Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 4

Assignment 4; Light – Notes for the Assessors

This was the most overtly technical of the assignments for The Art of Photography. As such it ws mostly a case of trying to improve my application of techniques and lighting theory rather than of pushing me creatively. This does not reduce validity of the pictures however and while most of them are quite “exercise-y”, there are a couple (the two “texture”  pictures (05 and 06) and the second “shape” (02) which I think go a bit further.

For reasons outlined in my response to the Tutor’s Report (mainly around the fact that the flowers were long dead at this point) I did not reshoot any of the pictures for this assignment. I did however rebalance the colour following David’s suggestions and these are the versions of the picture files that were used to make the prints enclosed as part of my physical submission for Assessment.

Tutor’s Report – Assignment 4


I have included 4 prints in my physical submission for assessment:

  • Assignment 4.1: Shape – Photographic Lighting
  • Assignment 4.2: Form – Photographic Lighting
  • Assignment 4.3: Texture – Available Light
  • Assignment 4.4: Colour – Mixed Light (Daylight/Tungsten)

High Resolution Files of the Assignment picture are on dropbox in the folder: Assignment 4 – Light

This contains:

    • 8 full-size jpegs of the assignment photos (512973-PH4AoP-A4-nn.jpg)
    • 4 contact sheets (512973-PH4AoP-A4-contact-nn.jpg)

All Related Posts can be found either Here or by using the link in the main menu at the top of each page. I have removed all “Read More” commands, to reduce the amount of clicking you have to do.

 

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Assignment # 4 – Tutor’s Comments

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“You wisely used a transparent jug here for the flowers and that has given you a much greater variety in framing options than an opaque vase would have. Indeed, a couple of your photographs are reminiscent of Lee Friedlander’s ‘Stems’, and this is no bad thing…”

Again, David was generally positive about the work I had produced for assignment 4 and was glad I had stuck in, despite having found it remarkably hard to get started (or settled on a subject even). Generally he felt:

“All of your photographs were successful –each revealed the aspect you were exploring well. As such there isn’t really much for me to add on that side of things. Your use of lighting accurately brings out the physical properties defined within the assignment.”

There were minor technical issues with a couple of the pictures. The first of the form images was harshly lit, with highlights that were beginning to burn out, something I was aware of while I was editing the pictures, but was unable to do anything beyond correcting the fault as far as was possible in Lightroom, as the next opportunity to have the living-room and the living-room table to myself at a time when it would be fully lit from the window would not be for a couple of weeks, by which time the flowers would have been dead. That said, I did take some pictures after everything had faded, to act as the header for this post; possibly I should include one of them in the set submitted for assessment at the end of the course in place of the picture submitted here. I’ll think about that. The second technical issue was that some of the pictures were over-saturated and that the particular pink of the flowers would be hard to reproduce in prints. Before I started AoP, I had only very rarely printed shots that originated on a digital camera, and I’m still learning lots about how to take things from a .raw to a file that can be handed over to someone who’ll make a digital-C print from it, let alone work out what needs to be done to get a good inkjet print made. David had told me I didn’t need to send prints with this assignment as he was happy that the files and the prints submitted for assignments two and three matched up. However, I think I’ll have a play with the files from this assignment and get them printed up sooner rather than later, as this will allow me to have another run at them if necessary before they are submitted for assessment in the autumn. This probably is a good place to have a look at soft proofing in Lightroom, although my ignorance still extends to the point where I’m not sure if this is only applicable to inkjet stuff… Where I had done much less well though was in writing up the exercises for his section as part of my learning log. I had managed to get almost all of the photographs taken (and I have now filled in the gaps) but failed dismally in getting a final edit of each set of images sorted and then writing it all up. The problems with my workflow first became truly obvious during part three of the course: I have found it hard to confine my shooting to a manageable number of shots and also found overlaps between things that could be used for an exercise or the assignments or for both meaning I have built up pots of suitable images, without necessarily defining where they would appear over the course of each part. I have only managed to avoid this really during assignment two – when I only had one day to take the pictures and no opportunity to go back and further refine them and fill in gaps; even so, I managed to take nearly 350 pictures in that one day – so this is something that I really need to work on in part 5, alongside making sense of the missing posts from parts 3 and 4, and probably will now need to focus on during the course that follows this. While I have managed to reduce dramatically the number of options I have created for the exercise in part 5, I still need to convert that focus during shooting into completed blog posts in my learning log. Watch this space… Then finally, there is a pointer from David to focus more on conceptual self-evaluation, positioning my pictures withing the context of my understanding of both what I am trying to do and where it fits into the wider world of contemporary photography. And this is where Lee Friedlander and Stems comes in…

