Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Runner up, Practical Photography Photographer of the Year 2011

Allium Seedhead
Runner up, Practical Photography Photographer of the Year 2011, Flora and Fauna round

I'm pleased to have won a runner up prize in the Flora and Fauna round of the Practica Photography POTY competition. I took this image a few weeks ago with the competition in mind. Allium seed heads are a great subject, I love the dynamic graphic form - the kind of subject that inspires Angie Lewin's wonderful printwork.

I photoraphed some fennel heads last year and found they worked far better in negative than positive, the interesting part being that they didn't appear to be negative at all. This was in part due to me using my dark coat as a dark backdrop to the well lit subject. When changed to negative my coat reversed to a bright background which worked better with fine (now dark) detail of the plant.

However, when I reversed the Allium the result was quite different, it didn't really work. My next step was to experiment with the blending modes using layers for the negative and positive versions in photoshop. When set to 'lighten' only the highlights from the negative show in the combined image. This creates a kind of solarization and made the Allium seeds look more like the moist sticky bobbles reminiscent of those on Honeydew plants.

Having recently flung my graduated filter holder into the harbour at Honfleur (fumbled is a more accurate description) it should prove relatively easy to spend the prize money!