Purple Passion(flower)

These passionflower photographs are the result of an afternoon spent playing with a stem of the plant in my studio.

I photographed the flower and leaves to show their translucence. This makes the tiny veins in the petals and leaves stand out and gives a very crisp, sharp look to the photograph.

The colour changes a bit too. When seen under normal lighting (i.e. lit from the front or above), this passionflower is a soft pinky-purple. Here, though, the light from behind has bleached out the petal colours considerably and you can see more pink and red tones rather than the normal purple.

My setup for photographing flowers against a white background is fairly straightforward. I use a mini ‘shooting table’. Basically this is a sheet of translucent perspex on a metal frame. It’s bent into an ‘L’ shape (seen side-on). That gives both a background and a base for the photograph.

Because the shooting-table is translucent, you can shine studio lights through it. This gives a bright white background.

If you set the light levels so that there is a lot of light coming from behind the flower (in comparison to the light coming from the front), then you’ll get the maximum amount of detail in the veins of the petals.

To light the flowers from the front, I usually use two large studio flashes (strobes). One of these is fitted with a large, square softbox, which gives a very soft and even light. But the size of the softbox is more than a little awkward in my very small studio space!

The other light is fitted with a white (translucent) shoot-through brolly. The light from this is not as soft as that from the softbox, so it introduces a bit more shadow. This gives a bit more depth and modelling to the photograph.

If I want to have stronger shadows and a more dramatic feel to the image, I’ll use just the light with the brolly and leave out the light with the softbox. A reflector opposite the light is enough to put just a little light into the shadows.

By the way, if anyone knows the name of this particular passionflower, then please tell me! I’ve been wondering about it because it was labelled ‘Amethyst’, but Amethyst usually has a ring of purple filaments, instead of the white that this flower has. I’m intrigued and would love to know the correct name!

Passionflower ‘Amethyst’ or something else?

14 thoughts on “Purple Passion(flower)

  1. I like this combination of pink and green. It’s not as ‘sweet’ as some pinks, particularly, and is very attractive. I did have to look up ‘brolly’ — didn’t have a clue what that was, but now I know.

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    1. LOL, that’s the problem about writing for the web – you don’t realise what words are unknown outside your own country! 🙂

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    1. Thanks Indira! I really like my set-up but I do wish I had a bit more space for it in my room. Less ‘stuff’ in there would help, but I need to have my things for printmaking etc there too.

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  2. These are stunning (almost Victorian botanical) shots of a very unusual plant. sorry I don’t know the name, but I rather fancy a white passion flower! I love your photo shoot set up.

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    1. Thanks Jude! I like the comparison with the Victorian botanical images, especially as I’m planning to use some of the pictures of the flower and leaves as a source for some printmaking later in the year. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Jill! I’ve begun to see that there are a lot more varieties of passionflower than I had realised and many look quite similar. I’ve spent a bit of time on Google’s image search and I reckon it must be Passiflora x violacea ‘Victoria’. I hadn’t heard of this one before, although it’s been around for a long time. (But, coming from Scotland, passionflowers are a relatively recent thing for me anyway. 🙂 )

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    1. It’s an easy enough setup to use – especially with digital. Most of my years of photography were with film – seems dinosaur-like now! (And I still have several film cameras but I can’t ever imagine going back to film, so should really get rid of them somehow…) Anyway, I think you would enjoy playing about with a setup like this. 🙂

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      1. I must go and read that post, Syd, because that’s something I want to do. I have Mamiya 645 lenses, including a macro, that I want to use on my digital camera. Thanks for the link! 🙂

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