Tajikistan – persimmon trees covered in snow
Snow came early this year in Dushanbe. As I was walking through my garden admiring the white blanket I noticed the snow covered persimmons remaining in the trees. That deserves a picture I thought, and went back inside for my camera. My first shot I took in aperture mode. Let the camera do the thinking and see what comes out. Not bad, but nothing special either. Just another picture of persimmons hanging in the tree.
Let’s throw some light on this, I figured, and took out a strobe that was still standing in my living room from a previous shoot. First shot, nothing fancy, just pointed the strobe straigth on the persimmons. I mounted a grid of 20 degrees to concentrate the light. Camera put in manual mode, at f16 and a shutter speed of 1/125. It already looks a bit more interesting, but the f-stop effectively blocked out the daylight and made it look like it was shot at night.
So for the next picture I reduced the f-stop to 6.3 in order to blend in the daylight. To avoid overexposure I lowered the power on the strobe. Taping some orange gel over the light helped to bring out the soft orange from the persimmons. Now that starts to look like a picture. Nice orange colours almost like there’s a glowing sunset. There wasn’t though. It was a grey overcast day, as you can see in the background. That light is not affected by my gel covered strobe.
Would be nice if I could get rid of that grey colour. Not that it’s ugly, but it doesn’t help the magic of the moment. Hang on, how about changing white balance? And since I have a very orange gel on my light, turning the white balance to tungsten might just work. Tried it, and it did. The background turned to deep blue, which just works wonders with the saturated orange of the persimmons.
Same persimmons, but with a bit of light and white balance tricks a picture that is just common turns into wow. This picture was made with a strobe, but the same could be done with an off-camera flash. Check out this link for more on colour gels and white balance.