Monday, September 24, 2012

Wild Berries: contrast between subject and background

A brief time spent with some wild berries in the middle of the "mosquito patch", and how to "change the background"...without changing the background:

This wild fruit ripened in an area that was unfortunately overrun by flying hexapodal syringes (a.k.a. skeeters). There were a few pretty specimens hanging in various locations on the shrub, but the background was going to be a challenge. There were all sorts of ugly broken branches, dead leaves, etc., and the patches of direct sunlight coming through small openings in the tree canopy made a hodgepodge that was not going to photograph in an attractive fashion. My most successful shot from a "graphical" perspective took shape when I found one berry in a narrow shaft of sunlight. Getting close, and exposing for the subject, I was able to get the background to go black and disappear. This left me with the stark shapes of the fruit, leaves, and stems, with nothing else to distract. Well, there is a bit of spider silk caught by the edge of the light in the upper right. I like that, though, and consider it a minor balancing element, rather than a distraction.

I did want to try to portray more of the context, and moved about on the ground until I could no longer bear the assault of the biting bugs (in spite of deet, I might add). This next shot was a pretty good idea, I think, but not completely successful because of the overly bright highlights in the background. I just needed an assistant to hold up a scrim or a flag and block the intense sun from that area! I tried lower angles to show different shapes of the subject, but the sky was bright and colorless, so not much luck.

A closer view works a little better in some ways:

All shot with the very flexible Canon 100/2.8 L macro lens. It's great for portraits of people, animals, berries, and insects!


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