Flypaper Textures

Artichokes

I dont think I ate an artichoke until I was a student? After finishing a water-colour still-life of them, as it would have been a crime to throw them out.
I’m not saying we lived on just potatoes and boiled cabbage, but up in Yorkshire such things were frowned upon and were seen as being somehow pretentious at best, and eating the very devils food at worst!

For this shoot I’d already tried them in a retro tin enamel jug, the look was totally different, and it just used window light, but it was lacking something, it was basically too much of a dead life!
The next day I took this all too modern looking colander back to my little house studio with another idea, I would try a kind of rich Dutch still life,
But today having learned from my previous days dud shoot, I brought in the big guns, my very under used pro-lighting Cactus soft box, I have three but only used one here, small steps Grasshopper!
I placed it very low it at the side, about a foot to the left, and peeled back the corner of the outer transparent gauze around 6 inches to let a bit more direct light onto the front of the subject, creating a kind-of double wrap-around light effect that worked a treat.
Shooting with my Lensbaby with the new Optic 80 on a tripod, with the window also from the left, but behind the camera.
The black background was a simple children’s blackboard, i’d found at the communal bins.

To get the painterly effect I first ran it through the colour noise filter in CS5, and used the Paint daubs and water colour filters, the base image shown has had the de-noise process already.
Processing, took a long time, as i’ve never shot a black background before, I tried many combos, and where-as they added a richness,
I still wasn’t happy, so finally, going against the grain, I pulled out the antique edges and bingo, the first choice texture added grunge interest to the black, and a lovely iridescent purple edge, used with the Pin Light filter.

Further cleaning up was done, I removed the bigger scratches and back ‘holes’ in the edge grunge, but here I’m showing the pre- finished version.

Im now looking forward to boiling these beauties, and dancing with the devil, with a little lemon and lashings of hot garlic butter!

Rose Blush – Soft Light @ 100% Colour desaturated
Europium – Saturation @ 39%
Oxford Parchment – Soft Light @ 100% Brushed away from everything but the still life
Purple Haze – Overlay @ 73 %
Fly Edge number 10 – Pin Light @ 24% Brushed away from still life
Fly Edge number 10 – Pin Light @ 24%
Finally, a base image copy – Normal @ 16% Brushed away from base and still life

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4 Responses to “Artichokes”

  1. This is beautiful! I love your detailed description of how you achieved this look. I really need to learn more about lighting – something other then natural light. For some reason it seems difficult to me. I’ll look up Cactus soft box. Maybe that’s what I need to get started. As always, thanks for another inspiring photo.

  2. PaulGrand says:

    Hi Doris, thanks!
    They are normally just called a Soft Box, I have the 60cm size, they fold up to almost nothing, but you’ll need to buy a cheap arm bracket and tripod and of course some kind of light to put inside the box.
    See it here on this video!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMQeBVCJzoE&feature=fvst
    I also have the white umbrellas, but those tend to be much brighter, btw, a softbox needs a very bright white photo lamp inside or remote flash or you’ll find them a tad dark.:-)

  3. Marie says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipes and also your steps to photographing your subject. I love all your textures but work mostly for the web. I’m really thinking hard about purchasing the Taster Pack. Thanks again.

  4. JillFerry says:

    Inspiring work Paul, thanks for sharing your lighting tips too, something I need to learn also 🙂

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