Rainy Day

We have a joke here in the NW, “What do you call two rainy days in a row? – A weekend”. We’ve been having beautiful 80 deg weather right up to Labor Day weekend and what do you know, two days of rain so far with 80 deg weather forecast for Tuesday. I had planned to go out and shoot this morning in the garden, but it was too windy and rainy to do that. So I went out to the garden and cut a couple of the flowers, the ones I had planned to shoot outside, and took them in doors. The blog images are from that shoot – what follows is a brief outline of how I created the images.

First, after cutting the flowers and putting them in a small vase with water, I set up a small table next to the window as shown – it was cloudy so the light was nice and diffused. I have a set of fabrics on a rod that I use for backgrounds on such occasions (al a Tony Sweet’s studio). In this case I chose a light spring green. Second, I popped a Lensbaby 3G on my D300 and proceeded to create. I used a f4 aperture ring on the Lensbaby and in general used the push method where you extend the Lensbaby bellows instead of compressing it. I moved the flowers as needed to create compositions that seemed pleasing to me. I also needed to use a small reflector to fill in some of the shadows (a white sheet of paper does the trick). Later I put on a 50mm lens with an extension tube to do more closeup work. Note, I also used a tripod and cable release as feasible. Once I had the images I wanted, I went through a set of post-processing steps as needed.
  1. Load image into Lightroom and sort through the images in the Library mode to find ones you want to develop (discard the rest). Go to the Develop mode.
  2. Adjust the Exposure slider to the right until the histogram is to the right without blowing out the whites. I do this for creating a light airing feeling – called “high key” lighting.
  3. Use the Fill Light slider to get rid of “black holes” – they tend to draw your eye. Try to avoid these with the reflector during the shoot.
  4. If there are some really dark areas, you may need to use the Adjustment Brush to select an area and increase the local exposure and/or brightness.
  5. Use the clone tool to remove imperfections from the flowers – brown spots just don’t look good (the flowers you cut should be as pristine as possible).
  6. In a soft focus image like this, I might use the Adjustment Brush to select the focal point (one focused area where the eye can rest) to add some Clarity and/or Sharpness.
The final image is one shot with the 50mm lens with a little diffusion added in post processing.
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