Monthly Archives February 2012

i do feel a fool…

Sometimes, you get so confused with what you are trying to do that all sensible thoughts go out the window. This is what has happened in this assignment. But I am glad to say that I have just had a little ‘eureka’ or ‘slap yourself round the head’ moment! Think it’s more of the latter, but I don’t care; if I have found the problem—or at least gone some way towards sorting it I am happy.

the effect of aperture

Have been battling with muddy colours for the background, especially the lighter colours. Hence most of my backgrounds will be stronger shades. But then I had a thought about the aperture I was using. I had used a smaller aperture to stop the amount of light coming from the front lights, I’m pretty much at the lowest setting and a lack of space means I cannot move the lights further back. But then I realised that this small aperture would also be restricting the amount of light/colour coming in from the back light—the one which is lighting the background. [It's how wide open the window is that controls the amount of light that is let in…my analogy; and it makes sense to me.] I should have drawn this from one of the earlier exercises in the coursework for this module—no use doing the exercises Vicki, if you don’t learn from them!!

Off upstairs to experiment. Taking the flowers out of the scene for the moment; and just going to leave the backlight at its present setting; and change the aperture and see what the effect is. Maybe,I might be able to move the flowers closer to the backdrop if my theory turns out to be correct.

In the interim, here is an image which is a flagrant Mapplethorpe copy. I did not like it last night, felt the blue background was too strong. But today I like it a little more! No colour enhancement done at all. Although loads of spotting done to remove watermarks and dust! You have no idea how easily dust is attracted to glassware! Not worrying about reflections for this assignment. I know that ‘family of angles’ stuff is covered in the suggested reading for assignment 4; and will try and tackle it then! There is only so much I can tackle at one time.

gradient backgrounds

Was also fretting about not having solid colour backgrounds; but after chatting with Clive W today in a previous post, looking at Mapplethorpe’s images; and having a play with a Curves adjustment layer, I actually think I prefer it to the flat colour?? Back to the drawing board? Have not done ‘spotting’ on this one.

As shot

With curves adjustment applied to background

And any comments on which colour background you prefer would be appreciated!

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it’s not the destination…

You know that saying about it being the journey not the destination that is most important, I am beginning to agree although I would love to be closer to my destination than I am at present. However, I have learned loads since I last had my panic! By the way, the wheel on the boom is still dodgy, but I am working around it with care. Health and safety would have me if they could see the wires that trail; and the bits I have to climb over to get into position, but hey-ho! This is just a quick one to update on progress and status, will flesh out in a later post. Oh, and let me know how fluorescent those daffs look on your screen. I promise I have not added any colour, I actually have slightly desaturated them in Lightroom.


shooting tethered…

Think that is sorted. Looks like the video that I had watched must have been an old one. There I was loading the Canon Utility; making folders, cursing because it was renaming the files, etc…. Last night I found another video that said plug in camera, go to File>Start Tethered Capture; and besides setting few folder options, everything seemed to work fine.  We hope it stays that way.


The darker grey backdrop works so much better than the light one I bought. so an expensive mistake; but we live and learn. Have since discussed with Laurence; and he would have had no problem with me painting one of the walls in the studio/boy’s room grey. Hey, they are teenagers and students! Once the roll runs out—which is too wide—and we had to cut strips from it, then maybe I will paint a wall. It will remove the backdrop-stands and give me more space!

horrible halos and grey muddy fall-off…

This was because the back light was too close to the back-drop. Have re-arranged the room, shooting the length and not the width. Okay, so it has me climbing all over their futons to perch as I take a photo; and I have had to dismantle the length of the boom and remove the weight because the room was not wide enough. Can’t have it all. It’s a bit dodgy—not as stable and secure as it should be, but I can work around that. I am also using a slightly wider reflector which seems to be spreading the light more. I did try the original reflector with a deflector and that was an improvement, but this one is better.


The short space between me and the flowers—to get the distance behind means that I may have to rethink some of my ideas. I wanted to do some like Mapplethorpe where he pulls back a bit and includes vase etc. I don’t think I have the height for that, but will see.

working environment…

As I said, it’s the journey that is important. And I am making that more pleasant too! Playing music off my laptop—singing along—and with a glass of wine on the side is helping me just get into the groove a bit better.

There is so much more I could write; about how I was scared to try again, how I found other things to do. How failing by not doing, seemed preferable to failing by doing. It’s not going to work out exactly as I planned; but it is going to work.

BTW: Have bought another amaryllis head; and hoping it will open soon! Now back upstairs to fine-tune and move one; but it is so thrilling to have got over the hump; and over the fear. I have so much still to learn, but at least it seems fun again! And by the way, I do have more than one green gel. The others can come out to play now!

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