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Posts tagged ‘Lily’

A Lily in Black and White

While the Monochrome Madness Challenge has been great in getting me to do more black and white, I have to say I have done some before as well.  Okay not lots, but some.  Recently I was looking through something and I found an image that I had done some time ago, perhaps two years ago, and I had forgotten how much I liked it.

sclillies-2129-bwI loved how close and person you got with the tip of the lily.  I also really liked how you could see the textures on the flower too.  I just have always really like this composition and making the image black and white really seemed to suit it.

sclillies-hpm2023bwI am pretty sure this is the same flower, but from a different angle.  Again the black and white did just suit it.  It is one thing I do like about black and white, the way you just look at shape and texture, even mood.

My lilies in the garden are slowly recovering from the hot summer and I hope I will be able to start picking some soon and doing some photos with them.  They are such a beautiful flower to photograph.  If I ever get my extension tubes it will be fun seeing what else I can get with those.

This was meant to be a quick post today, I’m a bit tired, it has been a very busy seven days.  I am looking forward to do nothing, though I need to start working on some images from the Pink Lakes, which I am excited about.  It is also going to be a very foggy morning tomorrow morning, so I want to get out there with my camera, and capture some foggy images, maybe one will be perfect for MMC9.

Next Up for Discussion Post.

On Tuesday I am going to do a post on HDR photography for my Up for Discussion post.  I know many people have questions about HDR photography, so I am happy for you to submit your questions to me and I will put them at the end of the post, so hopefully some other people can give you answers, especially if I don’t know the answer.  If you have a question, email it to me and put HDR in the subject line.

As usual the gallery so you can look at the images individually.

Wishes and Dreams

The other day I told you that it would be my birthday today, and it still is, so I decided that todays post might be a bit different.  I had planned on starting with the tutorials today, but I couldn’t think of what to do.  I don’t really know what people want to see.  Then I decided to do a post on what photography is to me.  I hope you can handle it.

Trumpet ImitationSome time ago I did a post asking what type of photographer are you, and I decided that I wasn’t a technical photographer.  I have thought about that question many times since then.  Recently I was asked what does it mean to be a photographer.  I also said in a post a couple of days ago that I see images everywhere.  I really do, I dream them, I see them walking around, when I am watching TV I see photos on the TV and in my head.  I never stop seeing them.  My head is full of things I want to photograph and what I want to do to them.

So being a photographer, what is it?

To everyone it is going to be different.  As I said, the image is everything.  What the final photograph will be.  It used to be about the moment the shutter release button was pressed and the image was taken, but now there are so many more options.

An image starts as an idea.  I have an idea that I think could make a good image.  Then comes the planning.  How am I going to take the image, can I get access, when is the best time to take it.  I have a notebook that I have with me always so I can write down my plans.  Then comes the planning of the actual trip.  When will I go, will I go by myself or take a friend.  It is good when I have company, but sometimes it is way better to go by myself.

The images are taken and then put on the computer.  More planning starts, what can I do to them?  Have I got what I hoped for?  Did I get something better?  Will I need to go out and do them again?

It never stops.  My brain is full of photography.  So much thought goes into my work.

Etched GlassNot everything works, and today on my birthday I have to wonder if I have given it all too much, but I won’t wallow.  It has been an interesting few years.

So what type of photographer are you?  How do you plan what you do?

Again, it is my birthday and I wanted to thank everyone for the birthday wishes.  It has been a nice day and not as hot as we thought it would be.

If you wanted to give me a present, haha, well I am looking for donations so I can get the software to let me do the video tutorials for you.  It isn’t compulsory and you really don’t have to, but if you want to help, the software is going to cost me $300, so if would like to contribute, then please just click on the donate button on the side.

The first image today is another Lily, I hope that is okay.  I really love them, and I quite liked the composition on this one.  It has been processed the same as yesterdays.  The second image, I think may have gone out too dark, but I wanted to show the etched glass.  I hope you like it.

My Way of Doing Black Backgrounds

The last few weeks I have done 3 posts with images of Lilies.  If you missed them then the first one was Death Flower, the second was Detail of Death, and the last one was Quick Sunday.  One of the most frequently asked questions I was asked, was how did I get the background so black?  I promised I would do a tutorial on it, and here it is.

I started with a image, a new one for this.

Here is the image as I first took it.  I am hoping you can see that the background is a motley colour.  I have canvas that I have stretched over frames and painted to use as backdrops,  This one was painted with yellow ochre and  either a dark brown or black.  Sorry, I did it quite a while ago and I don’t remember. I suspect I used raw umber, or maybe burnt Sienna.  I would have to go out to my studio and find out if you really want to know.  I am happy to do a tute sometime, if people want, on how to make your own backdrops.

