After the sheep dog trial I had started getting keen to go to some agricultural shows which I knew were planning to be held this summer. None this month, but some next. Then the government pushed back the Covid release date and everything got turned on its head with shows cancelling. Some shows are only offering pre-booked tickets so I've pre-booked for a couple. Whether the shows will go ahead remains to be seen. As they are both still over a month away there is hope.Regardless of this there are a few sheep dog trials being held and there was one last weekend I would have gone to despite my reduced enthusiasm for these events. I had some fresh ideas. fate intervened, on the Friday when my car packed up on me. Long story short I was off the road for almost a week.To cheer myself up on the Friday evening I went for a walk round the moss which was very quiet with nothing happening or inspiring to photograph. All there was on the edge of the moss was a recently rowed hay field.
Coincidental I had a phone call that evening and in passing was told who's hay
it was and who was going to be baling it the following day. It was a hot
Saturday and I had things to do otherwise I'd have set out to take some baling
photos. As it was I only got away after tea and by the time I'd walked out (if
I'd had a car I'd have gone sooner...) the baling was over. The light was
typical of a summer evening following a hot day. Unfortunately the old tractor
was backlit by the low sun and my processing of the picture doesn't quite look
natural to my eyes with the lifted shadows.
The rest of the week I was pretty much stuck indoors waiting for delivery drivers and hoping for a phone call about my car. What to do? Well, I thought I'd put some of my newly acquired flash gear to use and try to photograph some wildflowers against a white background. Not a new idea but an exercise which might teach me something.
I knew the principle of how to do it - large white thing illuminated
from behind to create the white background and a front light to
illuminate the subject. Then it was just a case of adjusting the two light
levels to produce the desired exposure.
It was then a case of fine tuning things. I've found the white balance to be a problem when using indoor flash and it was the same with these flower shots. I can't fathom how to set a custom white balance when using flash (I guess I should do a YouTube search!) and trying to adjust in Lightroom wasn't pleasing me. The obvious answer was to use a grey 'card' as I've done before. taking a reference shot with that in the frame when starting a session makes it easy to set the balance in Lightroom.
Problem solving is what I find interesting in everything I do, so this was a
fun little project. My next learning point was that light placement is
important. I started moving the front light around my subjects to see how it
affected the picture, and also experimented a little with modifiers on teh
light. I thought an umbrella might provide a pleasing soft light but actually
preferred the look of the more defined shadows a smaller diffuser gave.
By Thursday afternoon I was back on the road and celebrated with a wander
round the moss. Staying away for almost a week meant that there were changes
to see. That meant I got a couple of photographs that I can add to my file for
the project I thought was put to bed.