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Author Topic: crossover post - floral-flowers / lighting gear-n-fear  (Read 1136 times)
orchidblooms
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« on: February 28, 2013, 08:36:20 PM »
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this could also crossover to nature/landscape...

what i am after is lighting help...

i have been trying for years off n on, to get nice floral 'portraits'...  lighting seems always harsh

tried natural light - taking itmes into our greenhouses - where light is filtered

tried photo reflectors with 5500 kelvin bulbs with parachute fabric taped over fronts as diffusers...

so far nothing seems to work as i wish...

now i am shooting with d800e / zeiss and lighting is more critical than ever...

surely would appreciate any suggestions - even if you think they are wakky!

huge thanks

P.
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leuallen
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 10:45:09 PM »
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I always use natural light with diffusers, reflectors, and gobos. This requires lightstands, clamps, etc to hold the gear. Articulated arms clamped to a lightstand are very handy.Thus it is not suited for field work. But I work in mine and my neighbors yards so the gear is always handy. It takes time to set up so is a deliberate process. You mentioned that you tried your greenhouse, so this might work for you.

The tulips had two or three large cardboard sheets blocking out the direct sun on the background (gobos). There were a couple of hot spots I could not eliminate and they were fixed in post. The sun was bright and overhead. I used 12-18 inch embroidery hoop with a frosted translucent plastic material (probably shower curtain) held by hand over the flowers. Of course the camera is on a tripod. By moving the diffuser in and out, closer to the flowers, I could judge the light. It was best when the hoop was just above the flowers.

The jonquil is of course back lit. It is very early in the morning so the sun is very low directly behind the flower. I placed a large translucent diffuser, probably a collapsible disk, on a light stand so that the sun was shinning through it for the white background. By carefully adjusting the diffuser up and down I found the position where the diffuser was lit but the sun peaked over the top and back lit the jonquil. It took some juggling to avoid lens flair and line things up.

Both situations were harsh sun and at first glance would not look promising. But with a little effort you can mold the light into something beautiful.

In the field I just look for good light and use small reflectors, mirrors, etc. hand held. Always tripod.

Larry
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 10:46:48 PM by leuallen » Logged
Ed B
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 08:03:23 AM »
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A general rule of thumb when it comes to lighting is the larger the light source and the closer it is to your subject the softer the light will be. If the light is too harsh move it closer to the subject or make it bigger. Or both.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 08:12:32 AM »
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It would help to see some examples and explanations of your problems.
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Ellis Vener
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orchidblooms
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 09:14:39 AM »
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sure - photos...


1) the orchid is actually pale lavender - with striations of darker lavender in the blooms...
2) the jade plant - often blown out... and blooms are delicate soft pink...
3) wreath - whites are blown out (reflections)....

Phil
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 09:21:12 AM »
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What are you doing regarding color management of your camera and of the scene?
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Ellis Vener
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orchidblooms
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 10:31:07 AM »
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i use all 5500 kelvin bulbs inside - or the filtered light in greenhouse...

our overhead flourescent are ge chroma 50 ho and the screw ins are in the reflectors are 'daylight cfl's'...  we have diffusers on our overhead tubes...

use passport or qpcard book...

using captureone pro7 i first adjust the color (wb) on qpcard/passport - then copy to images...  no further color work generally speaking

most of my problems are hot spots... reflections - i have tried to use my singray 100mm cpl - and seems to make no difference...
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 10:37:44 AM »
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try putting polarizers over your lights.

Also try electronic flash instead of fluorescents. It's not just color temperature you have to worry about it is also the UV and IR wavelengths. Are there any fluorescents that emit a truly full and not a discontinuous spectrum?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 10:39:15 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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orchidblooms
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 06:05:34 PM »
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try putting polarizers over your lights.

Also try electronic flash instead of fluorescents. It's not just color temperature you have to worry about it is also the UV and IR wavelengths. Are there any fluorescents that emit a truly full and not a discontinuous spectrum?

2 0r 3 nikon flash units - sb-900's?  $$$

thinking this is the way to go... bigger light - http://fjwestcott.com/product/light-modifiers/spiderlite-td6-parabolic-umbrella-kit-with-bonus-diffusion-panel

that i can control with their diffuser... and if i ever find a winning powerball... lottery number...Huh

this would get me well on my way.... http://www.bron.ch/broncolor/products/power-packs/showproduct/senso-kit-22/#.UTFB_x1azh4

i think the wescott 6 bulb / with giant umbrella and then a huge reflector on side stand - will perhaps work....

anyone have experience with this sort of setup?

p.
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NancyP
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 07:43:11 PM »
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All types of fluorescent illumination have considerably higher intensity in some wavelengths than in other wavelengths, specific wavelength distribution depends on the fluorescence type.  Tongue
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orchidblooms
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 07:50:30 PM »
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All types of fluorescent illumination have considerably higher intensity in some wavelengths than in other wavelengths, specific wavelength distribution depends on the fluorescence type.  Tongue

hi nancyP  - confused a bit...

what are you saying?

we know bulbs have different ratings and different kelvin output....

what is it you are suggesting that may solve/ help in floral portraiture?

many thanks

phil
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K.C.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 09:59:56 PM »
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Are there any fluorescents that emit a truly full and not a discontinuous spectrum?