Assignment 4 – further reading; stems, weeds and studies

In the tutor’s  feedback for assignment 4, I was pointed in the direction of Lee Friedlander’s Stems and also to a wider list of other photographers’ work dealing with the flowers and the way you can light them, in a variety of ways. I was aware of some them already, others were completely new to me.

Two modern Americans, with contrasting approaches to flower pictures:

Friedlander’s Stems: I’ve known about Friedlander for a while now and have the catalogue from the 2008 MOMA retrospective. While the catalogue contains a number of the Stems pictures, I hadn’t consciously spent time looking at them, paying more attention to the exterior shots earlier on in the book (and Friedlanders chronology). However the similarities between 2 and 5 in my set and the pictures here, suggest that – at some level at least – they had penetrated my consciousness.

They don’t deal with the flower heads, but instead play with the transparency of glass vases, the distortion created by water and the structure and shape of a bunch of stems and leaves. They take something commonly regarded as an aesthetic cliche (flowers) and then ignore the obvious to find further ideas of beauty in the bits that most people pass over. This oblique view of the subject is further emphasised by being in black and white, removing colour from the equation as well. It’s not for nothing that the Russian for “flowers” is the same as the word for “colours” and its absence turns the subject into something else entirely.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s Flowers Portfolio (1978 – 1989): In contrast these seem very classical in their concentration on individual named types of bloom, either in black and white or colour. They are crisp enough to be  scientific illustrations, and  – unlike Friedlander’s pictures – are titled according to the flower name. I really like the contrast between the flatness of the backgrounds and the heightened form of the foregrounded flower heads. Orchids, 1989 (one of the coloured pictures) could almost be a watercolour; Poppy, 1988 captures beautifully the hairy texture of the flowers’ stems, the red of the petals again seems exact. Lovely!

3 photographers producing images that could be described as typographic:

Charles Jones (c. 1900 and rediscovered in 1981): Peas, Carrots, Sprouts, Roses, Marrows, more Roses, more Peas, Strawberries; all set out like illustrations in a seed catalogue. All slightly rougher and less perfect than the fruit and veg you get in a supermarket. The text with the pictures linked above describes them as “portraits” and, like with portraits, there are things that give them away as products of a particular time; for example, the variations of grey that depict the red of the strawberries or the green of the pea pods seem slightly “off” in a way that presumably comes from the non-panchromatic way the chemistry of Jones’ plates reproduced colours as greys.

Karl Blossfeld’s Urformen der Kunst (1928): ‘Urformen’ translates from German as ‘Archetypes’ and these pictures seem very much an attempt to set down the underlying structure of the plants photographed by Blossfeld in a way that relates them directly to elements of design used by humans for either aesthetic or engineering purposes. There is no drama in the uncontrasty lighting here; no strong shadows and no dazzling highlights.

My favourite of the three linked above is Laserpitium Siler, (Laserwort, Part of a Fruit Umbel) with the starry umbels illuminated with their supports darker and in soft focus behind, reminding me of the yellow stars painted on the mid blue ceilings of the tombs in the valley of the kings.

