I’ve started a little artsy-fartsy project for this month, exploring a method I learned of recently called “chiaroscuro”. It was coined during the renaissance.
Definition of Chiaroscuro
Painters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods wanted to engage their viewers. Like the cinematographers of classic Hollywood, they used the play of light and shadow to give life and drama to their images. The word chiaroscuro is Italian for light and shadow. It’s one of the classic techniques used in the works of artists like Rembrandt, da Vinci, and Caravaggio. It refers to the use of light and shadow to create the illusion of light from a specific source shining on the figures and objects in the painting. Along with linear perspective, chiaroscuro was one of the new techniques used by painters of the Renaissance to make their paintings look truly three-dimensional.
Because June has naturally bright sunlight and the shadows that go with it, plus lots of flowers blooming, I am using flowers lit by the sun. Here are a few I’ve done in the past couple of days.
How I got the effect:
I intentionally looked for flowers that were in the sun where the background was shadowy. To make the photos more dramatic I used post processing. First in Raw Therapee (I shoot in Raw) I intentionally recovered as much detail as possible in highlights, keeping them as bright as possible without blowing out details, and darkening the shadows. Then, in the GIMP, I duplicated the image to a second layer then used the multiply blend mode, then adjusted the second layer’s opacity.
Do you ever challenge yourself to a project?
For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Flowers. Seems appropriate, since this is intended to be a Fun Foto project! I’m hoping to learn to use the manual mode on my camera better and test out different post processing methods.
For the past year or so I’ve been studying black and white. Specifically using open-source software (the GIMP and Raw Therapee). It is very interesting to see how different elements catch your eye when you remove color.
Here are a few photos from the past few weeks.
Do you think it still feels like spring with the color removed?
This photo, with two variations shows how you can get different effects. I couldn’t decide which of these two black and whites to choose. In one the flowers stand out more from the background but there isn’t as much emphasis on the design on the petals. What do you think?
I chose this one because it is almost monochrome in green. It’s probably not a fair comparison because the black and white had the background darkened and blurred a bit. Maybe I should go in to the colored one and try to emulate that effect.
I was curious to see what would happen to this photo that doesn’t seem to have much color in it. It was a surprise to see that the black and white feels a bit warmer than the original.
In memorium of Armistice Day, and in appreciation for all veterans for their service.
When we were in England in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, there was a very moving memorial installation based on poppies. It was an amazing work of art, both in the creation of every individual poppy and the very careful placement to get the overall effect.
Someone I met in Shouguang referred to his (many) fellow citizens who fished along the banks of the Mihe as “fish people”. One does not see a lot of catching so, perhaps, it is the act of fishing that is the goal.
One really fun thing to notice when traveling is how people get around. I live in an area where it seems like all the cars look pretty much the same. Here is a gallery of some of the variety I saw while visiting my son recently in a small-ish Chinese city. Click on an image to see it larger.
I really admire how many options people have beyond taking the bus and owning a full size car.