Sunday, 9 February 2014

Still Life Photography - a lá Dutch Master Style

f / 3.8  , 1/125´s., ISO 4000  Spot metering
We were to get some inspiration from the Great Dutch Master Painters for the assingsment in the week 4 of Frugal Still Life Photography. I had still some of the gorgeous images on my mind from the Flower and World Views-exhibition in the Danish National Gallery, I visited with my husband last fall. Among the works were some spectacular Still Life paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.
I had no fresh flowers, but I used some other items I spotted, as props for this prompt.
- The fruit vase is from my husbands grandmother. My husbad tells that the vase was always filled with oranges - and when visiting his grandmom, he was allowed to pick an orange and share it with his sister.
- The tin can is from my grandmother and grandfather. Right after my grandfather came home from the Winter War in 1940, he got married with my grandmom - and they received this tin vase as a wedding present. A year after the wedding, my uncle, the big brother to my mom, was born.
- The book is from my grandmother ... It is a Finnish translation of Elizabeth Goudges Green Dolphin Country.
- To create a light spot, I placed 3 candles to a Fair Play-cup, our younger son received two years ago. 
Experimenting with meter modes and adjusting the available light was challenging. To start with, I realized that I had to set 3 layers of sheets in front of the window in order to block the daylight out. I then changed the meter mode from matrix metering to center wieghted metering, and finally to spot metering. Spot metering gave the best results, so I decided to stick with it.
I did adjust the contrast and diminished the exposure of the original image. The light from the window does reflect on the right side of the can, so I removed it by cropping it away. In order to add warmth and to create a painterly-like effect, I added textures Texvol3_01 and Texvol2_03 with the courtesy of Cheryl McCain.
Week 5 
The assignments in week 5 of the Frugal Still Life Photography include using a single light source, and thereby capturing natural shadows. Cheryl McCain encourages us also to use complementary color in orden to bring about balance and to make certain objects pop. This is my first image:
 f / 3.8 , 1/125 s. , ISO 4500 Spot metering
The light from the candles does enlighten the foreground of the image. I like the way the candlelight softens the bowl, and how it creates a shadow to the mandarin.
Complementary color of green would be red, yet I had difficulties in finding something red, so I used orange - the orange mandarin does pop out in a vivid way.
I edited the photo as follows: I dimished the exposure and used the burn-function to fade the prints from the backdrop curtain. I straightened the image and cropped it, and added the satururation of the red color with +6. I added the two, pretty textures from Cheryl, using soft light blending mode, and brushing the texture from the flames. 
f/ 3.8, 1/125 s.  ISO 3600  Spot metering

This is my second image with the orange ... It reminds me of Alice in the Wonderland. Placing the mandarin on the top of the can, changes the balance of the photo, compared to the one before. The mandaring reflects on the bowl - creating a little but delightful twist.
I've enjoyed greatly trying to create Still Life Photography in style with the Great Dutch Masters. Cherishing the frugal principles - using items from your home - has brought me down the memory lane ... Going through the moments with the loved ones, that no longer are among us.
I'm not quite fresh yet after the flu, so photographing inside is just enough activity, in between the daily naps. I might as well grabb the Greeb Dolphin Country and read it anew ... With the next pot of tea.

... Until next time,
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  1. Oh Nina, these are all so lovely! The light from the candles on the vase and pitcher is gorgeous! Although I like them all, the first one really speaks to me.

  2. Hope you are feeling better soon!

  3. Good to see you are getting better, fav is the lower right in your Mosaic...:)JP

  4. Very elegant photography ~ be well ~
    thanks, carol mckenna and artmusedog ^_^

  5. I really like the lighting given from the candles. Very nice (and such history behind the objects).

  6. Love the process and the technique, just wonderful

  7. Hi Nina,
    Your images are beautiful. Hearing the stories behind the props makes them even more special. I really like the image with the orange on the book and love the candles reflection on the bowl.
    Hope you feel better soon.

  8. Hi Nina,
    Sorry I did something wrong and published my comment 4 times? How did I do that? I tried to delete it and it says 'comment deleted by author' and that looked bad too. I hope you can delete them so I don't litter up you post. I will try comment only once next time :)

  9. I do like your still lives! And i enjoy following your work here. - keep it up!

  10. Hi Nina! Your photos are so incredibly beautiful! I love how you captured the flames - lovely! Have a delightful week - hugs!

  11. I enjoyed this post -- you taught me a few things -- that's always good to learn new tips and ideas.
    The candles flames have been so hard for me -- so to me this photo image well done. And I love all the items you used - it gave me some ideas -- great Still Life set today...

  12. Wow, Nina! What amazing images you captured here! I must give this a try - thank you for the tips!

  13. Wonderful photos Nina ! Love the flames and the way you set up your still life :) Thank you for visiting my blog too :)

  14. Amazing shots....I can't wait to try your techniques...

  15. Wow - these are fabulous shots & I love that there's so much history in the pieces you've chosen. I'm a couple of weeks behind in the Frugal Still Life, but hope to catch up in the next day or so.

  16. I've been really, really bad about keeping up with blog surfing the last week - too busy celebrating my birthday :-0 !!

  17. Lovely memories included in your post. I really like that first photo under "Week Five" but enjoyed reading about the whole experience. Very interesting! I hope you enjoyed your tea, and are feeling much better :)

  18. These are elegant. The candlelight does indeed give the photo the look of a Dutch master. And your memories are in the photos, too. Bravo!

  19. Beautiful images, and some great tips about the lighting. You have made an old master style image with the deep rich colors. I love how the orange color was deepened. Beautifully done!

  20. How lovely these are and what an interesting class you are taking. Thank you so much for sharing your learning experiences with us. You have certainly captured the essence of those Dutch Masters.

  21. I can see that you had fun creating the mood of The Dutch Masters -- a style I am much in love with. Great job Nina and Happy Valentine's Day!

  22. Nina - I absolutely love every image you've shared and your explanation behind the pieces is wonderful! I'm so glad this week has taken you down memory lane. That's just an added bonus, huh? Super super images! - visiting from Frugal Still Life -

  23. Love how you've done this with the candles and the reflections on the metal decanter and vases. :)


Thank you so much for taking time to leave a comment! I read and enjoy them all and I'll do my best to to hop on over to your blog for a visit.

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