Garry Fabian Miller: I looked at his pictures of Honesty Seed Pods and Bramble Crosses. If I hadn’t read the text, I wouldn’t have picked up on the religious subtext that surrounds these images (although ‘Crosses’ in the title of pictures made at Easter, should have alerted me, I think) leaving me to think about the way they work with repetition of form and variations of colour within depictions of the same thing. Unlike the pictures by Jones and Blossfeld, I don’t see anything that places them in time but – given that they were all made within the last 10 years – the time-specific signifiers probably haven’t started to become obvious yet…

All three sets of pictures looked at here take the plants and flowers pictured out of any sort of historical context, presenting them instead as exemplars of their type, showing details of structure in a scientific, detached way. It is possible to date the pictures however and to place them within the development of photography from technical characteristics of the prints such as the way colours are reproduced (or converted to greys); Jones’ pictures of vegetables or flowers could probably be placed within the context of the cultivation of different types by market gardeners too – they’re not as much a give away of a subjects location within time as clothes on photographs of people would be, but to my relatively ignorant eye, his carrots and marrow don’t look like their 21st century equivalent…

3 photographers whose pictures of flowers seem more concerned with the conditions where the flowers grow than with the flowers per se:

Chris Shaw – Weeds of Wallasey (2007-2012): Purposefully rough pictures printed in a messy high contrast style (“creating an aesthetic of bad printing” is the way Shaw puts it  in the video made by Tate Britain to tie in with a show that paired him with Daido Morayama). Centred, foreground objects are overlit by explosions of flash; the edge beyond  the exposed area of the film is left in; there are stains and imperfections everywhere; and there are also hand-written humorous titles (I particularly like “The Haywain” where you struggle to link the view of a bus stop with one pane of glass shattered into a drift of ice, in front of a box bridge receding into a fog that is either real or a flaw in the exposure of the print with the picture by Constable, but somehow still end up accepting them both as encapsulations of a certain type of ‘England’). Shaw has written that “Weeds are us” which I take to mean that we are the things that spring up between the cracks in the post-industrial world. As someone with two grandfathers who made a living from ships and the Mersey and who grew up in a house called Bidston, I feel a connection with this series, even if my father managed to think his way out of that particular ghetto.

I’d already linked his pictures with Morayama, before I saw the Tate video by the way; I’m not sure why I feel the need to type that, but for some reason (and I suspect my smartarse motives here) I do…

David Axelbank’s  Still Life:  harsh, high contrast single flash, outdoors at night, giving extremely vivid, coloured flowers against an inky black background. They’re not unlike Terry Richardson’s fashion stuff in their harshness, or possibly even surveillance pictures; I found myself thinking of the Japanese bloke who took pictures of people having sex in parks in Tokyo or Weegee taking photographs of couples on the beach at Coney Island or snogging in the pictures. Some of them (the ones of round puffy blue flowers, say) could be taken deep underwater or of tiny things viewed through a microscope; they are photos taken somewhere we don’t belong (night) and of things that we don’t normally see.

Julian Anderson, Cinder Path (2009): 6 centrally placed flowers lit within a square frame with a sense of the much darker surroundings not enclosed within the depth of field. Another set that dares to be ugly, eschewing conventional ideas of “prettiness”.

Where the typography pictures aspire to some sort of perfect reproduction of their subject, these images all revel in their imperfections; smudges greyness, text from outside the boundaries of the frame. The making of the pictures and the photographer making them is as important here as the subjects; the flowers provide a pretext for photography, standing in for something larger, odder, more significant perhaps.

If the typographies have more in common with the Mapplethorpe pictures, these all share something with the tensions between order and chaos between the conventional and the individual in Friedlanders’ Stems. It’s also, I think significant that the type of plant is not of significance here; rather the place or the time when they were taken seems to be of greater significance. We have moved from depiction to an interpretable meaning here…

So, how do I relate these to the pictures I made for assignment 4? Some relate directly – Stems match up with Fig, 2 and Fig. 5; I can see a link between Axelrod’s flowers at night and the last of my pictures where everything is made strange by the mixed light from dawn outside and the interior tungsten filtered flash; the second texture picture (Fig. 6) fits in with both the typographies and with Mapplethorpe’s pictures. All of mine could be pushed further I think, but that wasn’t what I was asked to do; I was trying to play with lighting.

