Frame Works? Monet-ish

Description:  Late-spring flowers in a vase, window and incandescent light 

Background:  Since my eighth-grade French class, I have admired impressionist paintings. Alongside pictures of famous chateaux, many of which I’ve since visited, there were posters of works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Degas. Of all those poster images, Monet’s water lilies resonated the strongest. I was primed for this encounter by having spent a lot of nerdy time reading encyclopedia volumes during the library period built into my daily class schedule. The World Book Encyclopedia had an extensive section on paintings that was full of pictures, and it was there I first read about Impressionism.  

After looking at somber Rembrandts, such as The Night Watch, the light and color of impressionist works were refreshing, like moving from mourning to celebration. Even faded from sunlight coming through the classroom window, they were beautiful and somehow still vibrant. Since those days, I have been blessed to visit the National Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, Prado, Louvre, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, High Museum here in Atlanta, and others I can’t recall at the moment. Each time, I went looking for their impressionist offerings. The colors and light of Impressionism have influenced both my garden colors and what I aspire to in photography.  

In May 2020, I decided to start developing color at home. Not wanting to waste expensive film, I bought expired Fuji Color 100 film (less than three dollars per roll). I decided to use a Maxxum 70 camera–it’s lightweight with many advanced features–then went looking around the house for subjects. On a table abutted by a wall of windows facing due south was this vase of flowers. I had walked past it a few times, admiring it as I passed but never giving any thought to it as a subject. This day, I needed to shoot something quickly because I was eager to develop my first roll of color film!  

While usually ample, the window light dropped off quickly because of an overcast sky. I wanted a shot of the flower closest to me, which was away from the window, and in low light. I metered on it using the spot metering capability of Maxxum 70. The shutter speed was about 1/60 or less. I wish I could take full credit for the final shot, but motion blur definitely played a key role.  

Technical: Minolta Maxxum 70, Minolta Maxxum 100mm f2.8 Macro, Fuji Color 100 (expired 2010), window plus incandescent light, aperture priority, f2.8, developed with CineStill Color Kit, home scanned

Frame Works?: Yes!!! I was amazed at how well the colors worked. The indoor lighting added a warm glow to the nearest flower, while the window light removed shadows from those further back. The bouquet’s softness is just right–my motion slightly blurs the foremost flower, the intended subject, and the large aperture blurs the rest. Eagerness and poor light led to an image I love! 

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