New Gallery: Withering Tulips

We had a bouquet of deep red and pale white-pink tulips at home, and as they withered, I was fascinated by the transformation of their plainly visible beauty into something more abstract, deeper, and more interesting. You can find the series of 9 photos here: Withering Tulips (or simply click on the image above).
Photo of withering tulips
I made these photos a little more than two year ago, in February 2012. I used our living room as my “studio” – there’s two windows facing about east, and the bright afternoon sun gets bounced into it indirectly, off of the neighboring building, resulting in a soft, quite even light. I used an old bed sheet as a white background, and with a macro lens on the camera, I circled around the bouquet for an hour, making about 70 exposures.

After I imported the photos into Lightroom they sat there. I tried various approaches of processing them to bring out what I saw in them, but somehow, the images were too clean, too sharp, almost too perfect. The appearance just didn’t match the subject, and I couldn’t find a way to get it to look “right”. So I just left the images there, thinking that if I’d just leave them be for a while I would find a way to process them. Every now and then I played with them a little bit (I’m using Lightroom’s “Quick Collection” as a sort of “reminder”, putting just one image of an entire folder or set of photos there so that I’ll occasionally stumble over them) but made no advances.

When I recently stumbled over the set of photos again, I remembered that Nik Software had added a new plugin “Analog Efex” to their Nik Collection plugin bundle. Now, I must admit that I’m generally not a friend of textures, artificially “aging” digital photos, and all that. In this case however, combining them with textures of old film plates and scratches felt like a natural thing to do, and it is finally a look and feel for these tulip photos that works for me.

I had a selection of six or seven picks for the longest time time already, and once I had found this way of processing them to my liking, I found two more that I liked enough to include them in the final selection of the nine photos that are in the series now. And after that, it was easy to delete the remaining photos that didn’t make the cut, and put the project to rest, at last. Finished. Feels good. I hope you like the result.

5 Responses

  1. I love the result. I must have dozens of images just waiting for a solution on how to work them. As I was reading this I kind of chuckled to myself thinking “I wonder if Analog Efx could do this,” but no, Alex doesn’t like AFX. I was quite surprised when you revealed your solution.

  2. Love your withering tulips – I have done a series of photos of Wilting Lilies – dried orchids and dried leaves – using Nik’s many filters. I also use my living room as a studio for photographing.

    1. I had a brief look at your site – wow, those are spectacular, I love them! I’ll have to go back and browse your images more thoroughly. Thanks for stopping by & commenting!

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