One of the recent prompts in the studio is BERRIES, which I have photographed many times and never tire of, so I thought this theme would be a good one for me to do to get back into the swing of still life. As usual, the simpler compositions worked best for me.
My Friday Find is borrowed from my friend, Debbie, who graciously allowed me to photograph it this week. You may see it again, because I have some other ideas before I return it. And my goodness, there’s that straw hat again!
This is a Lensbaby shot with added textures. I like the look that some of my textures give my walls- wish they really looked like that!
And here is the same photo (in the original proportions- I “stretched the canvas” of the top one in Photoshop) with a black and white preset I adapted from one I had gotten from somewhere. I wanted a light-ish black and white conversion, which I sometimes do by adjusting tones etc. This time I decided to save it as a preset, hoping it will work on other photos as well.
Hats on Chairs- catching up on still life challenges for The Studio Online!
If you have been following my blog for awhile, you have seen this chair many times- and if you’ve been following it for a LOOOOONG while, you seen the hat. Oh well- you’ve seen them, because they’re great props for still life photography! And, no doubt, you will see them again!
One of the assignments in The Studio was to create a still life with an added human element. My photo ended up being predominantly human rather than still life, so the human touch in a still life is something I’m keeping on my (mental) to-do list.
Next week I start an online Lensbaby class through Clickin Moms with Caroline Jensen! I’m beyond excited to learn from this Lensbaby guru (and also from some of the amazing photographers taking the class- Holy Cow!). I’m taking it “study-along”, meaning I won’t get any feedback except from my classmates, but I will have access to all the class materials and can read the feedback Caroline gives the other students. We’ve already been given “pre-assignments” well in advance of the class starting, so I already have started learning.
Because I’ll be so involved with the class, it is possible that I’ll be pretty behind in my still life assignments, unless I combine the two (which I may in fact). But since I often use a lensbaby for my stills, I’m going to try to step outside of my comfort zone and practice outside and with people.
So here is a lensbaby still life of PEONIES (surprise, surprise!) and my chair.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend!
I bought a bouquet of white gerberas yesterday. When I got home I discovered this bright pink one tucked away between the others. Sweet!
Monday night I was inspired by a prompt in Kim Klassen’s Studio to create a still life potting bench . . . of sorts. . . inside. . . in my entry way. I long ago let go of the idea that all still life photographers just come upon these beautiful vignettes in their houses- well, some do- but most often they are created or styled for the camera. Since I was avoiding making dinner, I quickly gathered some pots and garden-y props to create a still life. I enjoyed it so much that I kept it up and took even more the next day.
Here is my first photo. If you’ve been to my house, you might recognize the antique dental cabinet. I had to remove some of the liqueur glasses and little dishes in the cabinets, but missed a few (thank goodness for Photoshop!). I also added some texture to rough it up a bit.
And here are a few other shots from the next morning. I took more time with these, using a tripod so I could slow my shutter to add more light (it has been dismal and rainy here). I used my lensbaby for the first one and edited them all with one of Kim’s presets for a dark and earthy look.
The above image is the latest of my still life photos for The Studio- a continuation of the One Thing theme. This time, my one thing is not the subject of my composition, but the background – my walls. I thought it might be interesting to explain the evolution of the idea and execution of this image. I’ve read that photographers find their inspiration everywhere- from nature, from music, from paintings, from the color palette in an advertisement- ANYWHERE.
In this case, my idea came from a movie. We went to see The Woman in Gold with our friends, Debbie and Dale the other night. The movie was a fascinating true story of a woman (played by Helen Mirren) who sued the Austrian government to have them return her family’s paintings (by Gustav Klimt!) which had been stolen by the Nazis and were now “owned” by the Austrian government. No, this photo was not inspired by the Klimt paintings.
In one scene, as I remember, there was, in the background, a painting or photograph of a still life composed of a dry arrangement (wheat?) in front of a two-tone wall. I somehow noted it and then dreamed about trying to recreate that image, using my colorful Arizona walls. That was the beginning of the photograph above. I took quite a few shots of these dried weeds and flowers in front of my bright walls, gradually moving away from the traditional still life I was envisioning to a textured black and white closeup image which is my favorite. All the photos were taken with my Lensbaby, which I’ve been practicing with every single day for the last 3 weeks.
I think I might be finished with the One Thing challenge for BeStill52 and The Studio, but no promises. . .
A couple Lensbaby shots:
Top down with my 35mm 1.8:
We were challenged to photograph one thing, shot different ways, different days, with different props in both BeStill and the Studio. I decided to use my blue lantern, which my son gave me for Christmas. I’ve done a couple different photo shoots and plan on doing more this week. All of these were taken with my Lensbaby and Sweet 35. The top one has a couple textures added.