References (all accessed 06-vi-15):

assignment 4 – light

“For this assignment you will draw together the different lighting techniques you have been studying and apply them to one object. The idea is to use your new knowledge of lighting to bring out particular physical properties of the same object. It is also a test of your observation. Choose any subject that you can move around and take 8 photos based on the 4 themes of the assignment. At the core of this assignment you should aim to show the following qualities (Shape, Form, Texture & Colour) of your subject, one at a time, by means of the lighting.” – AoP Coursebook 

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 All pictures were taken using a Nikon D50 with the ISO set to 200.


1: Shape – This quality has to do with the outline of an object – its edges. These are likely to stand out more clearly if they contrast with the background, and if there is minimum detail visible in the object.

Fig 1 - Shape - Available Light

Fig 1 – Shape – Available Light

– Late afternoon sunlight from behind, diffused by curtains; no fill. Long focal length (112mm/168mm 35mm equivalent) to flatten image somewhat, with camera approximately 4 metres from subject and the flowers 1.5 metres from the background; wide aperture was used to help separate subject from background by reducing the depth of field. Colour original very yellow due to low angle of sun and the oatmeal material of the curtains  – when it was converted to B&W, I increased red/orange/yellow in the mix while reducing blue/green in order to lighten background while further darkening the silhouetted jug of carnations.

 

Fig 2: Shape - Photographic Light

Fig 2: Shape – Photographic Light

ii – Bright Field Lighting (Hunter, Biver, Fuqua – Light, Science and Magic – Chapter 7) using a light box, fairly close to the rear of the subject; no fill. I used the zoom lens to keep edges of the light box at the edges of theframe in order to achieve the black outline of the jug and it’s handle through the creation of internal reflections. The image was then cropped so the subject filled the frame. With the camera positioned close to the lens’ minimum focus distance, sufficient depth of field to keep the whole bunch of flowers sharp was achieved with a small aperture (f16) and a relatively long exposure of 1/15″ to correctly expose using the relatively weak artificial light source. I did not convert this to B&W as I rather like the almost pen-and-ink-on-parchment feel of it, and the slight hint of magenta flowers coming through.


2: Form – This is another way of describing the volume of an object – how 3 dimensional it looks. The modelling effect of the light and the way you deal with the shadows is all important. Try to show as much depth as possible in the subject.

Fig 3: Form - Available Light

Fig 3: Form – Available Light

iii – Late afternoon sunlight (about 40 minutes after fig 1) through window on the left of the frame. This contrasty low angled side light was softened slightly by sticking a sheet of grease-proof paper onto the window, but no attempt was made to reflect light back from the right to soften the shadows, emphasizing the 3-dimensional nature of the subject. The low sunlight did not directly strike the background, resulting in it being underexposed and so, I hope, further separating the lit subject from the background, again adding emphasis to its form. Depth of focus was boosted by setting the aperture to f9 and by using a shorter focal length than the more flattened picture in Figure 1. This picture was one of ones taken earlier during the exercise, so the flowers are less open, leading to them having less form to define.

Fig 4: Form - Photographic Light

Fig 4: Form – Photographic Light

vi – The subject was placed on a strip of black velvet which was then taped to the wall about a metre behind the jug and flowers. The key light was a Nikon SB-27 Speedlight firing through a white umbrella above and to right of the subject; a silver reflector was then positioned to the left to create the shape-defining band of reflection in the glass jug and also to stop the unlit side of the subject vanishing into the black of the background. Again,  the aperture of the lens (a 35mm prime) was shut down to f11 to keep as much of the subject in focus as possible, but this time, due to the brief duration of the strong light from the flash, the shutter speed was able to be a fast 1/400″ rather than the 1/15″ used in fig. 3.


