Photo Talk: Flower Pot

April 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


Flower Pot | Sigma SD1M + 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS



At first, it was the graphic shape and size of the structure that caught my eye. Then I noticed small strands of life appearing in difficult places. It then occurred to me, I was an observer to something much larger than the structure itself; the act of nature winning against the odds. As I walked around the structure I noticed small weeds growing out of the concrete. They appeared to be dancing with the wind and celebrating under the fiery sky. As I studied the scene further, the thought of nature taking it all back crossed my mind. Here is an example of nature persisting over the industrialization of the land. All it took was a few seeds trickling into the cracks of the concrete, and nature begins anew.



The camera is the Sigma SD1 Merrill with the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS lens. The sun was setting and I was shooting right into it which can cause a bunch of problems like flare, inaccurate exposure and hidden foreground elements to name a few. To compensate for some of these hazards, I bracketed my exposures while shooting handheld.

In post, I blended different exposures to get what I was looking for. The foreground fell into deep shadows when metering for the weeds; the sky blew-out with a proper exposure for the foreground, and the vertical part of the structure had the best detail with an exposure about 1 stop darker than the sky. How do I know this?  By making bracketed exposures and examining each one in post. As it turned out, the sky needed to go -1.3 stops, the vertical part of the structure went around +1/3 stop, and the foreground had to go +1.3 stops. I decided to keep the structure a tad bit on the dark side since that is how it looked during sunset.

The brightness coming from the left side of the structure is the setting sun spilling around the edges. It is not an HDR artifact. I do not use HDR programs because the results do not suit my taste. Instead, I use exposure blending which can produce results similar to using graduated ND filters. In my film days, I carried LEE Graduated ND Filters in my camera bag, but with digital, I only use polarizers and solid ND filters. I know quite a few photographers shooting digital medium format and DSLR cameras that continue to use graduated ND filters, but I have opted to prioritize post processing over a heavier gear bag.


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