Art 264 | SCSU Fall 2020

We had our first class group critique today (virtually) and this was the best critique I’ve ever experienced for several reasons. Our professor, Jeremy Chandler, gave us a list of questions to answer for each group members work. We posted to a private group on FLICKR and put the images in an album. Each member had a chance to answer the question about the artist’s work being reviewed, then the prof commented. We methodically moved to the next question and repeated the process. This experience was totally professional and collaborative. Everyone seemed inspired and encouraged. Our teaching assistant Jim worked with Jeremy to make sure each small group session ran perfectly so we could devote the necessary time to cover all the questions properly.

I worked really hard on this assignment and went to the Duck Pond in Milford, CT at least six times in order to fulfill the assignment which was to master camera settings using shallow and deep depth of field, blurred and stopped motion and two optional artist’s choice images. My favorite images are in the right column. Everyone liked the top left and top right images most.

This Flickr album has more info about each image:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmQTF6NM

Please note: this is the first post I’ve done with the new block editor:)

thinking about the next project…

Clockwise from left:
  • this will be a perfect image to use for a digital montage composition as the ground base…reflecting the image horizontally several times will create an interesting expanse and serve as a backdrop for animating floral macros
  • starting to work with flowing water in order to understand it’s behavior and determine the way in which I prefer to photograph it moving forward
  • photographed this dense lavender rose in late afternoon on our front terrace against the (intentionally) painted green shingles & a dense birch tree filtered sun

    recipeThis is the same rose photographed in studio against a Slim Light Plano lightbox which makes it very easy to capture a nearly white background suitable for animating.

    These orchids, from White Plains Orchids, also will be suitable for animating against, perhaps a video capture of a waterfall.

Passionate about passion flowers…

todaysMoodFirst saw this species at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens over 10 years ago & have been intrigued & obsessed w/it ever since…so it’s great that my neighbor, Jean, planted a vine that is thriving:) Passion Flowers grow on  climbing vines..during their blooming season, the flowers start to open slowly…some varieties open later in the day and then close at night. So each day is a surprise. She had just watered the vine with an old fashioned large round sprinkler head. I just love photographing this flower.

Getting ready for animation…

For several years I’ve been thinking about animating flowers against moving water…the digital montage has always fascinated me. Historically, when photographing on location, I stop down the aperture, get close, and isolate the subject against the existing environment. My neighbor has a beautiful plant in bloom right now. However, this project requires a different approach and the challenge increases as the complexity of the flower increases. I have been building a library of my favorite “isolated” flowers and it’s time to include the passion flower. These were made on location and I placed a piece of white paper behind the plant. Next step may well be to ask my neighbor if I can snip one to bring home. To be continued.

tending towards abstract…

Images from a recent trip to the New York Botanical Gardens 2020 Orchid Show…although this approach is relatively new for me, I find the tendency to favor extremely soft focus when making images of this nature. And, yet my eye goes right to the dark image in this mosaic! Perhaps because it lacks color or perhaps because the sense of sharp detail invites closer inspection.

First favorite flower – Paphiopedilums

sunnyStarting to enjoy working with CaptureOne and can’t wait to do the daily edit:

1. rather intense & subjective color edit of hue & saturation for greens & yellows
2. brought up the shadows & blacks with a modest amount of healing on a layer
3. love luma curve to bring down the hotspots – subtle mask
4. dodged shadows from nikon macro twin flash -subtle mask
5. adjusted program settings of the FOCUS MASK so it was a tad more “generous”. The lip and central column are not on the same plane, so it is necessary to stop down because I prefer both parts, if framed in camera, to be in focus.

The CaptureOne controls are very responsive. Love working with this program…it took me about 7 weeks to start feeling comfortable:)

This paph was in pretty bad shape with brown aging spots around the edges (left only a few to hint at the integrity of this specimen) and tons of microscopic debris which I really dislike…so a roundtrip to to Photoshop was required.
This took tons of work at 200% magnification.

Then, took a shortcut and ran a hi pass PS filter to sharpen up only my favorite parts of the blossom and put another dodge layer to even out the flash shadows a bit more…next visit will adjust the powers setting and try some extra diffusion.

This is the original .nef file w/o any adjustment…can’t believe I have the courage to post this:

sunny 3

Practice may not make perfect…hopefully it makes better:)

WalkingIris

First things first…for years I thought this was an orchid although my florist sense saw it as an iris…coincidentally it appears during the Orchid Shows…the plant info folks at the New York Botanical Gardens cleared that up for me lickety split….

and then, attempting to stay on track with my goal to learn how to use CaptureOne…this edit was done start to finish within the program…I was able to use a luma curve adjustment layer to achieve the tonal range in the blue. Having had a chance to peek behind the scenes of recent CaptureOne edits by the awesome Douglas Duber, I was able to sharpen a few areas and easily edit the colors to approach those I wished/remembered, and thus, add more drama and contrast. The controls in this program are very subtle yet powerful. Working with masks is starting to feel comfortable!

However, I am still having a few challenges with the healing adjustments and realize for the short term I may still have to roundtrip to PS to cleanup a few spots. For the sake of transparency…the spots are still here:)

Plan to go back next week and hope it’s still there…

Day 11 – CaptureOne practice

 

Editing colors is fun and easy in CaptureOne…continually amazed by this program..the readouts are a lifesaver in terms of controlling the tonal range and preparing for a color managed print workflow.

The surface of this Paphiopedelum (far right) is very reflective and very dimensional so it’s always a balance between focus, exposure and need to use natural light. CaptureOne HDR controls are incredibly effective and sensitive. However, the surface of the orchid had many blemishes which required tons of touch up so it made sense to switch to PS for the final edits.

Each flower requires a different approach:)

Day 10…CaptureOne practice

7 days to go – the reflecting pool inside the NYBG Conservatory…

This room is peaceful and receives lots of natural light. Usually the pink passion flowers bloom late afternoon although I’ve never been able to predict when this will happen so it’s always a wonderful surprise. This year, surprise barely describes the room. The fountain is covered with moss and the water only circulates softly in the pool below. This means there are no bubbles to capture in the dark water below…just a slight sense of aquatic motion. The surface is covered with tiny green and red botanical growth which naturally clump together leaving space for the sky and glass supports to reflect in the water.

I took a photo workshop in Westville, CT this past summer and the leader told me it was best to get it right in camera so I did not have to spend time in Lightroom or Photoshop. Perhaps, she did not understand that I enjoy visiting The New York Botanical Gardens again and again or sometimes what makes one a decent photographer is the desire to improve each work. ..she announced to the group that I was “good photographer”.  This did not feel like a compliment..it felt like a “slap” because I pressed my point and she then accused me of  “acting like her teenage daughter.”

I always aim to be better and ignored her misguided advice which seemed based on expediency and not the desire to grow and thus, continue to do exactly what I enjoy.

FAVEnybgOrchidShow2020

This image is the result and, I can’t wait to go back again.

The color editor in CaptureOne is amazing…was able to isolate and pump up the saturation of the blues and greens.