3: Texture – This is a quality of the surface detail. Fine detail, such as that on sandstone or skin, stands out best with a pattern of small, hard shadows, so you will have to consider both the diffusion (or lack of it) and the angle of the light. Of course, a shiny surface like chrome, although it is thought of as being smooth, also has a texture of a kind.

Fig 5: Texture - available light

Fig 5: Texture – available light

v – Undiffused late afternoon sun shining through the jug,  creating reflection on the surface of bubbles in the water which had collected on the inside of the jug the flowers were standing in. The lens used was a Micro Nikkor 55mm 1:3.5 prime macro lens shut down to f16 with an exposure of 1/8″. The picture has been rotated 90 degrees from landscape to portrait to match the others in the assignment.

Fig 6: Texture - Improvised Light

Fig 6: Texture – Improvised Light

vi – Improvised using a Mini Maglite pen torch with the beam focussed on the carnation to the left of frame and a kitchen foil reflector to the right to reduce contrast in image. 55mm micro nikkor 1:3.5, f16, 2″. The length of exposure – intended to compensate for the low light output of the maglite and the small aperture used to create enough depth of field for the picture to be about the texture – inadvertently smoothed out the effect of my hand trembling as I held the foil reflector in position giving a more softened edge to the reflected fill.


4: Colour – Choose a kind of lighting and exposure setting that shows the subject’s colour (or colours) as strongly as possible. In addition, you could photograph your subject in any other interesting, unusual or attractive lighting.

Fig 7: Colour - Photographic Light

Fig 7: Colour – Photographic Light

vii – Nikon Speedlight through umbrella to rear and above subject.  Lens was a Nikor AF-D 35mm 1:2 at f4; exposure of 1/500″ to restrict the light to that provided by the strobe. The pale blue of a background (a bed-sheet) was chosen to sit in the spectrum between the magenta of the flowerheads and the green of the stems; the magenta was further highlighted by slightly underexposing the image as covered in part 3 of the course. White balance was set to Flash in the camera and did not require any correction later.

Fig 8: Colour - mixed light

Fig 8: Colour – mixed light

viii – Mixed light from a Nikon Speedlight with a cheap, “gold” (nearly tungsten, but not quite) Flash Bounce Diffuser restricted by long black-wrap snoot to only illuminate the flower heads acting as the key; fill provided by very early morning daylight on a cloudy day through west facing window in shot to left of camera.  Lens was a Nikor AF-D 35mm 1:2 at f6.3 with an exposure of 1/3″ to allow the blue fill to burn in after the initial brief punch of coloured light from the flash. The camera’s white balance set to tungsten, but adjusted slightly in Lightroom to give a less blue cast to the entire picture as the original effect was overly lurid, resembling 1930’s technicolour a bit more than I wished.

Assignment 4 – Getting There

AoP-4.6-banner

“Choose any subject that you can move around and take 8 photos based on the 4 themes of the assignment. ” – AoP Coursebook

The themes for assignment four were Shape – the 2D aspects of the subject – Form – the 3 dimensional aspects of the subject, adding depth to the outline – Texture – bringing out details of the surface – and Colour – which I took to relate both to the colour of the subject and also to the colour of the light falling on the subject.

So, the first task was to choose a subject that gave enough scope for all four of these to be shown, without too much repetition between pictures. I also wanted to use a variety of different sorts of light for this, using daylight and artificial light and also specifically photographic lighting to gain the effects required.

the dragon lamp

the dragon lamp

I started looking at lights that were already present in the house with the idea of the subject lighting itself in some of the pictures, settling on either an anglepoise-type lamp which offered a lot of nice, variable geometry or a 1920s wooden standard lamp in the form of an oriental dragon which would produce more diffused light through its paper lantern lightshade.

anglepoise lamp

anglepoise lamp

Shape and Form would be fairly easy to get, with the anglepoise offering a wider variety of silhouettes and the chinese standard lamp offering more interesting possibilities to cast shadows bringing out its form. There was plenty of texture in the carving of the standard lamp while the anglepoise had a rough cast iron base and silvered springs which would make fine closeups. But both were black: colour would be a bit of a problem although one picture contrasting the orangey light of the lamp itself with white, photographic light would be achieveable as would trying to give some idea of depth by using two lights coloured with gels to give contrasting (red in the foreground and blue further back) highlights.

