I've been toying with this lighting set up for still life. One bare bulb on the flowers and *hopefully* everything else goes black. You have to put the subject away from the wall and use less light than you normally would. My first attempt was okay - the background and surface were black, but you could still see the vase.
This time I moved the light directly over the subject and a bit higher than I normally would. I'm satisfied with this image and I think it's time to give the peonies a rest until next year.
Final note - it's satisfying doing this kind of work with the 8x10. The process is engaging and there is a tantalizing time period between shooting and seeing the final image. Yesterday, I spent about 2 hours setting up and shooting four images. Then I spent another hour and 15 minutes individually tray developing each negative. These two processes are why I love large format.
And then the scanning... Man, my computer (a well spec'd iMac) struggles with these 8x10 scans. The scanning itself isn't bad; it takes about 12 minutes to scan each image. But the file sizes are so huge that they crash Preview everytime I try to reduce the file size. Photoshop Elements does okay with a smaller file, but getting there is a chore.
I scan my 8x10 negatives at 2400dpi, which results in a whopping 24,000x19,200px wide image. I save the original file and then work on a duplicate that's reduced to like 10,000px on the long side. Once I get to that point things move along a little better.
I think I will have much more fun contact printing these negatives than scanning and photoshopping.
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