How I got the shot. Christmas Cactus
November 10, 2012 • 1 Comment
The Christmas Cactus I bought at Safeway as a little pot plant three years ago is now and adult. It decided to bloom this week without notice. Since it is my only indoor plant, I thought I should capture its beauty while it lasts.
Since flowers are so beautiful in nature, photographing flowers needs special attention. Shooting from a standing position results in uninteresting shots, since we always see flowers from that aspect. The photographer needs to get at an interesting angle that is unnatural from the norm.
To get this shot, I positioned the plant on a ladder above the camera by a window and used a reflector to highlight the flower. I shot it when the sun was just at the crest of setting below the hills and hit the reflector just right.
I shot three or four shots adjusting the focus to different parts of the flowers. Later, in Adobe Photoshop CS6, I stacked the photos into one image and painted in the focus from the different shots using layer masks.
Next, I went into NIK ColorEfex 4.0 and used Detail Enhancer, Tonal Contrast, and Glamor Glow along with a little Brilliance and Warmth.
Returning to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.3rc I applied sharpen, clarity, and vignette to finish off the photo.
If you are still awake after that, here is the set up shot. Notice that the bar is close by, if things went wrong.
It kind of ruins the "buzz", so to speak. But hey! That's how it's done!
Camera - Nikon D800
Lens - AF Nikkor 105 Macro f2.8
ISO - 100
ƒ2.8 @ 1/200/sec
Tripod - Gitzo Mountaineer
Ball Head - Gitzo
Reflector - Westcott
Subject - Safeway 2010
Ladder - The Home Depot
It's nice to know that you have to do all that work to get these beautiful shots. I was thinking I really need to improve my picture taking skills....but I really need better equipment and some great software. Whew....I feel so much better now. LOL
Thanks for all the info too. Maybe someday I'll have what it takes to make the great shots too.
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