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Friday Slide Show: Joyce's Flowers Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

31 October 2014

When the doorbell rang for the second time, Joyce decided to open the door. Good thing, too. Her sisters had sent her a beautiful bouquet of flowers after the wedding two weeks ago.

Joyce's Flowers. As a storm approaches.

Flowers are perishable beauties, though, so she asked me to take a photo of them to send to her sisters so they could see what they looked like. It was quite an array of species, deftly arranged.


This is one of those things you can do any number of ways. But most of them are a little disappointing and the others are a lot of work.

You could, for example, whip out the smartphone and fire away, emailing the image away. But what experience would that convey? Hardly even fleeting.

A bouquet is a world of its own. You almost need a passport. And when you get there, you don't want to leave. It leaves a lasting impression.

So we decided to go studio. We brought up the Flashpoint 180 monolight we reviewed in June, along with the inexpensive radio trigger (no longer available) we use with it.

Then we brought up the old tripod we acquired and spruced up with a new quick release plate.

We put a 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens on the Nikon D300 (so a 75mm full-frame equivalent) and got our glasses, remembering the lesson we learned at the Legion of Honor. To focus at fast apertures on a dSLR, use Live View and, if necessary, your glasses.

It pays to read Photo Corners, even if you wrote the stuff to begin with.


We shot a few images on the tripod and then took the camera off and did some handheld shots, shooting in Manual mode at 1/125 second, f4 and ISO 200 (since we had flash).

We aimed the strobe at the ceiling to bounce the light evenly (and softly) over the flowers. We didn't want harsh light. Our backdrop was a storm coming in off the Pacific.

But we didn't shoot exclusively with the strobe. We ended our session with a few natural light shots wide open at f1.4. One on side of the bouquet, at least, the light level had risen enough for that.

We showed Joyce the images using the D300's slide show then we went back to the bunker to ingest them, which converted the NEF Raw files into DNG files.


Post processing the 29 DNG files was a job for Lightroom.

We only cropped a few, although one of them we cropped quite severely. We barely rotated any of them either.

But we did do three things to all of them: increase Clarity substantially, open up the Shadows and adjust the White Balance to a slightly warmer (and more accurate) tone. A few images needed a bit more exposure, but only a bit.


The next issue was sharing the images. Everybody has email, everybody has a smartphone, everybody has a computer. These shots were going online to a service that could provide a simple URL we could email the sisters. One click and they could have their own slide show.

So which service?

We decided to give Revel another shot after solving our Lightroom-Revel problem, publishing directly from Lightroom 5.

That worked just fine. It presents the album in a nicely laid out Web page with a Play button in the top right to run a slide show, if you want. You can see it here, in fact. It has a few more images (23) than what we've put up here.

Joyce sent the URL to her sisters in an email so they could view it on their phones or computers.

And we had fun doing it, too. Which is not something you can say all the time.

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