Travel photography can be a great deal of fun, however as Sally Mann is found of saying, some of the best pictures can be taken around the house. We had a party at the house this weekend, and some friends brought some wonderful flowers that really needed to be photographed.
A black curtain hung next to a window, some soft, natural light and everything was set for a picture. I wanted a straight vase and ultimately selected an old wine bottle, dutifully emptied of its original contents, which held the flower nice and straight. I found a suitable table and draped it with a dark cloth. For lighting I directed the natural light with a reflector.
Once set up, the simple part is the actual photography. Key to these still life, is to use spot metering on the brightest area. In this case, the flower petals proved to be the brightest area. Once the exposure was set to keep all the highlights from being blown out, all that was left was to recompose.
The challenge of such a shot is that the preparation takes so much longer than the actual execution that the end result hardly seems to justify the expense of time and effort. In order to compensate for this feeling, the photographer will often shoot too many images of the flower, expending an entire film roll or occupying too much memory.
I suggest that you consider what other items could be photographed with a similar background and gather those. Once the "foldable studio" is set up, there are plenty of things that might benefit from the setting.
I took the liberty to shoot this flower both in digital and on film. For the film I finished off a roll of 120 HP5+ at EI 1600 that I had on my Hasselblad. I also had a roll of 35mm also of HP5 at EI 200 that I shot as well. The end result, three or four digital images followed by ten or so images on film.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.