Now that the spring bird migration has winded down and the days are getting hotter and buggier, it’s time to find a photography project that will keep me entertained.
Recently I’ve come across some beautiful floral art books. The first one is Seeing Flowers by Robert Llewellyn, and the second is Flower by Andrew Zuckerman. Andrew Zuckerman is an extremely talented photography and cinematographer with stunning work that goes beyond an image.
When watching this youtube video which is amazing in itself with the life of a flower synchronized with music, after being astounded the questions begin. However did he create this?
So of course, the challenge was set and I know I’ll never achieve the level of these two master floral photographers but I know I’ll have a great time learning how to create something similar.
Beginning with purchasing their two books, I am slowly beginning to study them and to observe details that lend me clues as to how to accomplish this type of floral image. Bright white backgrounds, soft box lighting, the use of light pads are just the beginning. There are technical choices to make such as which camera to use, and with which lens. Will extension tubes be needed? Yes, lots of gear is needed.
But the ideas are limitless, as these photographers go beyond flowers which makes this even more exciting. Watching the video from “Seeing Trees” I’m able to get a glimpse of Robert Llewellyn’s art studio and it seems much simpler than one would think.
The technical requirements then become more apparent. Focus Stacking is an essential element in strong macro compositions and my Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II offers a Focus Stacking bracketing in-camera feature which is like exposure bracketing. Taking a set number of images designated, it takes varying focus points based on the distance you set and combines them into one JPEG image in camera. The original images with the different focus points are still available if you would like to merge them in Photoshop instead.
I haven’t yet taken the plunge in trying out Focus Bracketing on the Olympus as there are other things I needed to first figure out. Here are the items I’m beginning with:
- Tripod with articulating arm such as the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 055 Aluminium 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column
- Artograph Lightpad
- Shop light with daylight lightbulb (Totally need to upgrade here)
- Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II
- Olympus 12-100mm f/4 Pro IS lens
Quickly discovering I need extension tubes and/or a macro lens got me shopping and the first order was for some extension tubes. The image above is full-frame with no crop and this “Love in a Mist” is a small flower so that may be all I’ll need. Next to investigate is a soft-box with steady light but for now, my cheap Home Depot shop light with a daylight light bulb will have to suffice.
After capturing this image, I brought it into Lightroom and made my adjustments before transferring it to Topaz Studio to add a softer and more painterly look.
As I’ve heard before “There is no such thing as an original thought.” I think that could be true, but you can certainly add your own interpretation to the thought. Find a master of something that you really like and give them the best compliment by copying them. Good luck!