I wasn’t too excited about the eggs theme for The Studio Online this week and felt pretty uninspired- until I cracked eggs for my scrambled eggs breakfast yesterday. Aha! A cracked egg in the composition- I haven’t done that before. And this would be a challenge for the Edge 80 optic on my Lensbaby (the optic I can never get off once I put it on- but that’s another story. . .). The weather was warm, with no cold wind knocking over my props in my garage studio. For once, things went smoothly with the set-up AND, most importantly, with the focus. In fact, I will have more eggs photos to show you- probably tomorrow.
The first photo was edited with Kim Klassen’s darklight preset (tweaked and at reduced opacity in the Fader). The other two are edited with one of my own.
Back in the studio again! Spring is really here, and it was actually pleasant to work on still life assignments in the garage. Here are my “official” light and shadow images for The Studio.
Playing with Kim Klassen presets:
top row- moody-ish, organic
bottom row: chocolate, barely color
This one is a more standard, “clean” edit.
The latest prompt for Kim Klassen’s Studio had to do with light and shadow, which she related to ups and downs in her own family. It was easy for me to use that metaphor for the twists and turns that have been part of our 2015. Life has been mostly wonderful, but we have stepped into the shadows a few times in the last couple months.
Although I considered this theme, I have not yet done the still-life assignment. Instead I took some sunrise lensbaby shots of the sunflowers I bought the other day (that I had INTENDED and STILL INTEND to use in a shadowy still life). Somehow, I always find myself drawn to impromptu still lifes, rather than styled ones, and in this case, the morning sun on the sunflowers was too beautiful to pass up. There is shadow in these images- but the light is predominant.
While in La Jolla, we stayed at a tiny little rental cottage with cute things all around. I was inspired by all the great props to create a still life one morning; I hoped to get a few more done as well, but the beach was calling.
Here’s another view of the teacup filled with mini carnations. I was trying to do a take on the dinner plate art assignment for The Studio- where you artfully arrange food (or flowers, leaves etc.) on and around a dinner plate in an artful manner. Symmetry and precision have never been my strong suits, and I feel totally out of my element doing food photography- so I gave up after maybe 10 minutes. I put the dibs and dabs of leaves and flowers to the side and stuck with just the flowers in the cup- and one stray one on the saucer. I am in awe of those who create these beautiful tableaux- but it’s just not me.
I saw these mini-carnations at the store the other day and immediately thought of pairing them with my grandmother’s chintz teacup for a still life. Both photos were taken with my iPhone camera and were edited with my old stand-by, Snapseed. This app was especially useful in editing the second photo, because I needed to selectively adjust the reflection to bring it out; you couldn’t even see the reflection in the unedited version, but I knew it was there.
Our latest challenge in The Studio was to create a photo that is editorial-ish. I was pretty stumped until I went to bed last night and somehow came up with using the daffodils I had purchased yesterday at Trader Joe’s in this still life. I had been thinking of using one of my little Adirondack chairs in a composition, so it all came together in about 10 minutes. Adding the text took longer- way longer- as I always have to try out every font before I’m satisfied (or tired of it . . .).
I took the photo below a day or two ago, and it kind of fits into the “editorial-ish” theme as well. In fact, the newspaper is opened to the editorial section! Here I was painting hearts to add to a still life you will be seeing tomorrow!
Our assignment this week in The Studio was photographing flowers- from above. The weather was so beautiful this weekend that I took my photos out on the back patio- perfect for this assignment.
I remember when I started in with BeStill-52 last year, everyone seemed to be using these cool scissors in all their photos.
I was resolved to avoid buying props for my still life photos, figuring photography was a hobby I could barely afford anyway- why spend more on props? But I LOVED them- and, after searching our nurseries, craft stores and hardware stores, I googled “scissors” and finally discovered they are used for bonsai. They come in all price ranges- and, of course I got the cheapest I could find. I bought a set of two, this one being the photoworthy ones. I actually keep the other pair in the kitchen and use them all the time when I cut flowers (which I usually do on a weekly basis).
The Studio has a Facebook group, and I noticed the other day that one of the new members asked about the cool scissors someone had in their photo. I guess I wasn’t the last photographer to be clued in!
Here are a couple more berry photos from my still life session with fruit for The Studio.
Another photo for The Studio (for the fruit prompt):
Because I’m enrolled in both BeStill-52 and The Studio (as I think all of the still life students are!), it’s been a challenge to keep up with both. But I’ve spent the last few days working in my garage studio, and have had fun catching up on some of the assignments. Today’s photos are for The Studio- the prompt was textiles. I used the presets darklight and darkmood for these photos- and that was about all I needed to do. Happy Monday!