PhotoZAP 20: Floral Flourish

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“I admire the photographer’s MacGyver-like inventiveness in setting up this shot and his efforts to modify and shape the light.”—Mason Resnick

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© Jason Moran, Santa Clarita, CA. Gear: Sony DSC-HX. Exposure: 1/4000 at f/8, ISO 50, 8mm lens, center weighted metering, manual exposure and white balance. Hard sharpness and contrast, high saturation settings selected.

Photographer’s Statement: My wife’s favorite flowers are tulips so I thought I would experiment on the coffee table tulips with some flash photography.  I closed the drapes and wrapped an old black shirt around the glass vase. Then I used an old paper towel tube, lined the inside with reflective tape, and used it to re-direct the light to shine down on the subject.



Our critics say...

Mason Resnick: I admire the photographer’s MacGyver-like inventiveness in setting up this shot and his efforts to modify and shape the light. Unfortunately the lighting falls short, with too many deep shadows (especially pronounced in the purple tulip) and reflections off the surface of the flowers (note the hot spots on the yellow one). This kind of shot would be better served with a snooted flash off-camera, shooting down from above to eliminate the shadows, or even better, with a pair of flashes with the second to kill shadows. If you’re going to use the same camera with its pop-up flash, he needs a way to periscope the light higher. Consider using Professor Kobre’s Lightscoop, and then shape the light with a Honl Speed Snoot to modify the light.

Monica Cipnic: While I like the rich colors of the flowers, I'd like to see less of the deep shadow areas, as Mason has indicated. I would also suggest that you include more tulips for aesthetics and composition; there's something about the 3 blooms being closed and  one being very open that seem to create two layers in the photograph--the foreground open tulip and the background closed tulips-- that make it feel static and not dynamic.

Jack Howard: I've seen so many soft-focused, muted palette, shallow DOF shots of florals over the years that it is kind of very refreshing to see a different take with hard light. I'm not crazy about the orange bumping up against the red open tulip. I would prefer the purple one to be closest to the open tulip. And about that front flower: it's where the eye is naturally drawn, so this should where the camera is focused. Those curled petals should be tack-sharp, and the yellow flower at back should be softer, if you're not going to have everything in this frame tack-sharp.

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