Still Life with Pinecones

A study in texture . . .

 

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I think pinecones are gorgeous and intriguing with all their layers and woodiness and secret dark places. For this shoot I figured out my lighting and background textures fairly quickly, while composition was a struggle.

Since my last still life was dark and moody, I wanted a lighter feel for this one—though not necessarily bright and cheerful. I started off with a piece of pine board that has a light whitewash. Too light and not textured enough. The wall behind is white that has been allowed to fall to grey.

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You’d think pine board would harmonize nicely with pinecones, but it seemed a bit bland. So I pulled out this old table leaf that had been left outside for who knows how many years—it had been left behind by our home’s former owners, and I had asked my husband not to take it to the dump. It has a very nice weathered texture with lots of lines because it is composed of many small long pieces.

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Tried out a brown fabric background and liked the darkness it introduced:

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This was the lighting setup I settled on. I thought side lighting would add some nice texture, and then I wanted some fill from the opposite side to help fill up some of those nooks and crannies in the pinecones. I added the scrim to soften the light even further. (I like soft light!)

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I’m not quite satisfied with this study—I plan to continue experimenting some different lenses (I used a 105mm for all of these) and compositions.