Sunflower & Shell Still Life & Pattern Lesson

Sunflower & Shell Still Life

I felt compelled to share one more effort from yesterday’s still life experimentation. While there are many things I like about this, it demonstrates  a big lesson which comes up from time to time for me. And, that is using not a textured background but rather a patterned one. It is always easier to add pattern later than deal with pattern inherent in a shot such as roof shingles for example. While thinking of things to do for a dark or black background for a low key image….which I lean toward low key with most things…instead of the dark room with lighted object in front, I put a window shade fabric on the wall with masking tape thinking I’d have more control. And it is an ok idea and might work well with  a solid matt light absorbing material to mimic shadow. But once you introduce pattern you end up with wavy lines when scaling which I don’t like dealing with. At 100% no problem but it doesn’t look well at other settings. So if, and you will, you see some pattern lines, it is from the vertical pattern of the sunshade material I tried.

So naturally I played with this image anyway…go figure. Since I keep wanting to make things look like a painting, I did use Photoshop Oil filter here but combined it with poster edges and played with the vignette lighting. I also had a problem getting the sunflowers to behave and face the way I wanted.Who says flowers are cooperative. The are a bit like cats, beautiful but with a mind of their own. I should also add that I was putting things away when I placed the flowers and shell elements on the sewing table and just liked it.

Call out to Brian Bixby….see in the right corner…. I have a walking stick….not with a dragon head but a bird….and mine has a sword inside!! I will be a dangerous old lady one day real soon?!! And, since Jacintha has magic…ahh even more so!

Happy Independence Day Everyone!!



~ by Judy on July 4, 2017.

13 Responses to “Sunflower & Shell Still Life & Pattern Lesson”

  1. I was imitating a still life (by taking a nap) when the e-mail notifying me of this post came through. So, my thanks for the shout out. It had been a while since you posted before these most recent ones, and I was getting a bit worried about you.

    • Too funny!! Being still is necessary to one’s harmony. All is ok just a lot of life getting it the way of doing it all as you know as well!! 🙂

  2. Know what you mean of life. Also of flowers. When out in the field I have occasionally resorted to my assistant (daughter) holding a flower stem out of shot (not always possible). BTW I love your still life’s

    • Yeah, nature is messy, not all laid out like a still life. And the wind blows. Thanks on the still life; I will work on doing more too as I rather like them and various oddities for elements. It will be fun!

      • Now you’re giving me ideas. Though while the weather holds I shall still be doing nature in the almost raw. I shall that idea away till biting cold days

  3. Exquisite composition Judy. I especially like the rich color of the sunflowers and the shape of the primary bloom, how it is not flat but still gently curved. Best, Babsje

    • A great comment and especially about the primary bloom. I actually never gave name to the most forward pointing flower but that is actually what it is. Some of the other pictures I took may have two flowers facing the camera, but I liked the colors with this one and I do like profiles of flowers and the back as well as the fronts. I know what you mean by flat too as I know that a sunflower shot perfectly on the fully facing flower can look like that….even though I had wanted a fully facing one. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  4. I love this post, what a gorgeous still life, Judy. Very nice and inspiring! 🙂

    • When I saw this, I thought immediately of your still lifes, Dina. They are exquisite, too. I need to take myself in hand and get with Instagram!

      • Well, what I can say after a few weeks with Instagram; – it’s ist social media and very superficial compared to blogging. It’s a nice way to show and archive ones photos. “Everybody” is on Instagram, the latest figures are something 900 million. I’m in Norway right now and Instagram is much more popular than Twitter. Warm greetings from the North. I’m packing, getting prepared for Norfolk again. 🙂 ❤

    • Thank you Dina. I enjoyed your still life work too. I think it is a disciplined enterprise to try and do them. To look at what works in the paintings of the masters and what rules of composition to follow …..or break!! I am keen on trying some composite still lifes too which might be crazy if the vision skills fail me. So happy you enjoyed this image.

  5. Of all the details here, Judy, the one I like best is the single spent blossom near the bottom of the vase. The single change I’d make (of course you want my opinion!) is not tucking the leaf on the left under the shell. It’s the one little detail that seems unnatural — unless, of course, you have one of those strange Florida plants that can crawl about on their own!

    But as a whole, I think it’s very effective, and besides: who doesn’t like sunflowers?

    • Your comment is right on and I do appreciate the input and agree wholeheartedly on the cowry leaf. Anytime and everytime you try a still life you will be reminded to pay attention to details. This particular image was the result of cleaning up and putting things away and I set the cowries on the leaf already sitting on the table and I don’t like it either and it does disrupt the flow quite a bit. But, just as I didn’t see it shooting because the flowers looked so pretty, I played and posted anyhow because of the rest. There is also a strand of cobwebby something I will look closer at I didn’t even notice til looking on the iPad at my Dad’s (just back). I have done other flower pictures from flowers picked from outside…like hibiscus…but when you bring things in from outside there is dirt or unattractive insects and things to clean up. Attractive insects might be ok 🙂 . So what I am learning on still lifes is to be deliberate and yet casual with the set ups and to pay close attention to distracting things and eliminate before shooting (not everything is as easy as cloning out a dust spec). This does not mean to not go with the light and look later since some things are best gotten when it is there. And who can argue with serendipity. I love serendipity.

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