Thursday, 30 May 2013

Colour breaking out

Late on yesterday the sun threatened to shine for the last few hours. I had some shots in mind so set out. It turned out the sun decided to go into hiding again, and the shots I had visualised weren't possible anyway. Things had changed. Stuck for ideas it was to the sandplant where, sure enough, flowers are starting to appear at last.

I'm no botanist, but even I can tell there is a huge variety of plants growing on the apparently barren ground. Some native colonisers and some immigrants - either decorative or agricultural. Just as I am no expert on plant identification I'm not proficient in the skills of plant photography either. I wouldn't have a clue how to do it 'properly'. So what I do is something that satisfies me.

Last year I made some shots using on-camera, and off-camera, flash while shooting from a low angle to isolate the flowers against the sky. By underexposing the sky this highlights the colours of the flowers. Any background goes darker too while foreground detritus is picked out which sort of emphasises the derelict nature of the environment the flowers are surviving in. That the lighting is harsh doesn't bother me at all; the whole place is artificial. Last night's darkening sky was ideal for doing more of this.

Yet again the articulated screen of the little camera came in really useful for these low level pictures. I've tried using an angled viewfinder attachment with a DSLR and it just didn't work for me. The touch screen focus point selection is superb. The whole screen can be used and not just the central area as with a DSLR. Then again when using a drastically reduced exposure the screen reflects this, making framing more difficult. You can't have it all.

A lone plant with no clutter behind it and a rising ground far enough away can be isolated by the flash just as well as against the sky. The only problem I have found with using the camera's flash is that it can overexpose the immediate foreground in these low level shots. It would be better positioned to angle slight upwards. However, a neutral grad added at the computer overcomes the effect quite nicely.

I suppose I should use these pictures as reference sketches and go back with a couple of off-camera lights, lighting stands, tripod and DSLR to make a more slowly and carefully considered set of pictures. More likely I'll get distracted and go do something else.

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