 stop of positive exposure compensation to get the light and airy tones I wanted. If you want to give it a go, here are some cheap substitutes for my kit:
1 settle the camera firmly on a flat surface or a beanbag. No tripod necessary with delayed action (and mirror lock, if itís a DSLR);
2 A well-worn white bedsheet will be find for a backdrop: clothespegs and cheap clotheshangers can help you dangle it from a curtain rail;
3 A jamjar or a clear bottle will do nicely to hold a few flowers or twigs.

All you need is the camera and the willingness to give it a go.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
16 Feb 2021 7:52AM
You don't need pristine working conditions or perfect arrangements for pictures. Quick and dirty usually beats perfect, but unfinished.
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
16 Feb 2021 10:10AM
I really like the stems in the vase. They work well 😊

I'm glad it's not just me, about dead flowers. On the rare occasion I buy flowers for my other half it's often with a thought in mind of what they'll look like when they're dead and totally dehydrated!
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
16 Feb 2021 10:26AM
Actually, Mrs D expressed the intention to take some pictures - but she didn't want my nice clean white background (because it's in the nasty, dirty, cluttered garage...)
chase Avatar
chase Plus
18 2.5k 682 England
16 Feb 2021 10:51AM
Well,well Mr. D a it of a project started, well done !
I do find when I backlight stuff, especially flowers it does help to put just a wee drop of light onto the flowers themselves, a small torch would do the trick.

Set up doesn't need to be complicated as you have demonstrated here and once you really get going you will find more and more to get your teeth into.
Another idea for a bg is a portable,adustable clothes rail, about £7 I think I paid for mine, nothing fancy but it enables you to change the bg at a moments notice and helps with storage of said backdrops.

I do rather like the B&W stems in the vase here John and dead/past their best flowers offer some really interesting textures, especially when they become quite transparent.

Still life...me ????? nah, it's just a rumour Wink
ZenTony Avatar
ZenTony Plus
7 28 7 United Kingdom
16 Feb 2021 11:36AM
There was a posting yesterday talking about focus stacking macro. Never heard of it before, but I looked on YouTube and it looks interesting;
JuBarney Avatar
JuBarney Plus
12 36 7 United Kingdom
16 Feb 2021 12:39PM
What did you do with the car, or does it not live in your garage?
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
16 Feb 2021 2:54PM
I really like the shot of the stems.
I'm all for putting something together at low cost (a quick google for 'still life table' brings up some interesting prices). For manythat will be sufficient.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
16 Feb 2021 3:43PM
Tony - I tried focus stacking a while back: it's quite hard work if you take it seriously (which I didn't) - and even harder work for the computer, handling multiple big files! AngiWallace has had a recent and impressive go at it, too.

The cars tend to live on the drive... They are, after all, pretty weatherproof!

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