I had already discovered the amount of space needed to light a subject during the photographic lighting exercises that led up to the assignment; the attic where I have my workroom probably wouldn’t be large enough to do wider shots of the standard lamp while clearing the living room of the clutter left by me, my partner and our 2 year-old would present problems.

AoP-assignmentWIP-4-4I put the idea on hold, while I tried to think of other more easily isolatable subjects, coming up with a typography of old Russian cameras – again, good shapes and nice textures but not a lot of colour – a battered old pair of shoes and an avocado plant, grown from a stone and now showing some nice structure for both the form and shape pictures, good textures on the leaves and trunk/stem and also a variety of colour in the leaves which contrasted nicely with the soil in the pot and the pot itself.

At this point however, the deadline for the assignment was looming and I just needed to knuckle down and shoot something; it was Valentine’s day and my partner gave me a bunch of carnations. As they fell into some sort of arrangement in a glass jug, I realised I had found my subject and also that the short lifespan of cut flowers would force me to work reasonably quickly. I cleared enought space in the living room to make a start and began making the pictures.

I will confine detailed notes and contact sheets to 4 of the 8 submitted pictures…

Keep a good head and always carry a lightbulb...

Keep a good head and always carry a lightbulb..


Contact Sheet 1 - Shape 1 & Form 1

Contact 1 – Shape 1 & Form 1

For the first shoot – trying to get a natural light Shape and Form – I put the jug of flowers on a table in front of a window and then raised it on an upturned earthernware plantpot so that the base of the jug was inside the area of the window. I took an initial shot using a venetian blind to control the intensity of the light somewhat, but did not like the effect (shot 1 on the contact sheet); instead closing the curtains gave a much softer diffused light while the folds of the cloth gave some variety to the background without being as disruptive as the hard horizontals of the blind.Liking the overall effect (shot 2) I took three further shots made with the same exposure, but varying the aperture to give an increasing depth of field to try and catch the outline of the whole bunch of flowers in focus. (check exif).

I then shifted the camera 90 degrees so the light was coming from the side of the frame rather than directly towards the lens. I experimented with trying a landscape formatted picture, but felt that – without something interesting on the background (shadows, perhaps) – the flowers suited a more vertical treatment. The low evening light was quite strongly warm, particularly when filtered by the oatmeal curtains. I tried different white balances, but overall did not like the resulting muted colour and lack of contrast (10 on the contact sheet). I drew the curtains to get more contrasty, undiffused light. I had draped a wider support (a cable drum) with black velvet to cut down on internal reflections but as the sun sank outside this did not raise the jug high enough for it to remain evenly lit, so I went back to using the upturned plant pot, but this time draped with the cloth. The effect was better, but the light hiting the water-filled jug reflected a sharp shaft of light on the wall behind the flowers (shot 11). To stop this, I taped my notebook to the back of the jug (shown in shot 16) and took the final shot. Annoyingly, you can just see the notebook to the left of the jug’s bottom (12) but – with the light vanishing for the afternoon and tea needing to be served on the table – was able to clone it out later (12-edit, the submitted image).


Contact 2 - Form 2 becoming Colour 1

Contact 2: Form 2 becomes Colour 1

I thought it would be fairly easy to get a flash-lit form picture using a plain background (a pale blue sheet)and a relatively strong undiffused strobe set to give a wide beam of light to cast nice sharp shadowws. Shooting down into the vase I thought I would effectively get a front and side elevation combined in one picture to give a stong idea of the 3D shape of the subject. I was wrong…

