We attended a Creative Flower Photography Workshop in Wimbledon. The workshop was hosted by Polina Plotnikova.
To start the day, Polina showed us some of her inspiration from the world of art. Interspersed with the art work we were shown a collection of her images. These have won her many awards over the years.
I was particularly fascinated by her use of Lensbaby lenses not only on flowers but on her landscape images. We asked if we could try them later in the day on our cameras.
Intentional camera movement
For the first exercise we had to be shooting in RAW. My camera is set up to replicate the image onto the SDHC card as a small JPG. I cheated and simply removed the SDHC card.
The flower was held in front of a black velvet screen and lit with a couple of lights. My task was to scan from right to left during the exposure.
After a few more attempts Polina suggested that I increase the time. I set it at 1.6 seconds. this seemed to work better for me. I tried moving the camera up and down at the same time as I moved from right to left.
I tried doing the movement up and down rather than from side to side.
This was even less successful. I went back to trying side-to-side movement. Now all I had to do was to make sure I kept the flower in the frame as I moved. I adjusted the settings for this next attempt.
Multiple exposure in camera
Polina explained that we would now try multiple exposure in camera. This was the reason why we had had to shot in RAW. She explained the workflow needed and after a few attempts I began to get some interesting images.
I selected one of the images that had had intentional camera movement, lined up the next image using Live View as an overlay and took the image. The camera then merged the two images. I experimented with the options on how the camera merged the images. Here is Polina’s explanations of the four Canon blending modes’.
Additive: What I use most of the time when shooting in even light conditions . This is most similar to the way film records light. Typically need to compensate by underexposing a bit.
Average: Compensates for light and averages it out.
Bright: Great for bright flowers on black background as bright spots of the images are composited
Dark: The darker parts of the image are combined and the brighter parts are suppressed, great for shooting bright flowers on back-lit or white background.
Here is one of the images that I created starting with the intentional camera movement:
This is the image that I lined up using Light View.
This is the result of the multiple exposure created in camera.
White on white
After a break we moved onto to different task. This was shooting white back-lit flowers that were then illuminated by flash.
Using the Lensbaby lens
The Lensbaby lens did not connect electronically to the camera. Focusing was manual and I used Live View to focus and compse the images.
All were shot at ISO 100 1/25sec.
After shooting the white flowers I moved to try and take images of a cabbage. I used the Lensbaby lens at different f-stops before taking the last images of the day using my own lens.
One of the images with my lens.
Thanks to Dr Paul Hendley, of Phasera Ltd, for arranging the workshop.