Week 26

Settings: f/2.8, 1/3200 second, ISO 100, 50mm prime

Set up. Stepping out of my front door.

Opinion. Having taken a photograph of a dandelion seed head a couple of posts back, I stepped out of the front door the other day & spotted these in my garden. Equally impressive with their feather like fronds, I thought I’d try to capture a good image before nature took its course & the wind dispersed them. To begin with, I attempted to get an image with three of these blooms in shot with only one being in focus. However, despite trying from various angles (the side & even positioning the camera below) I found the background too cluttered & distracting. So I opted for a position directly above, shooting downwards. Post production, I simply chose a slightly closer crop & decided on a square frame.

(Apologies, I don’t know the name of this plant but if anyone out there does, please let me know).

Week 25

Low key double bass, monochrome, music, art

Settings: f/8, 1/200 second, ISO 100, 44mm focal length

Set up. Choose a reasonably sized, poorly lit room. Don’t worry too much about clutter in the background as hopefully this won’t appear in the final shot. In manual mode set a low ISO (100 is ideal) & the shutter speed to the maximum flash sync speed (in my case 1/200 second). Begin with a wide aperture & take a test shot (without the flash). The result should be a completely black image (if you use the histogram there should be just a couple of pixels pushed up against the far left edge). If not, narrow the aperture & try again. It goes without saying to shoot in RAW too (to help with adjustments later if needed).

Set the external flash to one side of the item being photographed & take a photo. If the background is being illuminated you can either, bring the subject further away from the backdrop or, move the flash closer to the subject but reduce the power so it doesn’t reach the background.

Opinion. I’ve always liked looking at other photographer’s low-key portraits. There’s something about the element of mystery in the parts of the image you can’t see that appeals to me. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good monochrome shot. So this was a fun little project. The time I spent messing with the flash settings & positioning though meant I was glad to be taking photos of an inanimate object as few people would have had the patience to stick with me! In the end I was quite happy with the results. As for post production work, a black & white conversion, a few touches of “burn” to darken certain areas & finally, a slight sharpen was all it took.