Firstly, getting the sheet anyway near flat enough to not cast distracting shadows proved almost impossible. And the strong contrasty light was focussed by the lens-like effect of the water in the glass jug, drawing more attention to the background than the flowers. Moving closer (44 and 46) gave a better effect than the wider shots I started off with, but it never quite worked for me at the time. In retrospect, I quite like some of them now, but still think I’d have needed to do more work to get them just so: rearranging the flowers to hide the hot spot; maybe raising the whole set up up and taping the sheet to a wall so I could work along the horizontal axis, rather than looking down on the jug of flowers while gravity pulled the ruckles out of the sheet. I almost got to this set up by draping the sheet over the front of the couch (56) but lacked the height I’d have had with the flowers on the table and so couldn’t really get the strobe low enough to send a shadow out straight to the side. It would also have allowed me to set the camera on a tripod and work on small improvements to lighting without worrying about framing and where I wanted the shadow to fall.

But instead, I gave up on the hard shadow 3D effect and instead added a shoot-through umbrella to the lighting setup, diffusing the light and losing a lot of the shadow; I also started working closer (69 onwards) losing the sense of 3 dimensions as I moved in but gradually becoming aware that the magenta of the flowers was nicely set off by the pale blue of the sheet, while the green of the stems stood out on the other side of the blue. Rather than a form picture, I was making a colour one. Picture 90 (the number of pictures shows the other downside to not using a tripod – rather than being able to sort the framing and then concentrate on the lighting effect, I was constantly reframing as well) is the one that I plumped for in the end; it also works at giving an idea of depth, thanks to the shallow focus and isn’t bad in terms of the texture of the flowers either, but the colour I think is closest to the effect of the carnations in reality…


Contact 3 - Colour 2 0.1 & 0.2

Contact 3 – Colour 2.0.1 & 2.0.2

All along, I had wanted to combine tungsten light with daylight, limiting the background to blues while the subject was rendered naturally by adjusting the camera’s white balance setting to compensate for the orangey light of a filtered strobe. Dawn looking west would maximise the contrast, I hoped.

My first go – 148-191 – placed the flowers in the livingroom bay window, relatively close to the pane and with the light high up to the left of frame in an attempt to avoid reflections of the light in the glass. I once again tried a landscape format composition (it left less vertical space for reflections to form and also was going to result in a nicer silhouette of the buildings across the street); I then blocked spill onto the background using a piece of black-wrap as a barn door on the window side of the strobe. I got the aperture part of the exposure correct; locked everything off and went to be. In the morning, I’d find out how long an exposure would be required to get a suitable blue outside and then take the picture.

Then in the morning, I realised that there were still reflections in the double glazed glass and also that getting the focus right in near darkness, was very hard indeed. I managed to crack the focus thing (a torch shone on the bit I wanted sharp allowed the autofocus to work much better) but couldn’t lose the reflections. I moved on to using much the same position as I had used for 1 and 3 with the jug in front of a different window (104-106) and adjourned til the evening. I then ran through the same process as the previous attempt this time realising that the problem with the view directly accros the street was that the houses opposite and their white window frames distracted from the actual subject and its colour while the brickwork didn’t end up blue enought for the effect I was looking for. I did however notice that he window shot from an oblique angle, into the corner gave plenty of blue, without either reflections or distracting detail (Contact Sheet 4, 33-42.

Contact 4 - Colour 2 1.0

Contact 4 – Colour 2.1

So, that night, before going to bed, I went through all the same steps again – although this time, I created a rolled tube of blackwrap to concentrate the orange coloured light form the strobe on the flowers, casting a shadow on the wall behind – only to find that the morning was not clear and birght, like the previous two days, but was instead really rather overcast (54-57) and so there was much less light from the window, resulting in a much longer exposure being required. I shot anyway, and rather like the effect, even though, after necessary slight adjustment of the WB form the cameras tungsten preset in Lightroom the blue is much less pronounced than I’d been hoping for.


I didn’t do a lot of editing on the pictures gathered, limiting myself mainly to cropping, with a little bit of getting the overall exposure closer to filling the space from black up to white. Some colour adjustments (beyond converting some of the final pictures to black and white) have also been made, if necessary, but this has been kept to a minimum…