alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘fine art’

Basic ingredients – another still life.

L1010646-Edit

A few weeks ago I made my first still life image. Whilst I prefer outdoor photography I am really enjoying using things which I can find around the home, arranging them to form a pleasing composition, lighting them in a sympathetic way and then processing the picture mainly in Silver Efex Pro.

These basic ingredients can be found in almost any house. A loaf of bread, an apple, a slice of cheese and a drinking vessel, in this case an old wine goblet. Do we take these things for granted? We probably do. Perhaps this image reminds us that there is a simple beauty in all things, even the most basic of food ingredients.

Other ‘Still Life’ entries can be found by clicking on the links below.

Learning from Still-Life

Three vessels and a tulip

More ‘Still Life’ – further experimentation for the fun of it!

Learning from Still-Life

A tulip and three apples

A tulip and three apples

I think there is saying which goes something like this –

‘If something is easy, then make it difficult. It’s the only way to learn’.

I regard myself as a reasonably competent photographer but I am always keen to learn new skills and try new techniques. In the very short time I have been making still-life images, the above words sum up my current feelings rather well.

Having given myself the challenge of trying a new photographic genre, it is already clear to me that making a good still life image is far from easy. Naively I thought it would be relatively straight forward. I would choose the objects I wanted to photograph, place them how I liked in the frame, and finding a suitable background shouldn’t be a problem. Lighting might be more of an issue, but again I was of the view that having some control over the direction and intensity of light would quickly give me the result I imagined. And processing the final image should be a breeze – or so I thought!

This image, ‘A tulip and three apples’ is the result of my fourth still-life session. Whilst I am more than pleased with the outcome, getting there was far from easy. So what did I learn by making things difficult for myself?

Read more

Three vessels and a tulip

Three vessels and a tulip

This is the result of my third session making a still-life image.

Yesterday morning my wife and I visited The Curiosity Centre in Dorset. A large warehouse selling second hand furniture, collectables and what can only be termed as bric-a-brac. I was looking for some items which I thought would lend themselves to a still-life composition. I found three pewter vessels which I manged to buy for the princely sum of £10. I liked their simple design, rustic nature, patina and marks. I bought a bunch of tulips for my wife to enjoy but pinched one bloom for the photograph!

I spent a couple of hours in the afternoon creating a basic setup. Nothing elaborate. I used the natural light from a side window and a head torch. I changed the composition many times and tried different lenses and aperture settings until I had a selction I could download into Lightroom for further assesment.

My chosen image was processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro II. I like the square crop and the warm tone was added in LR to complete the workflow.

I find this genre of photography most appealing, so I will definitely be on the lookout for more items to help make suitable compositions. In the process I am sure my compositions and understanding of light will improve, as I refine my approach to still-life photography.

Do click on the image to view a larger version.

 

 

 

Apples and an orange – experimenting with still life

Apples and an Orange

This weekend my wife and I have been taking part in the Chichester Art Trail. This is the first time we have done so, although we have been regular visitors to the studios of other artists over the years.

Today (Sunday) has been much quieter than yesterday, largely due to the glorious weather and temperatures in the mid 20’s. After a very poor and wet spring we are guessing most people have been tempted by the beach or simply want to relax in their garden and who can blame them.

Being quieter gave me an opportunity to think and to experiment with a simple still life composition. I took a glass bowl, some cooking apples and an orange; found some black cloth and using a desk lamp for side lighting made this image.

Shot with my Leica Monochrom and a 50mm lens wide open @f1.4 very little is in sharp focus but that was the intention. I also knew I wanted the background to be completely black so that the bowl appears to be floating.

As a first attempt at a still life I am pleased with the outcome and if it’s quiet again tomorrow I shall be experimenting again with other items to be found in our home. Great fun!