No. That's the point Nancy is making.

All types of fluorescent illumination have considerably higher intensity in some wavelengths than in other wavelengths, specific wavelength distribution depends on the fluorescence type.  Tongue

Using fluorescents of any type can be problematic for color accuracy in photography and for flowers in particular because of their unique responses to light. And I do mean responses, plural. Flowers vary widely in their response to light. For example some flowers need to stand out from like colored elements in their native environment in order to attract bees or birds that will pollinate them and so have increased UV response.

However your issue of blown out highlights could be a result of the light source or simply be that the dynamic range is beyond that of even a D800E.

Diffusing the light will lower contrast. Polarizing the light may help with color saturation. But neither will bring the dynamic range within capture range if it's too high. If that's the issue.

That Spider light / umbrella combo is probably the last light source I'd suggest. Mother nature's very own coming through the greenhouse glass is free. I'd diffuse it with some rip stop nylon and profile your camera with each setup using the Passport. Turn off any FLs that are contributing to the light on your flowers and hope you can get a high enough shutter speed to achieve a sharp image. The high ISO capabilities of the D800E should allow that.

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orchidblooms
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 08:34:01 AM »
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However your issue of blown out highlights could be a result of the light source or simply be that the dynamic range is beyond that of even a D800E.

Diffusing the light will lower contrast. Polarizing the light may help with color saturation. But neither will bring the dynamic range within capture range if it's too high. If that's the issue.

That Spider light / umbrella combo is probably the last light source I'd suggest. Mother nature's very own coming through the greenhouse glass is free. I'd diffuse it with some rip stop nylon and profile your camera with each setup using the Passport. Turn off any FLs that are contributing to the light on your flowers and hope you can get a high enough shutter speed to achieve a sharp image. The high ISO capabilities of the D800E should allow that.



i was working out in the greehouse yesterday - a sunny day and was thinking the same thing - we have over 5000 sqft... and i think i may remove a section of run of benches,  to create a staging area....

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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 10:17:27 AM »
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What Nancy P means is illustrated here: http://ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/displayimage-lastup--92-5490.html

As you can see in that graph the spectrum for most fluorescent lights is "spiky":  there's a lot more "green" and "yellow" light than there is "blue" or "red" . Our brain's are very flexible when it comes to what is effectively "auto white balancing" - translating what the eye  sees into something that we will accept as neutral but camera sensors  and film are not. And to this th way different materials reflect and absorb  different frequencies of  both visible and non-visible light and even sometimes and sometime fluoresce and you get some of the problems you are seeing.

Very expensive high end cinema grade fluorescent lights and ballasts ( Kino Flo  primarily these days http://www.kinoflo.com/) are fuller spectrum lights so they don't have these problems, neither does electronic flash or HMI lighting which both do an excellent job of mimicking the spectrum of daylight.

Diffusing your daylight, electronic flash , etc. is strongly advised to lower contrast. The diffusion material can be as simple as a frosted plastic shower curtain. Light placement, reflective panels, and light blockers (AKA flagging) are used to shape the light.


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Ellis Vener
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7h3C47
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 12:01:31 PM »
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In my experience, many types of flower pedals reflect light in a way that is often difficult to control if you are trying to preserve the actual color of the flower.  It usually depends upon the color and type of the flower.  What has worked best for me is:

-natural light (whether direct sun or ambient)
-f5.6-11
-a tripod so that you can select a shutter speed appropriate to capture the right amount of light you're looking for

For me, the last part has usually meant underexposing the subject so as not to blow out the hilights and compromise the color as in the pictures you posted.  I personally don't use flashes, reflectors, diffusers--nothing.  Just plain jane.  Refer to my introduction post for examples Smiley

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=75919.0

Best of luck!
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orchidblooms
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2013, 04:36:37 PM »
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i went to local profoto dealer - flowers in hand...

3 second setup d1 air 'kit' using umbrellas

first shot 2/3 crop of frame 2nd image is ff

then3rd...

crop appx 50% of the frame

clearly i am seeing the 'light'... literally

no tripod

time to panhandle - and get some real strobes and figure out how to best use them!

basic 'smooth' sharpening in  cp7 7.1 and srgb export 'classic' clarity set to 38 /12

 
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