Back Modifications (6)
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By eskimo
Im starting a series/project looking at Lilly's particularly the fabric like qualities and textures of the petals. A secondary goal of the series/project is to experiment with shooting on film again, and thought this type of study series would be an appropiate subject idea and medium to use.

As a begining point Im using digital to help narrow down some of the directions I could take in terms of look and lighting ect, as well as to help guide me in the processes I will need to experiment with in terms of film type and developing, before moving on to film.

I have used Caputure One to post process the original RAW file.

The first image is what I'm leaning towards at present, but Im interested in what other peoples thoughts might be on my project in general, on the images themselves and any hints and tips people might have. I've included the original full frame colour original and some variants which show some different directions have taken in the post processing.

Tags: Black and white Flowers and plants

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TanyaH Plus
17 1.3k 409 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2015 4:20PM
I think flowers, when shown like this in singular glory, make a superb study and project. Here, I think you've caught the thick, almost muscular texture of the petals beautifully. Of your mods/variations, I particularly like the mono version. That's very powerful and as much as I know people love to see flowers in colour, I must admit I'm partial to monos of them instead Grin

I think the only quibble I've got with your images here, which is evident in the original image, is that you've cut the lower petal off. So wherever you go with this image, that bit will always be missing.

The other thing is that you probably don't need f/25 for this ... I realise you're probably trying to get as much depth of field as possible, but if anything image quality can degrade at that kind of aperture, particularly towards the outer edges of your image, as you no doubt aware. You'd probably find that f/8 or f/11 would do fine in this scenario, particularly as (I think) you're using a tripod?

One other possible technique you might want to play with is to combine some sort of movement with your exposure, so that you almost get 'trails' of colour from the petals - probably one time when hand holding at slow shutter speeds can be your creative friend! You may not want to, of course, but it's just another possible alternative approach to think about.

I was going to try and do a mod for you, but then decided that all I'd be doing (other than adding that bit of extra petal at the bottom) was to just produce another variant on your theme, so I didn't in the end Smile

nonur 11 18 13 Turkey
8 Apr 2015 5:40PM
I like it a lot.
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4171 Canada
8 Apr 2015 6:29PM
Lillies are especially good when looking for texture anf fine details.

The final image her bears little resemblance to the original, and while I really like it, - its a very attractive image, Im a little confused. The softness of the finished product seems to defeat the purpose of showing texture and detail, which for me is needed.

I looked at the original, - and agree with Tanya re the missing petal; I think theres a lot of detail to be had from it to use as a base for further processing.

Theres no black, or a por black level in the shot, - typical not an error, and it drops contrast way down. Pulling the black slider left in RAW will help.

I notice also, - and this does not showin your finished image, that the flower has a lot of blemishes, so best to use a good specimen to start with. Or, to get fantastic texture, wait until the flower is dying, - the shrinking enhances fine texture.

Ive uploaded a version of you original shot. You may want to think about using a macro lens for this project, it will perform better, give you options for closer shots.

Hope you can get something useful from this!


Sooty_1 10 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2015 6:42PM
A project is a good way to stimulate creativity, as long as you don't fall into the trap of shooting everything the same way!

Flowers are a good subject, because there are a multitude of different shapes, textures and colours to show off, and even restricting yourself to monochrome you will have great choice in how to shoot various subjects.

This main image, I find a little heavy. The predominance of mid tone detracts from the varied shades of white that the original displays, and it looks a bit like an underexposed high key image. It might be better a purer colour, either white (and lit better) for a high key delicate shot, or black as a contrast to the paleness go the petals. If you shoot high key, you can expand the lighter tones digitally to achieve more detail in highlight areas, particularly useful for very light subjects.

The handy thing with digital is that you can move your light around to see the effects of different angles, and if you make notes, you can go back to successful images and avoid wasting time when you do shoot film. Then you can tailor a lighting set up to the particular subject matter.

As lilies go, this is neither a particular delicate species (muscular is a good analogy), nor in particularly good condition, but you've captured the detail in the petals and kept virtually all the highlights intact. I too prefer the mono version, but the main image, if lightened significantly, could be much better, IMHO. Compositionally, this kind of shot is a matter of taste, and will depend on what you want to show of the flower.

mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.3k 2280 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2015 6:52PM
It's all been said. I love mono flowers, they can have a cool, aloof elegance, I think of them as the Greta Garbos of photography. The toning here is gorgeous. But it needs the complete petal tip, it seems to be sinking out of the bottom of the frame; and it needs sharpness to contrast with the soft dove-greys. A little more space and distance, and greater precision in the final version.

