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umschalten zur deutschen VersionShooting Lilies :: Fernglas als Zoomvorsatz :: Kenko-Converter :: Fototaschen

Shooting Lilies –

a 990, a halogen spot, white foam and a flower

End of April 2002 an user posted two pictures of Lilies he took with his Coolpix 990 on dpreview forums.
The following description is based on that forum article, but has been extended—with support by and permission from the original author.

Here these photos (click to enlarge):
Lily 1 Lily 2

Reading his message and looking at the beautiful pictures, myself and others on the forum asked first ourselves and then him, how and in with studio they where shot.

His following description was quite surprising then. Below you can see a pic of his top notch, hi tech, big dollar setup …
- the white foam is called “styrofoam” — both were less than a dollar
- the spot is a 500 W halogen “construction site” spot found for less than 8 dollars
- the black background was a free find … it comes every night around 8 and leaves in the morning … ;oP
- the garden chairs come handy if you dont have light tripods
- the cats are needed to distract the photographer, to jump on the styrofoam and to move the plants in an 4s exposure … (will consider trading them for a good tripod … ;o) … well … even for a bad tripod …)

the location setup

About my “lighting technique” (damn … what a sophisticated expression for holding a hot halogen spot close to a white surface …) … I used 2 different approaches:
a) Spot introduced between plant and styrofoam ceiling, bounced off of the ceiling, resulting in exposures around 1/15th with medium soft light
b) Spot held over the styrofoam, pointing down THROUGH the styrofoam (1" thick), giving a very soft and even light, with exposures between 4 and 8 secs.


Here is a original picture (click to enlarge – attention, very large file):
Lily 1 original
This is a picture, which was made using the light through technique, exposure time at 3 secs, aperture 6,4.
In the lower and the right area you can see a piece of the grass and a shrubbery which was illuminated.

But if the object will be positioned as shown, it's no problem to unhinge it in Photoshop, since the contrast is high enough.
Furthermore the plant is at about 2-16" from the camera, so the background remains extremely unsharp even at big f/.

In contrast to other night shots, the CCD's noise is no problem here. First the actual object is well-lit and noise will be visible in rather dark areas. Second one can take the camera out a quarter hour before the shooting so it can cool down to minimize the noise.
To envision the temperatures effect on CCD noise, I recommend a visit on Alexander Grüners page “Rauschen bei CCD Chips”. The demo pictures are convincing.

To decrease the exposure times when using the light through technique, the styrofoam can be replaced by “glass with sandwich paper”, which of course is more translucent. By using other materials the lights temperature can be changed at the same time.

posted 2002-11-03, last modified 2009-10-23
© Christian Eyrich
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