Moving on from our first tasks we were encouraged to look at the work of Karl Blossfeldt. A german photographer who was renowned for his typology of plants, taken against predominantly white backgrounds resulting in beautiful, dynamic studies of their different textures and shapes. I personally love how tactile these images feel, they almost seem unnatural as if they have been sculpted. It’s obvious that he purposely used the direction of the light falling on the plants to create volume (evident in top left photograph.) The plain backgrounds meant nothing was detracting from the subjects and the resulting images are very sharp.
Responding to Karl Blossfeldt
My most successful images against a white(ish) background. I am pleased with the results of my shots but I know they could be improved. My background was more grey than white but in the top left photo, it could have definitely been more exposed as the background looks too grey, too dull. Knowing the plant was dark I overcompensated for the exposure, thinking the camera would bleach out the background, apart from this I am still pleased with the results.
I chose to shoot at this aperture because I wanted to create a sense of height with a shallow depth of field, an F stop higher would have the image look flatter.
I increased the aperture by 2 f-stops as I wanted to shoot this plant in a deep depth of field to emphasise the unusual profile of the plant, almost lettuce like. To remain my exposure I moved my shutter speed 2 stops lower, however when I shot it the first time the picture was far to underexposed so I decreased the shutter speed a further 2 stops. I’m happiest with the exposure in this photo in comparison to the other two. My only criticism is that I probably should have been shooting with a tripod as the shutter speed was slow and risked blurring.
With my third image I tried to use the directional light to help create the impression of volume and texture and believe I was successful, the light highlights some of the leaves as it falls on the plant from the right side and casts a shadow on the opposing side. I used a low aperture and retained a close distance to the plant to create a shallow depth of field and emphasise that feeling of texture. I’m really happy with the outcome though I would have made gone 2/3 – with the shutter speed to get a better exposure.
Aesthetically I prefer the look of this plant against the black background, in my opinion the plant looks richer and brings out the colours in the plant (deep purples in the leaves), details lost slightly against the white background. Immediately from looking at the differences between these two images the backgrounds look a slightly different shade of black. I think two things may have caused this 1) the aperture or 2) changing light conditions. I was located next to a window on a cloudy/sunny day and the changing light conditions may have effected the temperature of the black background. I had my camera set to AWB which most likely resulted in the differences between the two images even though they would not have been taken that long of a time apart.
I’m pleased with the outcome of this image, the shallow depth of field and the way the light is falling on the plant is very pleasing to look at, and reminds me of Karl Blossfeldts work. I believe I have captured the character and texture of the plant.
For this image I increased the aperture to create a deeper depth of field and composed the image so it reflected Blossfeldt’s style more, depicting the profile of the plant in a more upright position. Although I am pleased with the image I do believe it could be around 1/3 of a stop slower with the shutter speed or I could have gone a 1/3 of a stop higher with the aperture to make it sharper and let more light in.
Personally I think this a successful response to Blossfeldt, but I would decrease the shutter speed but at least 2/3s as the image has clipping with the black tones being too dark. I also could have made the aperture higher as the depth of field is deeper because of the composition therefore the aperture probably did not need to be so low.
I believe the exposure is better here, you can see some light bouncing back off the background rather than being absorbed into a black abyss. As there is a very shallow depth of field only some parts of the plant are in focus, but I don’t believe it looks as good as if could. If I could reshoot I would experiment with different light direction and might have increased the aperture by a stop to create a slightly deeper depth of field for this composition as it doesn’t look as successful as it did in against the white background.