Mamiya camera · Still Life

Alstroemeria’s on Portra – A Still Life

As mentioned in previous articles, Kelsey often buys me a bouquet of flowers with our groceries that I use in still life shoots. In particular, she likes to buy Alstroemerias because they last a really long time and come in different colors. This particular bouquet was red and white, so I thought Alstroemeria’s on Portra would look great.

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Alstroemerias on Portra

First, I set up the still life on a table with black blankets behind it propped up with poster board. Usually, I use two Fovitec lights, one facing the ceiling for backlighting and one facing the subject. However, I decided to forego the direct light and only used the backlight along with sunlight from the window above. This decision was made based on the results I had on a previous still life shoot that came too bright.

Hasselblad 500 with Kodak Portra 400
Hasselblad 500 with Kodak Portra 400

Well, as you can see, that decision wasn’t a good one. There wasn’t enough lighting this time. The photos were mostly underexposed and I didn’t get the look I was going for.

Hasselblad 500 with Kodak Portra 400
Hasselblad 500 with Kodak Portra 400

Lesson Learned

Next, with all of the mistakes noted, I decided to reshoot the Alstroemerias on Portra before they died. By the way, these flowers are still alive as I write this weeks later. That’s why I love Alstroemerias.

This time, in order to catch them the way I had in mind, I used one Fovitec light straight on and only the room light switched on overhead. This proved to be the right amount of light. However, I was upset to find that I overlooked the reflection of it in the vase.

Mamiya C330 Kodak Portra 400
Mamiya C330 Kodak Portra 400

Luckily the reflection wasn’t in all of the frames because I had moved the camera for different angles.

I bracketed my shots staying at f/8 because I wanted the stems to be in focus along with the flowers. The only value I adjusted was the shutter speed from 1/8th of a second through 1/2 a second, making minor adjustments in position from frame to frame.

Alstroemerias on Kodak Portra
Alstroemerias on Kodak Portra at f8 and 1/4 of a second

I am not sure which one I like better. The one below that shows a slight hint of the blanket, or above that makes the flowers appear to be in a black hole. Let me know which one you like best.

Mamiya C330 Kodak Portra 400
Mamiya C330 Kodak Portra 400 f8 and 1/2 a second

Final Thoughts

The Mamiya C330 wasn’t an easy one to use in this setting because the focusing screen is very dim. Regardless, I am happy with these results. I used this camera because it has the ability to focus closer than the Hasselblad.

I am currently working on a video that will show my setup and details on how I shoot my still life photos. If you’re interested, make sure to head over and subscribe to my YouTube channel and of course subscribe to receive my articles in your inbox. Stay tuned.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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6 thoughts on “Alstroemeria’s on Portra – A Still Life

  1. I don’t want to cause trouble, but I like the low-key look of the second Hasselblad shot most. The somewhat muted tone seems a little mysterious, as if inviting one to come a little closer to see what’s hidden. Just a thought…

  2. I like the very first one because it’s sharp and the colors are vibrant! Again, thanks for sharing!

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