Now that I have a little bit of down time, I took some time
to work on other types of photography outside of portrait photography.
I recently shot a still life, because I wanted
some photos to test my updated computer processing speeds in Lightroom and
I’m quite happy with the
improved processing speeds of my updated computer, I’m also happy with how the
still life photos came out.
The inspiration for the still life photo came from two
places, one while I was eating some mandarins at work and the old Dutch Masters
Several of the Dutch Master still life
paintings are simple with only a few elements and very low-key.
I will admit some of the painting may look
very low-key due the paintings age and it needing to be cleaned to remove the soot
build up from over the years and the darkening varnish.
However, I’m going to stick with the darker
images I have seen in art museums.
|Basic Shoot Set Up|
For this shoot the set up was simple. I used a black backdrop
laid across my kitchen table. The back drop was propped up in the back by a cardboard
I placed a speed light with a small
soft box on a light stand to the camera’s right pointed down at the fruit. The
flash was set to a 25mm zoom and 1/8 to ¼ power. I also had a white reflector
on the camera’s left to reflect some light back into the image to ensure some
definition and separation from the background, without loosing the low-key effect.
(See image to left.) For lens alternated
between a 60mm macro and an 18-200mm lens with 51 and 66 frames shot between
the two respectively.
I was shooting at
ISO 100 with and F-stop between F9 to F20 with most frames being shot at
My shutter speed ranged from 1/100s
to 1/250s with most frames being shot at 1/250s.
The focal length ranged 24mm to 70mm with
most a bulk of the frames being at 60mm (due fixed length lens) and 28mm. I
shot 117 frames and kept 40 images.
For the shots I build up gradually from five little mandarins
to a full scene with apples, cheese, a cutting board, knife, a poinsettia, wine,
and a glass.
I then broke the image back
down to just the mandarins with one being peeled. This first image is my
starting image, it is a bit boring that is why I added the apple.
The second image is better but still lacking.
That when wen I started rummaging around the kitchen for additional items.
started adding pieces like the cutting board, cheese, and knife. (If your
wondering the cheese is Parmesan.) Then since it is the holiday season, I added
the poinsettia, that I just bought.
is starting to look like a full still life, but also a little bit like a
corporate Christmas card, in my opinion.
|ISO 100, Aperture F/14, Shutter 1/250s, Focal Length 60mm|
|ISO 100, Aperture F/16, Shutter 1/250s, Focal Length 60mm|
|ISO 100, Aperture F/9, Shutter 1/250s, Focal Length 60mm|
|ISO 100, Aperture F/13, Shutter 1/200s, Focal Length 32mm|
What really makes several of these images is the post
processing. The original lighting was important but the post processing is
where it really started looking like an old master painting.
I’m quite fond of these tow with the faded look.
In this case I applied fade filters which reduced
clarity, reduce the highlights and whites, added some grain, and a strong
The other one is supposed to
be reminiscent of old Hollywood. This filter reduced the whites but balanced the
highlights, blacks and shadows for a very flat look but increased the color vibrance
while reducing the saturation which gives it that faded look.
|ISO 100, Aperture F/13, Shutter 1/250s, Focal Length 28mm|
|ISO 100, Aperture F/14, Shutter 1/160s, Focal Length 28mm|
I ended shooting by going back to just the mandarins, and
the original though I had of a peeled fruit. The final image didn’t meet what I
had in my head but works in a simple way.
|ISO 100, Aperture F/13, Shutter 1/160s, Focal Length 70mm|
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