Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A Flash Photo Session

Decided to have some practice using flash lighting to take some close shots of a few flowers. Also decided to shoot in RAW, something I haven't bothered with much in the past. Partly when I was running Windozy XP they wouldn't show as thumbnails so I had no idea what each one was until it was loaded into one of the few image viewers capable of recognising a RAW file. The MacBook doesn't have those problems.

These have all been enhanced a little in the free beta version of Serif's Affinity Photo which is still being developed and continuously updated. What a difference when a RAW file is loaded. It loads into a different section of the program (they call the different sections personas). Here there are many tweaks for clarity, tonal values, etc.. I am still more than a little impressed at the speed of the program. All tweaks are seen instantly.

They were all saved as jpg with just a small 5% compression as RAW isn't recognised by Flickr and large PNG or TIF files take for ever with my slow upload speed. None of the files have been cropped. All are solo shots, no stacking this time.

 The set up:

The first subject looked good initially until it was loaded in the laptop. The flower of the Globular Buddleia was a devil to get anything like in focus. It has few sharp edges to focus on:
Globular Buddleia IMG_8354

Next came a Chives flower head which produced an additional surprise:
Chives IMG_8360

A small ant continuously crawling round the flower:
Ant on Chives IMG_8357

Ant on Chives IMG_8356

The head of a dwarf Bulrush which also had a small spider or mite which I only noticed when the photo was enlarged.
 Bullrush IMG_8371

A small cactus. For this one I had to point the flash guns at the ceiling as the plant was so shiny. The yellow background was a marigold glove held behind the plant:
Cactus IMG_8381

Cactus IMG_8389

Lithops (Living Stone):
Lithops IMG_8373

Finally - Bryophyllum - has many common names including Devil's Backbone:
Bryophillum IMG_8399

Bryophillum IMG_8396

It is unusual in that new plants grow round the edge of every leaf complete with tiny roots. A mature plant can have a dozen or more leaves each with over a dozen plantlets which drop off when ready and start new plants:
Bryophillum DSCN4644

That's the lot. You can let out that sigh of relief now.


  1. Impressive set up John, with great results.

    I used to have one of those Bryophyllum, many years ago. I always knew it as Mother of Thousands.
    And your secrets out ......... Marigolds! ;-)

    1. Keith. Thank you. Mother of Thousands is another popular name.
      Marigolds - can't beat them with messy jobs like cleaning out the gunge in the pond pump. ;)

  2. Excellent John. I always shoot RAW. I use Bridge which gives thumbnails and quickly.

    1. Adrian: Than you. Fortunately nearly everything on Apple can work with RAW files.

  3. I think you've got it, John! Some great shots there. I love the ant on the chive flower and the super macro of the cactus spines.

    1. Thank you Wilma. I was a bit disappointed that the ant wouldn't stay still long enough to get it fully in focus otherwise I was quite pleased with the results.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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