Death and Decay.

WIRR 2010 Mar1

Technical Data:  Canon 7D; Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II; f/22 at 0.5”; ISO 100; Silver Efex Pro.

This week I decided to try out the new skills I had learned at last week’s lighting class.  My subject?  A vase of flowers past their prime.  WAY past their prime.

I set to work setting up a studio on the living room table.  I started off mostly shooting with natural light, but as the sun went down, I switched to studio lights.  Or at least, I would have, if I had studio lights.  Instead, I used standard household lamps.  

DecayingFlowers 2

The lights weren’t nearly bright enough, and the results were not that great.  So I switched to using a reflected on-camera flash, set at a very low power.  This was about as good as it got.

DecayingFlowers 1

Too many shadows for the look I was trying to get.  Ah, well.  It was a learning experience.  I shared my story with Joe Coca, my instructor from the lighting class.  He gave me some additional tips to try next time.

But then… I was looking at my 60 or so pictures, and one caught my eye…  The bad one.  The one with the flash set at +3 by mistake.  Blown out and ugly.

DecayingFlowers 3

And that’s when I remembered that I was shooting a vase of dead flowers.  Aren’t they supposed  to be ugly?  So then I set about making the picture look even worse.  I converted it to black and white, added some grain, some vignetting, and a light coffee toning.  And I like it!

My instructor liked it too:

I actually really like this shot. I think the BW treatment is really good for it.

It reminds me of a scene out of a murder mystery.

Very gritty with the hard light and deep shadows. The soft light probably would not have done it. 


It wasn’t the shot I set out to make, but I really like it nonetheless.  Great shot, learning experience, who can ask for more really?

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