Anyway back to the tutorial.

I have contacted Adobe about getting Photoshop Elements 10, I suspect they won’t, I thought it would be good to do the tutorials in it, so for now I will do them in Photoshop CS6.  So you open your image in your editor.

Once it is open you click on the curves and make the whole image dark so that the background is black.  It is almost black, so it shouldn’t take a lot to do it.  You can see on the image how far I brought the curves down to make the black.

Once you have done that do a “save as” and call it something different to the original image.  I called the original image lily-5769-1.jpg. and when I did the curves I saved the image as lily-5769-1-1.jpg, so I would have two images.

The next step was to open both images.

Both images are open.  To do what I do, it is best to decide what the smallest area will be that you will be eliminating, which is the lily in mine.  There is less area in the lily, so it is best to have the lighter image underneath and remove the dark lily on the top and leave the black background on the top image.

To put one image on top of the other you go to the image that will be on top, in this case the darker one, press Ctrl A, then Ctrl C (select all, then copy), go to the lighter image and click Ctrl V (paste), the darker image should now be sitting on top of the lighter one.

Next, you will need to add a Vector Mask, the mask you click on has the red square around down near the bottom on the right.  It will put the white square next the layer with the darker image.  You will need to click on the brush tool, which is over on the left. then right click in the image to bring up the box to change the size of the brush you want to use.  Make sure you have clicked on the mask so it is selected (when it is selected there will be a white border around it).  Now you start brushing on the lily to reveal the one from underneath.

I do all the edges first, I zoom in so I can see them easier.  I did have some trouble seeing this because it was so dark, so I turned the opacity down to 50% for that layer.  You can do that by going to the small window on the right that shows the layers, and just above the layer you will see opacity, you make sure the top layer is selected, it will be highlighted in some way, then you can change it.

If you hold down the Alt key and click on the mask in the layers window, the white square, you should be able to see what you have masked so far.  The black is what has been eliminated really.   I like to do this after I have done all the edges so I can see what I have missed and what I still have to do.  Once I am finished with it, then I simply do the same again, Alt and click on the mask in the layers window and it goes back to my image.

If you make any mistakes, remember you can click on the colour selector in the tool box on the left and change it so that the white is the foreground colour and simply remove your mistake.  I do this a lot.  I get carried away.  I really need to practice my colouring in skills.

There is the final image.  I have put the opacity back up, though I only did it to 91%, which is fine.  There is a lot more you can do to it from here, and I usually add some blur to the background, but for the sake of this tutorial,  I have decided to leave it here.  I want to do a lot more work on this image, but you will have to wait for more.

I know that there are many ways of doing this, and there are probably ways of doing it faster, but I love the colouring in, it makes me feel more artistic or something.  I have always enjoyed drawing, so I like that aspect of it.  I did try some other stuff, but I went back to doing it this way.  We all have to do what we are comfortable with.

Here is the final image, well the final for this tutorial.  I hope this has helped to show what I do.  Of course, the most logical thing would be to use a completely black backdrop.  I used to have some black velvet just for that, I probably still do, though I am not sure where.

I had also said I would show how I photograph them, now this next bit is a bit rough, I hope you can follow it.

LIke I said it is rough.  I love working like this.  I have a table set up between two windows, that is so I get a lot of back lighting.  I use the flash on my camera, but I set it so that it is -3 of it full range, then I set up a external flash, like the one you use on your camera, and I have the camera flash and the external flash set up so the camera will make the flash go off remotely.  Does that make any sense at all?

I used a telephoto lens, the 70mm to 300mm lens that I have.  The ISO was as low as it would go, and the aperture was set on f6. something, or there abouts, I’m not really good with the details, I just do it.  I know what I want to achieve, most of the time.  Of course, the camera was set up on a tripod and I was using a remote shutter release.

If you don’t have an external flash you could use a light that is like a spot light, say something like a desklamp, but you need to be aware that when you this you are likely to introduce a colour cast, like more yellow light, and you may need to change your white balance, or correct it with your editing software.  Then again, if you are planning to do them in black and white, then it doesn’t matter.

So there you have it, that is how I get my black backgrounds and I how I set up for still lifes.  I hope that answers the question for those that wanted to know.  Next week I will do a tutorial on how I did those sphere like images.

Quick Sunday

It has been a very busy day and I am running very behind.  Just a photo today.  This is from the Lily session I did a couple of weeks ago.I’ve been at the theatre all afternoon, the set is finished and I am looking forward to photographing the dress rehearsal tomorrow night.  Though, we have decided you won’t see them until after it opens on Thursday night.  Can I just say the set looks fantastic.

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