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A Seeing Eye – Highlighting a Hibiscus 2014

A hibiscus staminal column spotlit with an LED light

A hibiscus staminal column spotlit with an LED light

At first sight, this appears to be a simple image of a red hibiscus.  But if you look at the central staminal column, you will see it appears brighter than the petals. This is no accident. In fact, I visualised the final image before I even bought the plant. From past experience, I have purchased flowers only to find a sudden urgent deadline can ruin my schedule, resulting in the flowers going past they use by date.

In this case, I wanted to spotlight the stamens and stigmas – not unlike a person spotlit on a stage – so it separated from the rest of the flower. Working in my conservatory, I used indirect available light for the whole flower. A small LED light highlighted the staminal column with back light. To make sure the entire three dimensional flower was in focus, 62 exposures were taken to make a focus stack.

After checking the correct exposure for the complete flower; I underexposed by ⅔ stop. The LED light was moved until the best angle was found that worked in the camera. The light was moved in and out to gain the perfect exposure. The result is a portrait with subtle spot lighting.

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