Saturday, August 8, 2015

Still Life: August Birthday Bouquet

Well,  what do you plan  for your Birthday Eve day?
I had two totally different mind sets depending on our lovely, unpredictable,  Minnesota weather.

Nice, sunny day,  do the Walk For Scleroderma with my friends and then go bicycle riding. Or rainy day, who knows?  Come up with Plan B.

Well, I kept going back to sleep and just couldn't get up early to join the walkers. Sorry, friends.  I was exhausted and needed to sleep in.

When I finally got up, I had a slow morning of coffee and sorting through the Plan B options because it didn't look all that nice outside.

Eventually, around 12 noon I suggested we drive over to the neighborhood Farmer's Market on Lake Street and buy some fresh flowers for my birthday bouquet.  I bought two bouquets and then started the process of sorting, cutting, arranging, posing and photographing my birthday bouquet still life photo portrait.

I knew that whenever the next still life occurred I was going to use my set of three vases that I bought at a shop in Ouray,  Colorado.  The nicest gal, Nancy talked me into all three vases and of course, I couldn't resist them.  I'm so glad that I bought all three. 

Test shot early in the afternoon on my mobile device resulted in the basic layout.
Test shots early in the afternoon

I really wish I had an endless supply of wrinkle free fabrics.  I tried to use a solid purple background that I had purchased from a craft store but it was going to take an act of God to iron out all those creases.  And I tried, really.  But they were too visible in the test shots.

After a dozen or two different photos based on the changing light in the late afternoon, I decided this one was my favorite because of the light that was cast on both the sunflower and on the vases.
Still Life: August  Bouquet (available for purchase)

For those interested, I've found that I prefer an  ISO 400 or ISO 650 so there is high contrast and then a depth of field like F11 or F16 depending on how much of the background I want sharp.

I have natural harsh light coming from the west so I put up a white lace curtain to diffuse the west light while simultaneously setting up a white reflector on the opposite side (propped on a painting easel I don't use for painting) to bounce the light back into the side of the set.

This portrait is a bit busy with the patterned shawl as my background and my pink scarf as the table covering but it's got the right colors and textures so it works for me.

Hope it does for you, too.

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