View Full Version : High-key Calla

Chris Starbuck
01-12-2008, 06:10 PM
The callas in the Missouri Botanical Garden are striking, but the location makes it difficult to get a pleasing background (buildings, fences, other flower beds, etc are all around). So I decided to approach from a low angle, placing the flower against the thinly overcast sky, and by exposing for the flower, let the sky go completely white. Does this work? Should I have used a bit of fill flash?

Canon 20D, Canon 100-400 at 135mm, ISO 800, evaluative metering +0.7, Av 1/250 at f/11; slight crop for composition

Alfred Forns
01-12-2008, 06:28 PM
Works well and I like it Chris !!!! You can use fill flash for these images Would have made a difference in this case Might have included a little more of the stalk? The seconds does not add much to the image and would not mind seeing it disappear Excellent idea to get a pleasing bg Congrats !!!!!

John Cooper
01-12-2008, 07:47 PM
Hi Chris, You've captured a stunning example of the callas but my first impression was that you had dragged the floral arrangement onto a blank canvas in PS!! Probably would have prefered to see some impression that the BG is indeed cloudy sky. No harsh shadows here so think the exposure has worked just fine without fill flash.

Robert O'Toole
01-12-2008, 08:08 PM
Hi Chris,

Nice - I love high key.
I think the image could have used more exposure or better yet some reflected light to balance and even out the highlight tones with the darker tones. Dont mind the lack of flash but a reflector, hanheld or clamp mounted would have helped to open up the front of the flowers to reduce and balance the dark tones with the rest of the image. Sometimes you can even use a light colored shirt or towel if you bring them, I always do. The difference can be night and day in some cases.

The problem other than the fact that they are some cases dark tones are unsightly is that they tend to show noise.

Love Callas! Especially since they love moist and wet habitats. Keep a look out, you can get Dragonflies, lizards, and frogs and other subjects on them.

Chris Starbuck
01-13-2008, 12:37 AM
Thanks to all for your comments. Must remember to use the reflector next time I see something like this. Having made this at fairly high ISO (it was a bit breezy), I don't think I can get away with just lightening the darker areas; the noise does show up. The sky was so flat that no exposure would have shown any detail; there just wasn't any. OTOH, the dead white BG is easy to select/mask, so I could drop in any background I want. Removing the 2nd stalk may be a bit challenging where it's overlapped by the FG flower and stalk; the edges are not real sharply defined. Thinking about it now, if I'd moved to the left I might have been able to mostly hide the 2nd stalk behind the first.

Robert O'Toole
01-13-2008, 10:41 AM
Hi Chris,

I Iike the BG the way it is, dont touch it, the High key effect works great.

I wouldnt bother with the second stem.

Really you could remove it without too much trouble with Quick Mask. You use the edges from other areas to paint them in. Email me and I can help you if would like to know more.