The Floral Dance

Firstly, apologies if you are of an age where the heading means something to you as you will now have that wretched tune stuck in your head all day.

© Dave Whenham
In the Pink (March 2018)
© Dave Whenham
Daisy Bellis – April 22nd 2008

I looked back through my files earlier today and found that the last time I seriously played with floral photography was in 2008/9! Thats pretty much right at the beginning of my digital photography journey. Back then my floral  images were very clean and literal (see example here from almost ten years ago.

My objective back then was a crisp, clean image. Good depth of field and bright vibrant colours were the order of the day and clean, neutral backdrops. I also shot a lot with off-camera flash.

The one constant is my use of a tripod. When working indoors with cut flowers it makes total sense to me to put the camera on a tripod and to move the subject to explore different compositions and possibilities. I am using natural light and reflectors more these days and, as with the Pink above, am also using a simple torch to “paint” light on to the subject.

© Dave Whenham
Same flower, but moving it around a little

As you can see my current approach is a world away from where I started. Nothing wrong with the literal approach of course but over time my artistic vision, if I can call it that, has evolved and changed.

It was the poor weather that influenced my return to the floral dance (sorry, couldn’t resist) this weekend. There are only so many shots I can take from the bedroom window; although ironically todays 365 image was shot from the bedroom window! I borrowed a single stem from the wife’s floral …..  display and put it in a small milk bottle. An old wooden box acted as backdrop for some images and as the surface for others. I lit each image simply with a handheld torch and played with depth of field often shooting the lens wide open.

© Dave Whenham
Same flower, same basic set up but a different feel

The secret to this weekend’s images though has been the use of textures. Saturdays image (above) was given a very dark treatment and the texture confined basically to the background so the bottle and flower are basically unaffected by the overlay. The first image from Sunday (below) took an image of the same flower and blended it with a shot of some bluebells taken with a Lensbaby Spark a couple of years ago. This background image was given a strong radial blur and a boost in saturation to achieve the effect you see. It’s not subtle, but it works I think.

© Dave Whenham
Give us a twirl!

The image at the top of the page was produced this afternoon and is a product of a short course entitled “Enhancing Your Images With Textures” from Definitely Dreaming (in the interest of transparency, Janet is a friend of mine). Whilst none of the Photoshop skills were new to me what was so useful about the course was the way in which it helped turn on the proverbial light bulb; video 7 is all about a thought process and approach to editing and whilst watching that the penny dropped (how many metaphors can I cram into one paragraph?)  I am now far more confident in the application, choice and use of textures and all for a very modest fee and an afternoon watching, listening and practicing.

© Dave Whenham
Three textures, one flower still.

I am sure I shall return to the floral dance (sorry!!) again in the near future!

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