I'm really looking forward to seeing more uploads !
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2015 7:49PM
Going to be a personal thing. For me the composition just doesn't work. The balance is wrong and the final range and colour not very attractive. I can rarely see the point in showing flowers in mono unless the result is very dramatic.

However, it is clear that I am, so far, in a minority of one but that is my feeling. I ask myself, project or not, what woulspd you then do with this image? Would it go on acwall? Would people buy it?

Not sure.

eskimo 16 9
9 Apr 2015 12:11AM
Firstly, a big thanks to everyone for their comments and modifications, they are very helpful and are giving me much food for thought. Im especially pleased as it was the first proper shoot with a new camera, so there was much wrestling with menus and unfamiliar features.

The petal issue in the composition was something that I was aware of and grates, however Im considering them more like digital polaroids or something like it. It does however serve to act as a great reminder to keep an eye on my compsition, which never hurts.

In terms of using a macro I was also testing out an old Nikormat with 50mm macro to see if the seals were still holding up. Im looking forward to seeing if I get anything.

All the comments and advice on processing and everything else were also great. I hadnt been thinking really of using colour, I possibly shouldnt rule it out. The processing was mainly monochrome as its my intention to go on to film and b&w is easier for me to develop at home as well as having more experience with it. In the processing I was attempting to keep in mind what might be replicated when working on film as well as the asthetics, texture, lighting and so on. I think I need to put further consideration in to how the processing connects to the qualities of the subject I want to highlight.

All in all lots to think about and Im looking forward to put them in action.


paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
9 Apr 2015 4:20PM
I'm interested. Why film? Is it just for old times sake or something else?

I was trained using medium formant and 5X4 in an industrial pro darkroom. I later had my own darkroom with two enlargers and the usual gear.

There is no way that I would consider going back to fil!m from digital. I find myself wondering why anyone would other than for very large format work.

eskimo 16 9
9 Apr 2015 5:40PM
Hi, Paul

Good question, there's a few reasons really. Firstly I would like to say I am a little out of touch digital advances over the last few years, although I did do quite a lot research before buying the Sony.

To my present thinking it falls into two areas Technical and Artistic/Pphilosophical.

Technical. I have no problem with digital and enjoy its versatility, however for me there does seem to be something diferent in the look of film photography even when scanned. Whilst excepting Im still catching up in digital advances it does seem to me that digital still cant quite emaulate film grain and certain effects quite as well as the real thing yet (It is however purely my subjective view and Im sure there will many people with a lot more knowledge and skill in post processing than me would say I was wrong). Im also interested in the possibilities of a hybrid proccess and easier possibilities of using large formats.

Artistic/Philosical. I started out with film when I was a kid and always found not knowing whether you got anything or not for ages, a pain. It took me a longtime to get better, but always with a very limited patience with the technicalities of things, but always found the creativity of the darkroom enjoyable while I was at art college. I left and when digitial came out, it met what I was looking for. The last few years I have been working with wood and only been taking images of what I have been making real no brainer stuff. Coming back to more creative stuff I have realised just what A trap I have been falling into, in terms of taking ok shots of anything and everything that I find interesting and then spending hours processing them. I have grown more patient the older I have got and can now see the virtues of slowing down and being much more considered in the way I take images. I also think narrowing the range of images I take, working in a more project led way as well as slowing down is a good way for me to develope my photography further.

I hope that helps.

paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2015 8:20AM
I can see that. There are occasions, I agree, when the visual impact of film still cannot fully be emulated by digital, and I see this when I look back at my old negatives, many now scanned. They do still look different to pure digital when scanned, and I am sure it is a result of scanning grain at high resolution.

I do not miss the hours in the darkroom for a few prints, the need to wait to see results when time matters and so on. The mess associated with home processing, the smell, the temperature control, all gone with a computer.

It is probably what you need the images for, and self satisfaction that finally matters and I would not knock anyone for taking there own course. i do think you will progressively find it harder to obtain any real range of wet process material though. Back to self coating plates!

eskimo 16 9
14 Apr 2015 8:49AM
Thanks for the post. I agree about the sources for wet process materials might get harder, as I have already seen the range of products have diminished somewhat. However there does seem to be an increasing interest, I would imagine that it is a chicken and egg situation. The more people are looking to source the materials the more manufactures will see a business in it. It will be interesting to see what happens.


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