So this is the last in the series of induced DOF and “natural” backgrounds. What I’ve found interesting is just how “natural” a silk dress can render and how easy it is to slightly manipulate the colour in Photoshop. If you look at all the images in this series, each and every background differs slightly but most importantly, all of them look as if they were taken outdoors in their native environments. Good result, I’d say!
OK, so what’s the “magic”? Well, I wanted to shoot these little flowers in their natural environment but their situation in our garden and the surrounding area just doesn’t lend itself to get the kind of DOF I was after, nor the colour. I was looking for that rich green you get from surrounding grass and I wanted the flowers to really pop out of the background but it had to look and feel natural and I didn’t want to have to manipulate the DOF in PS as it can often look a tad unreal or overcooked.
I mused a while and then went on the hunt. In my wife’s wardrobe I found a light green silk dress that she sometimes wears to balls and charity events. Whilst she was outside I sneaked it into my light box and set it as a background. I hung it so there were a few creases visible, hoping to create a some subtle changes in the background so it didn’t look contrived. I then clamped the flowers about 2 1/2 feet in front of the dress and used the Vivitar Komine f/2.8 55mm macro lens to focus in fairly close. When I opened them up in PS I was surprised as how nicely the “trick” had worked. The dress had created exactly the effect I was looking for and my work in PS was minimal with zero work required on the background at all.
I’m going to use this more now I know it works and experiment with other “natural” colour backgrounds when capturing the image outside is simply not impossible.
I’m always fascinated by light and reflections, especially bright, multi-coloured lights. I think it stems from being brought up by a single Mum who wouldn’t let me plaster the outside of our house with Christmas lights. Now, during the festive season, our house does indeed look, well, a tad American.. My son loves it, the wife not so much. This evening I was watching the said 7 y/o drink some water from a plastic glass that has little flashing lights in the bottom. Hmm.. I thought.. So whilst he was at Beaver Scouts I had a little play with it..
Ribena Bubbles – 2:1 – Laowa 60mm f/2.8 Ultra Macro. ISO = 200, f/22, 1 sec. These bubbles were constantly moving so I’m very impressed at just how sharp the image is. I was worried that at 1 second exposure and f/22 things would be a tad soft but it’s sharp enough for me.
A cloudy day and a final “blossom” test shot of the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar Electric 135mm f/3.5. I have to say, this lens will be a permanent resident in my camera bag and I’m very grateful for the advice I was given to buy this one!
I’m finally getting round to doing some “normal” shots using this lens after a few people asked me how it performed outside of serving as a tube lens for ultra macro. I have to say, I’m impressed with it, so far. For a lens that cost just £85 posted the colours, rendition and sharpness and spot on. OK, on the Fuji X-T1 it’s manual everything so you need to be comfortable with that but if you are this is a very nice lens and well worth the meagre price it tends to command. Search for the 4 digit serial number, 5th generation lenses, which are apparently the cream of the crop. As always, click on the image above for the larger version. This shot is barely cropped and just a little sharpening in PP. Taken @ f/3.5, handheld @ 1/250, ISO 320, Fuji X-T1.
I have to say, this lens appears as sharp as most I’ve used, including the Macro-Nikkors in both 60 and 105mm format. For the price these can be picked up for it’s a real gem, I’d say. Here’s a test shot of a flower that was about 12mm dia.
If you’re EU based and have ever collected watches, you’ll probably already heard of the LIDL Tea Bag Caddies. They’re very well made, good quality, wooden boxes with glass tops and wooden internal dividers. They’re so good that many watch collectors use them to store their entire collections, preferring them over much dearer bespoke solutions. They’re periodically available in the economy supermarket, LIDL but you need to keep checking the site of your local store to see when they arrive. Seeing my now rather large collection of adapters, step-up/step-down/reversing rings and microscope lenses spiralling ever out of control and occasionally noting my whispered profanities at not being able to locate a given item that I knew I had, my lovely wife thoughtfully chose to give me such a box for my birthday today. She’d heard me mention them before and knew I liked them, though I’d never before bought one myself.
I had some A4 sheets of black hobby rubber/foam in the cupboard so I cut four pieces to fit into the compartments to avoid scratching and to keep things from sliding around and then in went all my adapters etc.. Absolutely brilliant! All are now safe and sound and easy to locate when I need them. Measuring 310 x 210 x 90mm these are ideal for all kinds of things and a veritable bargain at £7.99 a piece!