It’s all done with mirrors…

It’s officially spring here in the UK.  The flowers are just emerging, and looking fabulous.  One of my favourite flowers is the tulip, and our first of the year has just come into flower.  It’s in a shady spot that only gets afternoon sun.  This morning was a lovely sunny one, so I thought I would show how a shaving mirror can change everything…

Blog-tulip-#1I popped my longest zoom lens (Panasonic 45-150mm) on to my E-M10, popped the E-M10 on to a tripod, and focused on the flower.  There’s nothing immediately behind it, so with the lens wide open the background is nicely out of focus.  As the flower is in the shade the light is very soft and diffuse, with some very subtle colour rendition.

Blog-tulip-#2

I wanted to change the light, so fired my camera’s built-in flash.  It’s filled in the shadow areas a little bit, and has reduced the contrast on the flower.  It’s made the flower a bit brighter so it’s a little bit more separated from the background.  The effect is still quite subtle though.

Blog-tulip-#3

I wanted a much bigger difference in the lighting, and couldn’t wait till the afternoon sun was on the flower, so I got a shaving mirror.  I went and stood in a sunny spot and reflected the sunlight back on to the flower.  I had to use 1.7 stops of negative exposure compensation as the light was so much brighter.  I also had to use the self-timer as I couldn’t press the shutter and hold the mirror at the same time.  The image is now much more contrasty, with more separation of the foreground flower and the background.

Do you want the light subtle or contrasty?   You have control, just use your shaving mirror.

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