Art Still Life

Words and Photos by Bob Coates

Recently, I was working on testing a background stand for a review and grabbed a small vase and some flowers from a miniature rose bush outside my door to see what I could do. I used a couple of Platypods to both support the camera and hold the light. It's clean, simple and low trouble to put together!

Below is my set with the Platypod supporting the gear:

I will often try to push things beyond the straight photography realm. That’s why I refer to myself as a ‘Lens Based Artist’ vs a photographer. All of my source material comes through a camera lens, but after that all bets are off. Mixing multiple images for texture, adjusting depth and dimension with dodging and burning, and working to change the color palette are just a few of the techniques I employ in my work.

I used an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III camera with a 12-100mm M.Zukio f/4.0 lens. Lighting was dialed in with a Falcon Eyes F7 Fold LED light. These lights have an infinite amount color and intensity settings with a very high color rendering index.

The original capture:

Postscript on Processing

A copy layer of the base capture was made, and the Mode was changed to Subtract. Certain areas were held back from that change with the use of a Mask. You will see an extensive use of Masks in the Layers palette. Multiple Curves Layers were employed to highlight certain areas of the roses and background. A Texture was added to create mood and color changes in Soft Light Mode. 

Then, a copy of that layer was made and adjusted in the Adobe camera RAW filter. A Soft Light Layer was created for additional dodging and burning to further control highlights and shadows. All layers were combined to do some final retouching of artifacts. 



The final image after post processing: