all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray part 1

# 8147

# 8147

To be more accurate, some are yellow, green and orange but I like the lyric for the title.  But the sky was gray when I shot these leaves.  A dark gray.  It was raining in Webster (Where Life is Worth Living) and I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get the shots of foliage that I wanted.  I wanted the low sun shining through the leaves in the trees.  Since there was no sun, I walked through the park and gathered leaves that I liked and took them home.  I cleaned them in water and sorted them out.  I left them in room temperature water in a stainless steel bowl (don’t tell Mickey) while I set up the “studio” which consisted of a lightbox made from an old x-ray viewer that I bought for $5 US and the camera with the macro lens on a tripod.  The location of the studio was the living room but I was alone for two days and I felt I could shoot one day and clean up the mess the second day and no one would be the wiser.  I shot each leaf individually on the light box.  Each one looked great on the LCD panel on the back of the camera but when I looked at them in LR5 I could see every defect and flaw on the surface of the lightbox.  It was easy but time consuming to clone them out but the leaves looked pretty nice.  Emo kept me company all the time and, as a reward, got a little extra Gerber Turkey Baby Food (say that 5 times really fast) for a treat that night.

This is the first of a two part post.  Stay tuned for part 2.  Click on any photo to enter the gallery:


20 thoughts on “all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray part 1

    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Mel. Originally, all the stems were at the bottom of each photo. I did this intentionally because it made arranging the leaves on the lightbox easier. I did rotations in post. I guess I’m lazy.

  1. LensScaper

    My wife has just asked me why I am talking gibberish. My reply that I was reciting ‘Gerber Turkey baby Food” got a very strange look! That aside: a wonderful gallery and an idea that will probably see me hunting for my lightbox which is ‘somewhere’ unless my wife moved it ‘somewhere else’. You could easily illustrate a book on tree identification using this concept, seriously.

    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Andy. I think there must be thousands of photos one can take to illustrate tree identification using leaves from all different seasons. I certainly would not be qualified to identify various types of trees but there are a lot of resources available today.
      Emo is not “food oriented” so we give him the baby food because it’s good for him and he likes it.

  2. janina

    “shineing’ has no ‘e’ in it!
    Re the lightbox dust marks in Lr5, I guess you’ll really have to clean that box, yes, ken?! Perhaps with some bleach….
    I like the yellow with black background leaf, very elegant! Nice work.

    1. oneowner Post author

      I apologize for the error in spelling. My proof reader was sleeping at the time of the post.
      It will take more than bleach to fix the light box. It’s not dirty at all, just scratched up from years of use.

      1. Michele

        Your spell checker must be busy cleaning up the evidence of your “home alone” crimes, and may soon be going on strike. I have this on very good authority. And by the way, Emo has seen “The Third Man” too many times to be relied upon. Is that zither music I hear?

  3. ehpem

    I have been contemplating a light box for some time now – waiting for the right bit of junk to come into view. I sometimes shoot against a black velvet cloth (it came with my ~1910 4×5) – I spend quite a bit of time cloning out the white dust and cat hairs (impossible to get rid of all of them before shooting), so I feel you pain, and the work involved.

    But the work is worth it, as this shows. I too was admiring the orientation of the stems (all but one of them), but as usual MGH beat me to the comment. What kind of light source is in the box, and what did you use above it? I have been thinking it must be possible to use natural light – with a white surface in the box, or a mirror and one open end to put next to a window. But, I know usually they have lights in them. So, balancing the light sources in and out of the box seems tricky, unless they are the same kind of bulb.

    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, ehpem. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what the light source is. I purchased the box in the late 1980’s at work and have never had to replace the bulbs. But my guess is that it’s fluorescent tubes inside. I made no color balance adjustment in camera and the auto-white balance worked fine. I did have to tweek the color balance in LR5 to get the pure white but it was easy enough to do by making a preset and applying it to all the photos at one time. The 13×16 inch size is nice for a project like this, too. I suggest if you do make a box put some thought into making it ovesized. You won’t regret it later. I once made a smaller one with a 100w bulb in it that was fine for viewing slides and negs but it didn’t have good uniformity edge to edge.

      1. ehpem

        Thanks Ken. They often seem to have fluorescents in them. I want something portable, possibly even battery operated, for an upcoming project to document private collections of stone tools. I am thinking LEDs might be the way to go, but have done almost no research so far. I think a high quality ground glass top is probably a good idea, though not so portable as, say, a white plexiglass top.

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