Last week when I was coming home from a run I noticed that my beloved peonies had all but wilted and the petals been discarded. At the time, there were only a few remaining flowers. Spring has been so rushed and harried with work and activities for the kids that I had almost missed the joy of photographing the peonies. That afternoon, instead of ironing and doing the banking, I cut the last of the living peonies and did some still life work. This was a time to be inspired, to create, take a deep breath and recharge my soul.
I didn’t have time to go to the studio, which means I didn’t have any back drops to use. I knew that for some of the shots I wanted a white back drop. I could have used a white table-cloth, or a sheet and hung them from a door, but, I didn’t feel like going to the trouble and I knew I could create the white back drop myself using light.
Using my Nikon D800 and my Nikkor 105mm 2.8 lens I set out to create. I grabbed some props, antique prescription bottles, an antique miniature milk bottle, a white cheese cloth, a black stool, some ribbon, and some sheets of music. I don’t know how long I moved around in front of my front door playing and creating. I lost all sense of time and felt so relaxed.
To create the white back drop effect I used only natural light. I metered my exposure on the flower so that it would be properly exposed and the backlight would be blown out. To avoid flare, I angled my lens down just enough to allow some haze, but to eliminate flare. I wanted this shot to be flawless and dreamy therefore colorful flare spots were not welcome. My settings are below for your reference:
ss 1/100 f 5.0 ISO 400
I could have worked with the above scenario for hours. But, alas, the kids needed to be picked up from school and driven to activities, and, honestly, my equipment is so heavy that after a considerable amount of time, my neck and arms begin to tire. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my equipment and the Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses that I have give me great flexibility when working in the various areas of photography that I focus on. I do love them, but I have recently been evaluating mirrorless cameras, especially for travel and street work. Lighter weight cameras and lenses would be fabulous when having to hold or carry them for any length of time. In addition, I just recently came across a new camera that I found interesting. Light, is a compact camera that appears to have many features. I don’t know that it has the flexibility I need, but I think it is worth checking into for travel and street work. I thought I would share the link with you in the event you might have interest in a compact camera that appears to have a lot of great features.
To compare this photograph in black and white, please visit my Thursday post on Monochromia.
To view more of the photographs from this still life session, check back on the blog soon or follow me on Instagram. I post to Instagram much more frequently there.
Lovely image, Robyn. And as for cameras, I am a mirrorless convert because of their lighter weight….the best camera you have is the one that’s with you!
I am a lover of photography in black and white, but in this case the color version seems superb, unbeatable.
Great photography !!!
The composition and white background coupled with the simplicity of the single peony is stunning. Sometimes simple is best.
Robyn, I’m just now catching up on my WP friends, and I’m so glad that I didn’t miss this image.
I appreciate that you walked us through your process of photography. You captured the peony beautifully!
This is beautiful – glad you made some “me” time. That camera looks intriguing. Like you – I may have to lighten my load in the future.
Oh, Robyn, this picture could have been taken of my one remaining peony.
Except I would title mine “Littlest Survivor”–I had six huge blooms and one tiny little one–and then our area was hit with a bout of hail. The big blooms were all knocked out, but the little one survived, so this post is precious to me! ❤
Beautiful image, Robyn, and thanks for the technical details too, always interesting to read. I’m still enjoying using my D700 and D800, wouldn’t be without them. But I’ve also bought a Fujifilm X-T1 which I’m very impressed with, and which I’ve put out two posts about on my blog. I don’t think it will supersede the Nikons just yet, but the X-T1 us a superb creative tool – and the even better X-T2 can’t be too far away. Adrian 🙂
I love the image, very ethereal. ❤
Dreamy, beautiful. Thanks for the ‘how to’ tips.