Monday, September 26, 2011

Sometimes It's Alright To Steal Ideas

The other day was our anniversary, so, being the good guy I am, I bought some roses for my wife.  Over the weekend she noticed how they had come into full bloom and said she might want to take a couple shots of them on Sunday.  No problem.  She didn't. So, today I took a couple shots of one rose.  That way, if she gets her camera out this evening, she has eleven left that haven't been shot.  The roses are actually kind of an orange color.  I know rose colors have all sorts of meanings and I'm not sure what orange roses stand for, but I'm sure it's some nice thought.  (I hope!)  The setup for today's image comes what a rather hairy accident.  The black glass top used to be part of a television stand.  The stairs going up from the playroom at home are open.  We were dog sitting our granddaughter's English Bulldog a couple weeks ago and I lost my balance stepping over the barrier we had set up to keep the dog in the playroom.  Unfortunately, the 50" flat panel television is right at the open stairway.  It was almost like trying to make a boogie board out of the set.  I wound up on the back of the television, "riding" it down to the floor.  I wound up with some bumps, bruises and cuts but the television smashed.  It had been sitting on a metal frame, glass topped stand.  The metal frame ended up bent, but all three pieces of black glass survived.  That's why I now have three black glass panels to use as sets for doing tabletop photography.  Today's image wasn't shot in "the usual" way.  To find out how it was shot, hit the "Read More".

Some of the inspiration for today's image came from Dave Black's "lightpaintings".  Really nice stuff.  The light for today's image came from a small LED flashlight (actually, two small LED flashlights).  With the camera on a tripod, attached to a remote shutter release, in a dark room (not a darkroom) the rose was a prime target for the "lightpainting" technique. 
The set up for the camera was to use a Nikkor 18- 200mm F4.5-5.6 lens with a Nikon PK-11A 8mm Extension Tube.  Just in case you're not aware of what an extension tube is or does, let me recap.  An extension tube is a hole with some plastic (and/or metal around it.  No glass, just a hole.  What it does is move the lens further away from the film plane (i.e. sensor).  Moving the lens out makes the focusing distance much closer.  How much depends on the lens and the size of the tube.  Nikon has 8mm, 14mm and 27.5mm tubes.  They can be used singularly or in any combination.  By putting the extension tube on I was able to get in close to the rose.
The technique for exposing the image was to set one LED flashlight behind the flower turned on continuously and the other was hand held and click on and off once for the top of the flower and once into the face of the flower.  The total exposure was 3 seconds @ F8  at about 150mm zoom. 
The post production was a simple case of cleaning up any stray light or reflections.  A copy of the base image was made in Adobe Photoshop CS5, converted to a Smart Object and had a Half Tone filter applied.  The Blend Mode was changed to Soft Light to complete the finishing.