Day 37: Cactus Bloom

by Ivan Steenkamp February. 08, 2017 850 views

One of my brothers loves growing plants. He especially likes to grow cacti that produce fruit. Tonight he went up to his plastic house to check if it had bloomed yet, and it had! The flower only stays open for one night, so it was pretty special to photograph it. 

My main focus was to get good lighting. I had a speed-light ready, so I put it on the camera and aimed it at the roof to get nice soft bounce light. I had to compensate the flash power to get rid of the ugly ambient light (yellow incandescent bulbs). To do that I turned down my ISO to 100. I also used a fast shutter-speed of 1/125 sec. Then I adjusted the power of my flash to get the best light I could get!

A gaint white cactus flower in full bloom on a small cactus in a plastic plant put. a grey curtain is out of focus behind it.

My brother was very exited to show me his cactus flower. It only lasts for one night!

In the excitement I forgot to use my prime lens and I ended up with everything in focus. I do not want that for this photo! So, I went into Photoshop and used the Analog Efex Pro plugin to create artificial bokeh. I also added some grain to make it a bit more realistic.

TIP: If you don't have a speed-light or you have one that doesn't have a turning head, and you still want/need to use bounce flash there is a hack! Use a opaque piece of white paper (I use an envelope or postcard) and angle in front of the pop up flash or speed-light, so that the light gets bounced up at the ceiling or to the wall. Hey, presto! 


Good luck on all your photo projects!


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