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Signs of life | by jcoterhals
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Signs of life

All summer I've been looking at a small and rather sad flower trying to break out from the asphalt in my driveway and create a life for itself underneath my doorstep. It's been stepped on, ignored and abused from the day we first saw it, but it hangs on. I've been meaning to photograph it, but it've slipped my mind until today. That's when I saw hobbel's great photo "Nothing like a petal in a rainstorm". So sorry hobbel: But I've sort of plagiarized your idea.


Still - I had two problems with this flower. 1) The light was dull and lifeless and 2) I had to get enough of its surroundings to show how small it was, but when I did that most of the picture consisted of empty concrete.


Enter flash. I set a flash on ground level about 2,5 meters to the right here. I had gelled it with a CTO filter which gives the flash a warm, orange glow. Fiddled around with the white balance until the colors reminded me of sunset. Placing the flash this far away has a nice side effect: The shadows created becomes hard with defined edges. In other words: It's a nice emulation of a low-hanging evening sun.


The best part: The shadow stretched over into the dull, concrete-only part and helped stretch the flower over the entire width of the photo.


Camera set to aperture priority f/5.0, ISO 1600 (had to do this handheld and needed at least 1/100 shutter speed because I used a 150mm lens). Flash was set to ETTL (fully automatic), no exposure compensation.


In the end I had a photo suitable for this week's Twitter Photo Challenge: "Growth of the soil" (which also is a well known novel by the author Knut Hamsun).

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Taken on September 12, 2009