January can be a gloomy month. The excitement of Christmas is over and New Year celebrations done and dusted. The days are dark, the nights long. It can be difficult to feel enthused about even your favourite hobby.
Well how about a recipe to get your creative juices flowing and add a touch of spring to your home while you're at it.
This is a calla lily that you can buy as a plant really cheaply in any supermarket. The only other equipment you need is a little LED torch and a windowsill.
And your camera of course.
For this effect, shine the torch light up through the plant so that it makes the funnel of the flower glow slightly. In this way the plant acts as a diffuser so the light isn't too harsh.
Set your camera to aperture priority and dial in a nice wide aperture. This gives a small depth of field which means only a small amount of the picture is in focus to give a dreamy ethereal quality. With not much light you may find you have to use a higher ISO to get a reasonable shutter speed. I used an ISO of 1600 here. A little bit of grain is not a problem for this kind of image, but you can reduce it in your photo editor if you wish.
Take a shot with Auto Focus first then switch to manual and try focusing on slightly different spots.
It's worth taking quite a few shots but take care to be clear on your intentions with each one. You don't want to have to look through 100 shots with many identical one's because you got trigger happy :-)
The final part of the process is to process your shots in your photo editor.
If you have been clear about your aims, you won't need to do very much. In this case some cropping may be necessary to make the best of the composition and levels adjustment to lighten the image.
Adjustments in levels are very easy and my got to tool for exposure and lightness alterations. To lighten your picture, move the dark output slider towards the middle. You can make further adjustments with the midtone input slider.
Don't forget to print it up to brighten all your January days.