Thanksgiving Cactus | Flickr

July 3, 2013 – 02:51 pm

Lighting ExperimentUsing the D200 and on-camera flash (at right), the SB800 as a remote flash (lower left) and the Nissin Di866 just left of top center. Cactus on a table with white newsprint behind it to produce a white background.

It took a lot of trying various things to get to this point. The on-camera flash and the SB800 were lighting the flowers. The Di866 was lighting the background paper to try to get it white. When the Di866 power was insufficient, the background came out grey.

Lighting Experiment

The Di866 also spilled light onto the plant, increasing the illumination of the foliage, so I put a card on the side to shade the plant and direct the light to the background paper. Enough light came off the paper and bounced around the room to light the whole plant.

I started out trying the Nikon CLS, using spot metering. When I did that and tried to adjust the power on the various lights, they all interacted, and it when I lit the background more, the camera dropped the exposure on the flowers and they came out dull. So I finally switched to manual on the flashes.

When it was enough to make the background white (basically blowing out the luminance channel), it also lit up the foliage, which distracted from the flowers.

I finally wound up taking two pictures, one with the dark foliage, and one with the white background and combining them in Photoshop. Basically the white background picture is on the top layer and the dark foliage picture is underneath. I then just erased the bright foliage from the top layer and got the dark foliage underneath. Could be better, but it's just a learning experiment.


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Sounds like you will be traveling...

I suggest you have a live flower sent to their home to arrive just before you get there... something like an azalea or a Thanksgiving cactus plant, or a Christmas Cactus plant.
While there, I recommend you be very active in helping prepare meals, serve and clean up after the meals.
Offer to do things like peeling the potatoes, set the table, etc.
Since you are going to be there for 4 days, offer to run the vacuum before guests arrive, etc.
Offer to make quick trips to the grocery store as you see the need.
If there are children in the family, help entertain the children to give their parents a break

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