Judith Ponti-Sgargi  

Christmas Still Life by Judith Ponti-Sgargi

December 2019 - Christmas Still Life

About the Image(s)

Camera Tech: 50mm, F/9.0, 2.0 sec, ISO-100, taken on a tripod with remote shutter release (2 sec) delay

Still-Life Setting: black velvet background draped on two foam core boards spread over a table. Lights were draped from the top of the velvet to hang down loosely. The flower arrangement was twisted to avoid a shiny clear Xmas bulb that acted like a mirror reflecting the tripod.

Lighting: room had no windows; illuminated from overhead lights and the Xmas lights.

The image was minimally edited in LR. In PS, there was some dodging and then the Nik Color Efex (light centre dark filter) was applied.

Future Study: I will experiment using more lights.

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

Jose Luis Rodriguez   Jose Luis Rodriguez
Hello Judith
A very Christmas image, the effect exploded on the LEDs, it brings a lot and the textures are well defined, good work.   Posted: 12/04/2019 16:37:53

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hey, Judy - this is lovely! The seemingly floating light-strings adds an Abstract twist, to this Christmas scene.

Would like to see more of this type of "out of the box" tinkering with a similar subject, lighting, all of it! Love it. Well done!   Posted: 12/06/2019 15:01:55

Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi
Lance and Jose

I was surprised and delighted when I saw the lights and will try some more setups.

JPS   Posted: 12/06/2019 16:16:06

Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
The textures are well preserved in your image! The lighting is perfect for highlights and shadows while simultaneously not blowing out the silky and brightest parts of the image. Very nicely done, in my opinion!   Posted: 12/16/2019 20:12:06

Hi Judy, beautiful still life shot! Did you use any focus stacking? The objects look very sharp and crispy to me. The lighting is perfect and I could see the texture and details of the ribbon and the reindeer. I really like the sparkling LEDs too. I wish there are more. lol It is a very nice elegant image. Well done Judy! If there is anything I could add, I might try to replace the black background to something that could give a little bit depth of the surroundings. Maybe it's just me, I feel the black background makes the image a little bit too flat.

  Posted: 12/18/2019 23:59:01
Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi

1. This is a single image with no focus stacking.

2. The black velvet is what makes the lights stand out. Also I could pin the light strand to the velvet. Black foam core would cause a weird light pattern.

See image attached of the deer against a tan wall. The lights against wood do not stand out as much. There is not much contrast between the deer (gold) and the wall (tan). I could put the deer against a dark blue wall to get the tonal contrast. Pushing the blue slider to the left would darken the wall. For this image, a selection on the deer and pushing the yellow slider to the left to create more contrast did not solve the problem.

The shadows on the wall help create depth.   Posted: 12/19/2019 07:34:30
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Additional Thoughts:
Yes, the Black Background is the deciding factor in creating this compositions appeal. In many instances (not all) some type of dramatic-essential is needed to bring the otherwise banality of the subject more excitement - or what Roland Barthes refers to as the thing that "pricks" the viewer to looking at the photograph with great interest. The "Blackness" in this specific composition is the catalyst that "pricks" me.   Posted: 12/19/2019 08:15:25
Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi

I did a slight reedit to create tonal contrast with the wall image. However, it still did not work as well as black.   Posted: 12/20/2019 20:28:13
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Hi Judy and Lance, agree, the black background does bring out the sparkling lights. Making background lighter won't look that good. I'm thinking another way to add some depth to the image. I think a few things we could try. I'm uploading one that I lighten up your table stand to add some depth. Or maybe add/drop a pine cone at front of the table. It's very thoughtful that you covered up the stand, otherwise it won't look so nice after I add more brightness to it.   Posted: 12/19/2019 21:43:05
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Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi

Those are two good suggestions and I will try it out. I think I would put the pine cone in front of the deer's foot but would have to experiment with the positioning.

  Posted: 12/20/2019 05:16:27

Dirk-Olaf Leimann   Dirk-Olaf Leimann
Hello Judith,
very impressive table top to me
Dirk   Posted: 12/21/2019 06:44:01