Fall is coming once again and here in Finland, it means long long loooong dark days until we will get to spring again. Usually, we have snow from November on, but nowadays the winters are different. We might get snow, or we might not. We will see how it goes this time. Anyhow, outside our home we have a patch of land that my wife and her mom have turned into a wild(ish) meadow. Now, at the end of the season, it’s a field of multitudes of flowers, big and small. I have been watching them bloom, thinking that it could be a great source of material for still life photography.
Suddenly I realized that summer days have gone by and yet I have not made any effort to do the image that I had in my mind. The weather was getting colder and the flowers started to die, so I needed to do something, fast. I went to Ikea and found a vase and some pumpkins from LIDL, both ideal for the shoot. I found a victorian looking cloth from my stash, picked the flowers from our yard, and set them up for my still life image.
I had gathered many images of old still life paintings for my Pinterest board, and this historical feel I tried to bring to my setup. I’m not a florist or anything and I often rely on my stylist to make my props, but this time I wanted to do all of this myself. It was rather relaxing to do stuff with my own hands. Also for the shoot, I did something different from my normal style of photography and used natural light instead of flashes. It was a perfect overcast day for this, light just pouring in from the big window. I just had to take a shot of my setup and then retouch it to my liking. I took multiple frames of the setup and stitched them up as a “panorama” image to get as much detail as possible.
I have really distinct style when it comes to my tones and retouching, so even though this is not commercial work, I still wanted it to look like my image. To achieve this, I decided to add some details in the post-processing: I added some butterflies, ants, spiders, flies, caterpillars, and various bugs in the shot to make it more interesting, even though you can see these small hidden things only if you zoom in. The best part is, that this way I could also include the real owners of the meadow in the image -after all, it’s meant to be home for bugs.
All in all, I’m really happy about the result. The image looks like a renaissance still life image, but with my own twist. I’m sure I will print a generous version of this for my own wall, maybe even sell prints of this if there’s enough interest.
And this is definitely also a reminder to myself that you don’t need always fancy gear and multiple flashes to create amazing art. You just need inspiration, vision, investment of time, and work to create amazing art. So go out and start creating!