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  • How'd They Do That? :: Beauty For A Day

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    Beauty For A Day
    by FranziskaLang


    For transparency, I decided to 'play' with the distortion created by viewing an object through a round water-filled vase. After trying a whole set of different objects, I settled on two day-lilies that were blooming outside my house that day.

    To get the vase positioned in front of the flowers (and without cutting down the flowers), I used quite a precarious set-up (I always seem to do that, I broke a glass bowl the night before) consisting of two stacked empty CD shelves and a couple of games topped by the vase .



    I then positioned my camera (on the tripod) so that the distorted flowers peeking out at each side behind the vase filled the frame. I left just a little bit more room than I thought I needed around the edges so that I could crop and/or straighten the photo if required. Here is one of the photos that I took:



    The reflections in the glass were very distracting, and have this thing for plain backgrounds, especially for those shots that are a little more abstract, so I started using the timer on my camera, and held a large piece of white cardboard behind the flower to get the white background.

    Here is the original (unprocessed, other than resizing) photo that I finally chose:



    I imported the photo into Ulead PhotoImpact, straightened and cropped it. After that, I spent a considerable amount of time increasing the brightness (to get the white background), as well as the contrast and gamma. After that, I resized, sharpened, and saved as close to the allowed 150k file size as possible. While I wasn't able to achieve a totally white background (or get rid of the reflection altogether by using the white background while photographing), I got pretty close in my final version:



    I also considered entering the variation below which I felt was technically a little better, but too busy.



    In total, I probably took close to 100 shots (in batches, uploading some, checking them, making the appropriate adjustments, taking another batch, uploading them ... you get the picture). I spent pretty much a whole afternoon on this (including post-processing).


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