I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. The flowers that sat on the countertop for over a week were looking less than stellar, but they still added a bit of freshness and color to our kitchen. I’d been thinking about how I hadn’t picked up my camera in a bit and finally, when the flowers were just too far gone, I brought them into my makeshift studio to play. I didn’t have a goal in mind, I just knew that I needed to get away from my to-do list and do something creative.
I grabbed one of my cheapy soft-boxes that I bought years ago and set up a mini backdrop using a black sheet, swooping it up over a barstool I have sitting out there. It didn’t provide enough space, so I put a scrap piece of large tile on top of it and got to work setting up my camera. I put it on a tripod and adjusted the controls for low light. I thought I’d start with dark and moody since that’s how the wilted flowers felt to me at the time. My first instinct was the practice with fill light, so I pulled the white foam core off the shelf to see how it would look to bounce some light from the soft box onto the sheet. Here are 3 images with the foam core in different places – leaving the soft-box in the same exact place.
The differences where subtle, but the reflection off the glass vase and the separation of the petals from one flower to another were the biggest changes I noticed.
After that, I began shooting without much thought. I was like a robot cataloging the aging bouquet. Lock the focus, change the angle, zoom in, zoom out. All the usual tricks I’ve tried a million times with slow shutter.
It wasn’t until I stopped and really took notice of each individual flower that a plan began to form. “I wonder what it would feel like to be a flower out of water?” I asked myself. I tried a variety of individual flowers, placing them very obviously outside of the tarnished vase that I grabbed from my collection under the sink.
After I had cataloged them all, my curiosity got the best of me as I pondered the idea of flowers outside their vases. I wondered what it would look like to have a grouping of flowers, but instead of a bouquet, maybe they would stack on top of the vase?
After several turns and rearrangements, I ended up with my favorite image from the play session.
Even though the flowers were past their prime, they still worked as a muse to foster some creativity and get me out working with my camera again. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration in an unconventional subject, too?
Still finding my muses – Angie