Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flower shot

I am currently reading a book called Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds by Harold Davis. While I am not too impressed with the technical stuff that I have read so far, I am pretty impressed by the photographs taken by the author. They are simply stunning. Take a cue out of his book (figuratively and literally) I headed out to the market to buy some flowers to shoot at home. I bought two - a pink rose and a red dahlia. I started my session immediately before dinner and then continued till way past bed time; when everyone had turned in.

Lighting was provided by a table lamp as well as a bed-side night lamp with a green shade, both with CFL bulbs. I had my best results with shots taken after dinner and these are shown below.

Floating in the void
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/11, 1/125s

A different perspective
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/11, 1/125s

A crown for a rose
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/11, 1/125s

Looking back
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/11, 1/125s

Dahlia Petals - Abstract
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/11, 1/125s

Dahlia portrait
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/16, 1/60s

Heart of a rose
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/8, 1/125s

Pink velvet
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/11, 1/400s

All pictures were taken handlheld. The reason I could was that the ISO was at 400. If I had required a lower ISO, I would have been forced to take out my tripod. All images were in RAW, processed in ViewNX and had watermark addition performed using GIMP. I had the SK teleconverter on and it is performing wonderfully well. Take aways from this shot were as follows:
  1. Ambient light leads to poor lighting. It is better to arrange focused lighting. This is the reason why the shots after dinner came out better. All that had happened is that I was able to switch off the light in the dining room.
  2. Whether one is shooting flowers or shooting models, there is a need for perfection. It is easy to use make up to hide the blemishes on a human subject, but it is always better to buy the perfect flower. The rose had  sections of the petal burned / dry. And you can see the creases on the underside of some of the dahlia petals.
  3. Do not buy flowers at night.

I will sign off with a shot of a rain tree flower growing in a small garden plot in front of my house. This too was taken hand held and in windy conditions. The flower looks like a horehair brush from far. On using the macro lens what I got was looking like a number of small spaceships escaping on red trails ....

Escaping Krypton
Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D, Schneider Kreuznach 1.4, ISO400, f/8, 1/200s

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