Posts tagged ‘fruit’

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?

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

Still life-4

A few days ago I experimented for the first time with still life photography. (You can read that post here). I have to say rather enjoyed it. Sometimes I think you need to break free from the norm, try something new and endeavour to be a little creative in the process. It can be very refreshing to photograph subjects in a different way and to make images which challenge how you think and approach a new technique .

With more time on my hands this afternoon I gathered together a few items of glassware from around the home and raided the fruit bowl and the fridge. I used a very simple set up. A black cloth was served as a background and a base. In addition to the natural light in the room I used a desk lamp to provide some directional light, plus a small head torch to cast light on a particular area of the subject. I used a 90mm lens on a full frame 35mm camera mounted on a tripod for stability.

After a certain amount of trial and error here are the results.

Still life-1

Still life-2

Still life-3

All in all a very pleasant and satisfying way to spend an afternoon. Still life photography may not be to everyone’s taste but I particularly enjoyed the complete control I had over composition, lighting and final processing. Without question I shall experiment further. I would like to try different backgrounds, reflectors and mirrors to change how things are lit. Choose other items to photograph and consider options for their placement in the frame. I may possibly acquire some interesting objects from charity shops or boot sales etc. The permutations are endless. Long term projects continue but photography should be fun and having experimented with ‘still life’ I do feel that my creative juices are flowing once again.

Do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in anew window.