Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Photo challenge: Day 3 of 7

The photo above is the third of seven daily “nature” photographs. I said of it:
"Under". This is the underside of an agave in our front garden. More diligent gardeners remove the dead stuff, but I'm not diligent, which is fortunate, because it gave me a photo. See? They were wrong: Sometimes laziness pays off!
Agave grows really well in Auckland, and there are several around our house and our neighbours’ houses. This specific variety is Agave attenuata, and it can get pretty big. The photo below is a long shot, showing the site of the photo in its context.

For this photo, I needed to increase the lighting a bit, but I didn’t want to use the flash because of its harsh and unnatural light. So, I rolled out some scrap flooring underlay I had, which is white on one side and silvery on the other. The silvery side is kind of harshly reflective, but the white side gives a softer reflected light, and that that’s the side I used.

I positioned it so the sun would shine on it to maximise the reflected light, and then I took the photo with no additional lighting. In the photo below, taken at roughly the same time of day as the photo up top, it’s possible to see how dark the underside of the agave would have been otherwise.

I’ve often used white paper to reflect light for close-ups of things I was photographing for this blog, of when I’ve been copying photographs (which is literally taking a photo of a photo). However, reflected light like this is usually quite soft, and it doesn’t work for everything. For example, some close-ups and even portraits may require a stronger light (there are plenty of ways to do that, but they’re not relevant to these photos, though this may come up again another time).

The larger point here is there are ways to improve photos that don’t require using Photoshop or other image manipulation software (though sometimes that’s needed, too). As always, it’s a bit of trial and error, and, as usual, I took several different photos and used the one I liked best.

I guess you could say agave this photo a little more effort. You’re welcome.

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