Tuesday, 14 June 2011

black light

Visiting both the Brighton University and City College Brighton end of year shows was hugely inspiring. Among the numerous ideas I came away with was a re-kindled interest in black-background photography. 

There were two excellent examples at CCB - one of fruit plunging into water and another of paper litter/telephone directories. I am afraid I didn't note down the names of the photographers but am grateful that their work inspired me to do some research and start experimenting myself... In previous attempts I had taken pretty averagely lit photos and then relied on photoshop to black out the background. This can work but is very hit and miss and time consuming (the grass photo from a few weeks ago was done like this).

Above photo of hogweed growing against a dark hedge (hogweed is usually white but this one caught my eye as the petals are all stained pink, an occasional natural variation). It was a bright day but the shadow of the hedge, using correct camera settings (s 1/100, f. 8, iso 80) and the use of the flash allowed me to take the detail of the flower while the background remained almost black. Only a little adjustment on photoshop was needed to remove just a small hint of a stem. 

I like the way the flower head seems to be bursting out of nowhere and how much detail is visible - the stamens really stand out. The flower head is not quite in focus - I was swaying a bit while taking it! Investing in a decent mini-tripod would be a good idea. I could get hooked on this kind of photography...

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