Still Life is a photographic genre way outside of my list of fun photography, and I only came to enter a few photos in the July competition out of a need to fill two entry spots. One morning I was sitting on the veranda drinking my coffee when I noticed an ornamental baobab being beautifully lit by sunlight. It took me back to being in the bush and taking photographs of baobabs at sunrise or sunset. So I hatched a plan, there and then, to make a diorama that I could possibly enter in the MPS monthly competition.
I placed a small table on the lawn, equidistant between the hedge and my position. I covered the table with sand from the sand pit and put the ornamental baobab on top of the sand and then set about selecting some pebbles; small and large of different shades. I arranged the rocks to look like the granite balancing rocks and outcrops found in Matopos and other national parks around Zimbabwe.
The next morning I was up early to wait for the sun to fall upon my still life scene. I mounted my camera on a sturdy tripod and adjusted the height to eye level with the table. I was far enough back to throw the dark green hedge in the background seriously out of focus. I tried different plastic animals in the foreground but they looked cheap and kitsch. The sun falling on the rocks and branches was excellent, so I opted for the “less is more” approach.
Post Production: I darkened the background by adding contrast, which also pumped up the colour slightly. I added a touch of sharpening and cloned out unwanted shadows on some of the rocks.
Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Lens: Canon 100mm F /2.8 L
Aperture Priority: ISO 100 1/3rd step under exposed
No flash Speed 1/329th sec
Focal length: 100mm
Image stabiliser: OFF
This photograph was originally featured in “PictureMaker”, the Mashonaland Photographic Society’s monthly newsletter.