Journal of a Photographer

2012/05/22

The One Beautiful Thing project

Filed under: photography — admin @ 12:38

I’ve decided to begin a weekly project, which I am calling “One Beautiful Thing“. The plan is to shoot one thing that I find beautiful, every week. Could be a model, a product, a rock, a landscape, or anything that catches my eye and my imagination. It could be inherently beautiful, or, I hope, it’ll become beautiful under my tender care (either in or out of the studio).

This week it’s a leaf I found in a nearby park 4 or so years ago.

Being Canadian, I am partial to the maple tree (sadly, called “Plane trees” here in the UK) and this huge leaf was sitting on the ground in front of me as I walked through the grass on my way home (my memory may be playing tricks on me though, it’s quite possible that this leaf is one that my son spotted for me!). It had recently fallen, and was yellow and green, and still soft. I brought it back to the studio and hung it up in a sheltered corner where I promptly forgot about it. A couple of years later I rediscovered it in its present form, and it’s been the back of my mind ever since and it was the first thing I thought of shooting when I began this project. I love the shape and texture!

For the technically minded (shout out to Strobists): I hung it from the ceiling with black thread and lit it with a gridded strip box about 120° to camera left, balanced by a white reflector on the other side. The hard part was dealing with how it never stopped slowly rotating on that thread :-) Post-processing was a matter of removing the thread, rotating it -90°, and playing with luminance masks (differently for the colour and black & white treatments). They make very nice prints.

leaf in studio, black & white

leaf in studio, black & white

leaf in studio

leaf in studio

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9 Comments »

  1. I love the soft light on the leaf – did it meet Photoshop too? But it also reminds of a recent story heard in a Danish forest at the Northern part of Sjælland. Back in 1801 the Brits bombarded Copenhagen under the fighting leadership of Nelson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Copenhagen_%281801%29 As a result of the loss of a large part of the Danish fleet, it was decided by the Danish Navy to plant some more trees, so more war ships could be produced. Earlier this year, the Navy received a letter from the North Zealand Forest Commission that their trees’ are now fully grown and ready for collection…

    Comment by Mads — 2012/05/22 @ 17:15

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