Saturday, 18 October 2014

Still Life with Red Leaves

I wish I could easily find out the names of all the lovely plants I come across. I came across this one on my way home from work one evening. There was a lot of long stems with beautiful red leaves hanging down over someone's fence. I guess it is some type of vine. I thought I'd cut a few stems for some autumn still life work. An idea came quickly to me to use an old earthenware beer bottle to prop up a stem and form an arch. Then I thought of "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" I have had for a while. It is in the form of printed manuscript and is full of beautiful drawings from nature. For my still life with the red leaves I chose a page with just handwriting on it and the one with the "October" heading seemed particular suitable as it underlines the autumn theme and suggests the time of year the image was made.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Otely I

I first visited Otley, a little old and picturesque market town in Mid-Wharfedale years ago. I was very impressed straight away but it is only recently that I actually fell in love with it. I realized Otley has everything I love in one place - unusual and quaint shops, antiques and vintage shops, charity shops, a great florist's, cosy traditional tea rooms, charming streets and passages as well as beautiful countryside on its doorstep. And all that with just half an hour pleasant drive from my home! I go to Otley every other week now and always come back very happy with a few good shots and a goodie or two in the shopping bag. Photographing Otley is going to be an ongoing little project for me and I will be posting five images at a time as I finish processing them. Here is the first lot.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Still Life with Asters

September brings asters which I like very much. They are so colourful and pretty with their numerous tiny petals and different colour centres. They are also inexpensive and last long. This year for a first time I came across phlox - the little pink flowers that smell gorgeous. I paired them with red asters and used my old milk churn for some vintage looking still life images. I thought I'd use a different approach for each shot so the first one is a set up still life, the second one "found" still life (my kitchen window as it was at the time of shooting) and then I went for a very simple, minimalist look using a single flower and a small milk bottle.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

September Beauties

Just a couple of pretty sights you can see in nature in September. Wish I had some scissors with me to cut and take a few thistle stems home. They would look lovely in an autumn theme still life. And I love sedum. It starts changing its green colour about this time of year and ends up being any of the most gorgeous deep pink and red colours later on in autumn. The first image I processed with a couple of textures and actions and the second one is more or less straight out of camera apart from one or two basic tweaks.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Still Life Background

I finally have solved the issue of backgrounds for my still life work. I could not find anything small enough that would be suitable for my tabletop work to buy. All photographic backdrops seem to be designed for portraiture work and are much too big for still life. It took me years to come up with a solution. I bought a cheap curtain pole at work, removed the rings and ask G to fit it above the chest of drawers I use as my tabletop. I also bought a white and a grey bed sheet that I can easily and quickly throw over the pole to create a backdrop. They are long enough to cover the top of the chest of drawers too if I want the background and tabletop to merge into one in the image. And when the pole is not in use I simply wrap a silky scarf around it to make a feature of it. Quite pleased about it all. Just need to buy a black sheet too and my makeshift bakcground collection will be complete.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Apricots and Snapdragon

I like to regularly create still life images but I must admit I have really struggled recently. I would prepare and set up a combination of elements, shoot a few frames, look at the result and then discarded it all as I just would not like it. And time after time I would dejectedly put everything away and tidy up without having a decent image in hand. I looked on internet for inspiration. I sort of lean towards classic still lifes consisting of more than two elements and that is the main reason why often it is not easy. It can be difficult to achieve a happy set up where the elements work well together. Then it occurred to me I can also get that vintage and rustic look by shooting just one or two objects at most. I started looking at simple, even minimalist still life images, primarily those by Jill Ferry whom I always admired very much, and slowly I could feel my mojo coming back to me. All of a sudden ideas started filling my head and I felt a rush of excitement as I usually do when I have a picture in my mind that I want to realize.

For the image below I simply took my small vintage bowl and put in it some supermarket bought seasonal fruit and flowers. I used my new laminate floor remnant as the tabletop which I blurred in post processing. I also used a stepladder to get an elevated view point, something I have never done before but like it so much I will use it freely from now on.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Time for a Rest

I had this image in mind for quite some time and finally got to create it. I love antique chairs in photographs so I decided to use my bedroom chair. I took it to the small  bedroom because  the light there was better with the window facing the spot I could place the chair in. I thought my military boots and grey hat would make a good composition placed under the chair and hung off the chair back respectively. The boots look old but they are not really - they were made to look like that. I was not sure about the light to start with, I was hoping for some soft sunlight maybe, but when I took a first couple of shots I quite liked the lighting with the shadow on the wall framing the chair. I processed the image with two of the new Flypaper Pastel Painterly Textures I bought the other day. They are beautiful, subtle textures and I am very excited at the prospect of using them on my images.