Archive for the ‘Still Lifes’ Category

flowers, marbles, nicklels – and people

by Blake Robinson

September 22nd, 2010    0 Comments     Add Comment
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As many of you know, my photography exhibit “Up Close” opened last week, at the Darien (CT) Library. It was so terrific to greet many friends and  acquaintances – as well as strangers – at the opening reception.  We had about 150 people come, which was humbling and which also really blew me away!  If you have not had a chance to see the show, I hope you will drop by the Library and check it out. The show will be up until October 25th. The work is for sale, and there is a price list at the front desk of the Library.

I wanted to post a few pictures from the show.  The image above is one of three photographs of marbles.  These images are about color and depth of field.  I was also trying to convey a metaphor of one (a person? an object?) that is “different” within a crowd of many.

The image above is entitled “Lindsay Dreaming.”  It was interesting at the opening reception to hear which pictures various people liked best. This was one of the favorites and it’s one of my favorites as well.  I’m usually drawn to color, but this image definitely worked better in black and white.  Aside from that comment, I don’t want to say too much about the picture! Better to let you interpret it from your own perspective.

Most of the work in the show was created this year. I did include a few older images, such as “Nickel on a Park Bench.”  This was taken on a photography workshop in Savannah a couple of years ago. Our assignment for that day was to work on photographs using narrow depth of field – that is, the area in sharp focus is very narrow. In this image, the nickel and just a few inches of the bench are sharp, but everything else is fuzzy. The circles in the background were small colored street lights. I’m not sure I can understand the physics of how camera lenses work,  but often small bright lights that are out of focus will appear as these lovely larger circles of light, which is called bokeh.

In the show, I exhibited seven image of flowers.  One of them is shown below. In all of these images, I used a close-up (macro)  lens, shooting from about a foot away.   The pictures in this series are, in part,  studies of how light coming from different angles can help create a sense of three dimensions.  I was also drawn into and therefore wanted to emphasize the beautiful details of each flower, reflecting the rich variety of God’s amazing designs in the natural world.

As always, any comments and questions are welcome.

Shooting Flowers

by Blake Robinson

March 7th, 2010    3 Comments     Add Comment

While shooting people is my first love, I do enjoy photographing a variety of other subjects, including flowers.  There are not many flowers available at our local florists yet, as we are at the tail end of winter. But I found a few flowers to shoot at the local Korean fruit and vegetable market.

A few tips for shooting flowers:

1) Get in really close. you don’t have to show the whole flower. As you get closer in, the image may be begin to have an abstract quality – not a bad thing.

2) Make sure the flower is still (shoot inside, or outside with no wind). Make sure the camera is still – the best way to do this easily is with a tripod.

more tips below –

3)  Consider buying a macro (that is, close-up) lens. For these images I used a Nikon Micro (Nikon’s word for Macro) 105mm F2.8 lens. The macro lens can provide really nice detail for close-up shots.

4) Focus very carefully. Macro lenses tend to have a very narrow depth of field, so the area in focus may be very small. decide what you want to have sharp in the image. Focus manually. Autofocus may not yield a good result.

5) Watch the background. You don’t want it to compete with your flower. I have in the studio a bunch of poster-sized boards of many colors, which I used here.

again, more tips below….

6) Try lighting from different angles.  The star-gazer lily at the top was mostly backlit, so you can see some of the translucent qualities of the flower. Both of the gerbers were lit primarily from the side, to show dimension. Avoid lighting from behind the camera – will usually make a dull, flat image.

7) Take lots of pictures.  They’re free (in digital, anyway). Try different angles. Try shots you think might not work – they often do. Take risks.

Lastly,  take time to marvel at the incredible variety of the natural world. If you believe in God (as I do) , give thanks for the incredible beauty God has created for us to enjoy. If you’re not a believer, be grateful anyway!

I’m having a solo photography exhibit in the fall (watch this space for details). The theme will be “Up Close.”  All or most of the pictures will be close-ups – of people and other subjects, such as flowers.  Hope to see you at the show!

Still Life – Flowers

by Blake Robinson

August 24th, 2009    0 Comments     Add Comment


Mostly, I shoot people – for my business and  for fun. But I do enjoy the taking a break and shooting other things, like flowers.

In shooting flowers,  my approach is similar to what I do in portraiture. I’m drawn to bold colors, with simple and clean layouts. What is different is that I find myself shooting in very close, often just focusing on a small part of the flower. 

I’m using the word focus in two senses. The first meaning is focus as in concentrate on or emphasize. But I’m also talking about photographic focus – what part of the image is in focus and sharp. In the image above, although it may be hard to see on the blog, the stamen on the right is really the only thing that is tack sharp. I used a macro (close-up) lens, which gives a very narrow depth of field – that is, a small part of the image will be in focus. Our eyes don’t work this way, we see with a fairly wide depth of field. But if we are in close on a lily and just looking at the stamens, the rest of the flower and certainly the background is out of focus figuratively – in our mind’s eye if you will.


In this image, we see parts of  two lilies in side view. The stamens in the back are really fuzzy, but we know what they look like, from the ones in front.  Having part of the image in focus and part out of focus can help to create a sense of depth – three dimensonality – in the picture.

I know very little about flowers. I do marvel at the delicacy and beauty of the stamens, and the richness of color against the rest of the muted colors of the lily. 

Here’s one last image, with perhaps the narrowest depth of field of any of the pictures. If you saw this one alone, it might take a minute to figure out what the picture is. I like this somewhat abstract feeling. It lets us just enjoy the shapes and colors, and perhaps also let our imaginations run wild.