Bunny Laden  

Daisies by Bunny Laden

November 2019 - Daisies

November 2019 - Bunny Laden


About the Image(s)

My goal with this photo was to try out one of the techniques I learned by attending a webinar given by Charles Needle. His philosophy is to create images with the camera instead of using Photoshop to composite or manipulate. Please don’t interpret this as “using Photoshop is a transgression.” It’s not, just a different approach. Certainly Charles does not present it that way. He seems to enjoy taking a huge amount of time to work on set ups, particularly when he photographs outdoors. I think, for him, working with the camera is a meditation. I had a lot of fun trying this technique and it got me away from computer. (I’ve been spending far too much time at the computer on a documentary film project lately”big deadline.)

I used my MFT Lumix with a 45-200 mm zoom (90-400 equivalent for full frame). I placed the camera about 7 feet from the flower, zooming in to 200 mm. Then I placed a “texture wall” two feet behind the flowers. I used construction paper and hung on it greenery from my property: fir branches, live oak, and various plant stems. I laid the flowers on top of a glass vase to get them as parallel as possible to the plane of focus in the camera. It was too windy outdoors, so my set up was indoors: ISO 200, f 5.6, 1/30 second, and lit only with light through a skylight.

I then cropped the image in Lightroom and manipulated the color, both globally and in a few local spots. I did that because I did not like the original yellow color of the flowers, but that’s what I found at the local grocery. I got the flowers to be white quite by accident. The whole scene was too yellow. So I clicked Auto white balance in LR and the app decided that yellow should be white. However, everything else was off, so I used the selection tool to bring the background back to the original green hues (it had been turned blue), and I made the blue hues in the glass vase a bit more prominent.

I thought about removing the glass vase, but decided that I like the extra interest it gives, especially because it is out of focus. The flowers are actually quite far forward of the vase. I had to use a counterbalance of clothespins to get the flowers to stay in position.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
6 comments posted

Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
Bunny, you did a fabulous job with your setup for this image. I really liked the original image. One of several points that commend that image, is the placement of the flowers to the side of the image.

To me, the pink tone of the flowers is less desirable than the yellow tones. There is another way to remove the color from the flowers. Here is what I did to do that. I also tweaked the focus of the image to the flowers with a vignette, rather than using a square crop for your diagonally focused flowers.

1. Selective Color adjustment layer
a. Yellow, Black, Yellow, Magenta sliders all the way to left
b. Cyan slider all the way to right
2. Stamp up (Ctrl Alt Shift E)
3. NIK Color Efex Pro with top merged layer selected
a. Remove Color Cast preset
b. White Neutralizer preset
4. NIK Color Efex Pro with top merged layer selected
a. Detail Extractor 51% with control points on each flower
b. Darken/Lighten Center with center on flowers and Border Luminosity way down
5. Selected the base of the vase and applied Edit > Fill > Content Aware to remove rather distracting vase bottom.

  Posted: 11/06/2019 14:24:04
Comment Image

Karen Smalley   Karen Smalley
I have to agree just darkening down a touch the green foliage , has made the image stronger .. my eyes on the original one were being dragged over to the highlighted areas on the vase .. nothing you can really do with that as it looks like natural light coming through the window , apart from POSSIBLY a low opacity bit of burn tool just to take the time she off it a bit , but in the second version of the image , it is a lot better x   Posted: 11/06/2019 15:23:04

Witta Priester   Witta Priester
Bunny - it is indeed a pleasure to set up and arrange a tabletop composition - it's one of my favorite things to do. Your arangement is super, with the diagonal line from bottom left to top right. I'm intrigued by your choice to convert the yellow flowers to white / pink, but I do like it. This white balance shift seems to have lightened the background, as well as making the vase brighter, both of which I feel could be toned down (for example using a black brush at low opacity in a blend mode). As for your crop, if you chose to darken the lights in the vase some, then I would look to add a bit more of the flowers on the left side to balance the photo.   Posted: 11/06/2019 16:58:37

Mary Hinsen   Mary Hinsen
Hi Bunny. Thank you for sharing your set-up. It's given me some new ideas to try. You are right, the more we can prepare and do in camera, the better the result in the end.
I like the diagonal line of the flowers, and I am intrigued by your thought to remove the yellow from the flowers. I like the result.   Posted: 11/26/2019 19:05:54
Bunny Laden   Bunny Laden
Mary - For me, the yellow was aesthetically unpleasing. After I captured the image, it occurred to me I could alter the color. I love yellow sunflowers and other yellow flowers. Odd, I know!   Posted: 11/26/2019 19:18:43

Connie Reinhart   Connie Reinhart
When I first saw this image the flowers seemed to be washed out, the pink blossoms over-saturated. But it's growing on me. I like Georgianne's crop. And I like your arrangement. Still life is not as easy as one would think. Some people can take ugly items and make beautiful arrangements. And other people can't make a nice arrangement no matter what. Also, the lighting (very important in still life) is excellent.   Posted: 11/28/2019 21:08:31