Karen Botvin  

Afternoon Tea by Karen Botvin

February 2024 - Afternoon Tea

February 2024 - Karen Botvin


About the Image(s)

I recently joined a still life group in PSA’s PID division and have been concentrating on that genre a bit. I actually like it. I made this image with my Nikon Z7 with a 24-120 f/4 lens tethered to my PC and mounted on a tripod. I’m including one color version and one B&W version of the image. There was very minor editing done since I could adjust in camera before I made the shot. However, I did take the image into PS and added a bit of canvas at the top. I also added the tea color in the teacup with a bit of smoke. For the B&W, I used one of PS’s presets. My camera settings were ISO 320, 42mm, f/9 at 1.0 second. This was shot in natural window light with a bit of light from a Lume Cube flat screen set at 6% to throw a bit of light on the dark teacup. Which do you like better and how I might improve either version?

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

Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
I like the balanced arrangement and colors. The carnations and ? lavender are superb quality. Perhaps I am biased because my late father grew and sold carnations.
I think the background is slightly too blotchy behind the flower on the right. The smoke from the cup is obscured by the background cloth and I think a wood background would show it better.
I don't think it has potential for a black and white image without enough extremes of gradation from black to white as would be shown on a histogram. The only way to correct this is to add or substitute black and white objects to your arrangement.   Posted: 02/02/2024 18:49:50
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thank you for your comments, Piers. Please see my response and updated images below.   Posted: 02/10/2024 14:19:23

Martin Newland   Martin Newland
This is a nice bright image, however the brightness of the flowers and the background draws my attention away from the table and the items on it.
The shadows on the items on the table are very dark and I think they could be lightened a little. I find there is too much contrast in brightness from the top to the bottom of the image. Maybe balance the "brights" and the "darks" a little.
It is a still life and I really don't think it is necessary to have, what looks like, smoke rising from the cup of tea to try and add some movement. I might remove that if it were my image.
This looks like the beginning of a new photographic journey for you, well done
  Posted: 02/03/2024 20:14:36
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thank you, Martin, for your comments. Please see my response and updated images below.   Posted: 02/10/2024 14:20:56

Jim Wulpi   Jim Wulpi
Karen, congratulations on embarking on a different style of photography. I like the overall layout of this scene.
My first impression of this image, however, was one of slight confusion.
With the colorful flowers, the viewer assumes they would be fragrant; the tea pot and cup, also would be fragrant, but different.
The "smoke" from the teacup looks like it's from incense, and not steaming tea. That (incense) would lead to a clashing of natural fragrances.
My suggestion would be to make the tea cup depict (more realistically) that it's "steaming", and it would be much more pleasant to the visual and mental senses.   Posted: 02/05/2024 11:58:54
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thanks so much for your comments, Jim. Please see my response and updated images below.   Posted: 02/10/2024 14:21:37

Tor Nenzen   Tor Nenzen
Nice arrangement! The textures of the tea pot, cup and table sure add interest. In my opinion, the smoke and cloth don't add to the picture. Perhaps a darker background in a cooler colour would add balance to the overall colour scheme and its luminosity range. I like your arrangement - thanks for sharing this image.   Posted: 02/07/2024 11:47:56
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Tor, thank you for your comments. Please see my response and updated images below.   Posted: 02/10/2024 14:22:16

Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
I took everyone's comments into consideration and adjusted the shadows and lights, reduced the saturation on the background to a paler yellow, and omitted the smoke. I had another image that did not have the cloth, so I edited it as close to the original as possible. The setup is a bit off but you can see what it would look like without the cloth. Most stills that I've been studying, have a cloth of some sort included. I do think it adds to the image.   Posted: 02/10/2024 14:17:51
Comment Image
Martin Newland   Martin Newland
I think this image is "cleaner" than the one below!   Posted: 02/11/2024 22:26:15

Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Second image   Posted: 02/10/2024 14:18:27
Comment Image
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Better! The vase for the carnations is the central subject and needs more space - consider moving the cup slightly to the right and using a landscape mode? That would also give more room for the cloth.   Posted: 02/12/2024 09:54:43

Terri Adcock
Still life is way to clever for me! Personally there is a lot to look at it this image and I think i would have preferred a simplified image of just the kettle, cup and cloth.   Posted: 02/18/2024 11:21:21