Just before Easter we were given an assignment to create a still life image that we may be able to use to highlight our Final Major Project.
Although it was suggested that we might have time to made available to us to create our image in the studio, as I am photographing Constable’s landscapes I discussed it with my lecturer and she agreed that I could do my assignment in Flatford by the River Stour.
Due to inclement weather on several days during my visit I didn’t have a lot of time to complete the assignment. I had planned to take a photograph of my tripod and camera with my walking boots and some ‘Constable props’ by it on the bank of the river. In the end I remembered to take an additional camera with me so that I could swap it and put that on the tripod and use my ‘good camera’ for taking the photo. I called in, early in the morning to my National Trust guide friend and collected a print of Constable’s portrait and one of his many books. At the river I tried a few different arrangements and took a few test shots, adjusting things until I was happy. I decided not to include my walking boots in the end as I had chosen what looked like a sunny spot on some grass but was actually quite wet and muddy and deceivingly cold.
I could have done with a cloth and some polish to clean the portrait before photographing it but overall I think this will do just fine. I particularly like the duck that is just swimming along in the background and slightly out of focus especially as Constable included ducks in so many of his paintings of the area.
I was using my Sony Alpha camera with my 18-200mm lens and as it was so bright I was able to use ISO 100, f4.5 at 1/400 sec. I was keen for the props to stand out from the background.
It Lightroom I increased the clarity and the vibrance slightly and upped the grain as I didn’t want it to look too ‘smooth’ and perfect. I used Silver FX Pro to change a copy of the image to black and white and apply a small vignette.
Then, to reflect the layering in my final photos I opened both the black and white and the colour image in Photoshop then selected the portrait of Constable in the colour version and pasted it onto a new layer in the black and white version. I reduced the opacity in order to line the two images up precisely before increasing it again. then, on an adjustment layer I added a radial transparency graduation that blurred the edges of the join. I wasn’t happy with that as there wasn’t much of the portrait visible so I undid that move, adjusted the graduation settings and applied it again. It took a few attempts and in the end I was quite satisfied with this.
Before exporting and applying my logo I created another version and cropped it squarely so that I have two versions that I can use for different applications.