One subject, four ways with light

Altering artificial and natural light effects to take flower seeds

Day 27 of the macro challenge and today I have been experimenting with light. I chose one subject for the entire session and then altered natural and artificial levels to see the impact it would create. I made a conscious decision to do very little post production work so I could be as true to the true effect as possible (plus it’s a Sunday and after a hard week of photography I fancied giving myself an easy ride today!)

I chose a dying daisy flower as my inspiration. Whilst having my breakfast I noticed that petals and then tiny seeds would fall off the dying plant whenever a gentle breeze blew through the open window. I quickly grabbed my camera and Ali (my husband) placed a blue glass brick under the vase to collect the seeds as the flower decayed. This prompted me to take a radical departure from my usual natural macro shots and I decided to create an artificial setting for the first time this month (!). I grabbed an empty bottle from the cleaning cupboard and used it to spray water droplets on the glass brick, onto which the seeds would fall and be placed.   I then grabbed a head torch and set it to the lowest setting to illuminate the glass brick and seeds on top. I then took four shots, amending the light and aperture as I went along.

The first shot (above)was taken at ISO 1250, f/11, 1/80 sec and exposure bias -2/3 EV with no artificial lighting.

The second shot (below) was taken at ISO 1250, f/ 11, 1/250 sec and exposure bias -2/3 EV.  The shutter speed was assisted by using the head torch to directly illuminate the seed.

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Exploring the different lighting options with flower seeds - version 2

The third shot (below)was taken at ISO 1250, f/ 11, 1/50 sec and exposure bias -2/3 EV.  I angled the head torch away from the seed but so that it shined through the glass brick and illuminated the subject gently from beneath. I also asked Ali to stand in front of the window to diffuse the natural light. I love the way the water is now illuminated beneath the seed, moving the focus from the seed itself to the water droplets.

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Exploring the different lighting options with flower seeds - version 3

The fourth shot (below) was taken at ISO 1250, f/18, 1/40 sec and exposure bias -2/3 EV with no artificial lighting, but with the glass brick positioned to benefit from half of the natural illuminating from the window. I also used a laptop to block the harsh light in the background of the image, but its size meant that enough natural light could still  penetrate the glass brick to illuminate the seed.

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Exploring the different lighting options with flower seeds - version 4

I love the fact that this experient has produced four very different shots of the same subject and has provided me with some valuable learnings along the way.

I’d be interested to know which is your favourite.

Several other images from today’s macro photo session are also available in my online macro gallery.

1 thought on “One subject, four ways with light

  1. glenna says:

    beautiful!I thought it was a fishing lure at first glance

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