Dianne and I sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast this morning. We had read the paper and had a leisurely cup of coffee. Mellow might be a good adjective to describe how we felt as we talked and ate. I started looking at the orchid… again. It sits proudly in the center of the table and was looking particularly pretty in the overcast, soft morning light. The level of detail in the petals and the colors were both very evident and rich. Good grief. I asked Dianne why, when my naked eye can see such detail and color, I have such a difficult time capturing it in the camera. I mean I have great gear, time and a bit of experience but the richness of the blooms still largely evaded my attempts to create a picture worthy of the plant.
You probably know where this is going. I showed Dianne a selection of images that used different colors for backgrounds and asked for her opinion about which did the best job of showing the blooms and the leaves. She picked a deep blue. We’re both a bit weary of black at this point. So… I grabbed the camera, tripod, 50mm lens and set up the shot without moving the orchid too much. I tinkered around trying to keep the color of the background uniform and the light on the blossoms as diffuse and even as possible. I set up a custom white balance on the camera and started shooting. After reviewing the images on the computer we both agreed that the background looked almost black… not exactly what we wanted. I didn’t want to set up a reflector or light to put some more light on the background to strengthen the blue so I cheated. I grabbed the background in Photoshop and played with some gradients. The image below is the result. Now if I can just get it to print properly I’ll be happy and ready to move on to other flowers and subjects… possibly. As long as the orchid blossoms last I know I’ll be tempted to try again.