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Succulent in Black & White II



Photography by Peggy Jones Pfister

Photography by Peggy Jones Pfister
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Top Choice
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Superb Composition
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Absolute Masterpiece
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Peer Award
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Magnificent Capture
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Black And White Compositions Photo Contest vol2Top 20 class
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The Emerging Talent AwardsTop 20 class
All Things Black And White Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Clash Of The Premiums Photo ContestTop 20 class
The Battle Of Amateurs Photo ContestTop 30 class
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Plants In Black And White Photo ContestTop 30 class
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Image of the Year Photo Contest by SnapfishTop 20 class week 1
Awesomeness In Black And White Photo ContestTop 30 class
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Textures In Black And White Photo ContestTop 30 class
Covers Photo Contest Vol 20Top 20 class week 1

Behind The Lens

Location
I shot this image at home on my patio, where I grow a few succulent plants in pots.
Time
It was about 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon in January while I was puttering with my plants (winters are very mild where I live and January days can be quite beautiful). I am an amateur photographer with a non-photography-related "day job", so on the weekends I love to spend as much time as possible on photography. I also find gardening relaxing, and if I can combine the two ... even better!
Lighting
This was shot in mid-afternoon on a covered patio. Since it was January, the light was not blazingly bright as it is in the summer, and since the plant was in the shade, there was plenty of natural light, but it was quite soft, and nicely angled to show off the contours of the plant.
Equipment
This image was shot with a Canon Rebel T2i and a Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens. I used an f/22 aperture to get sharpness throughout the image, ISO 100 for minimal noise, and no flash. Consequently, the exposure was long (2 seconds) so I definitely used a tripod!
Inspiration
I love succulent plants! There are seemingly infinite varieties of them with such interesting colors, textures, and shapes. I think what I like most about them is what they all seem to have in common ... fascinating structures, sometimes in regular patterns and sometimes a bit more free form, but always rather architectural. And while they often display beautiful colors, their structures and textures make them great candidates for black and white presentation as well. On this particular day, the light was very nice. This little plant was fairly young, so the rosettes were in good shape and still pretty closely packed together, making for a nice tight composition. It all just came together.
Editing
I sharpened the image and brought out details with a high pass filter and did a fairly straightforward conversion to black and white. I did some cleaning with the spot healing brush because when you look very closely at plants, you find that they are quite messy! I also adjusted brightness in a few spots. All processing was done in Photoshop CC.
In my camera bag
I have one camera body, a Canon 70D. My lenses are the Canon 18 - 55mm "kit" lens, a Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens, and a Canon 70 - 300mm f/4 - 5.6 USM lens. I also carry a polarizing filter, neutral density filter, and remote shutter release.
Feedback
My general advice for any photographer or other artist is to pursue your passion, never give up, learn from others, and share freely with others. Specifically, for this type of shot, I would say to look at the subject from all angles to find the best composition, use a sufficiently small aperture to get overall sharpness (assuming that's what you're going for, and in this case I was, since it is a pattern shot), and a tripod is a must. And if you're considering converting to black and white, pay particular attention to sufficient tonal contrast, structure, and/or texture in the subject to produce a pleasing black and white image.

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