Geekgirl Photo: The Art of Tea


Artisans share their TeawareArt.

beautiful photographs geek

Postby bonjiri » May 31st, '09, 21:15

GG

aloha !

beautiful photographs !

very intimate view of matcha !

keep them coming !
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Postby geeber1 » May 31st, '09, 22:35

GeekGirl, your photos are beautiful! They not only document your tea journey but really show us the emotions involved in the process as well. If I were a tea vendor, I would certainly hire you for product shots!
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Postby Salsero » Jun 1st, '09, 00:12

Great work as always, Geekgirl. Congratulations.


More pix, pls. :lol:
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Postby Tead Off » Jun 1st, '09, 11:48

Geek, love the poppet shots :lol:

Product photography is not easy. The technical mastery is significant and most of it is shot with large format.

I preferred the first shot of the matcha can with shallow depth of field. It works for me. The other shot pales in comparison. First thought, best thought.

I think you and Cory should pay a visit to Coloradopu for some photography lessons!! :lol:

Pu, your pots are better than your pics. Carry on!!

Thanks to Geek and Chip for the thread.
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Postby Mrs. Chip » Jun 1st, '09, 11:51

Salsero wrote: Great work as always, Geekgirl. Congratulations.
More pix, pls. :lol:

I agree with Sal, Geekgirl.

I have been admiring your photos for months now and they are fabulous. It is obvious that you love what you do and because of your awesome gift of 'an eye for it', your photos just pop off these pages screaming for attention!

From composition to color to lighting, everything just flows together to create one great piece of TeaArt for us to behold! I especially love it when your poppets are included, their coy 'bizarreness' adds such flavor 8) .

Please keep entertaining us and I really enjoy your commentary on your pix! Helps me to focus on your meaning behind the photo.
.
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 1st, '09, 14:34

Thanks folks, thank you Chip for the invite. Regarding the "beach" photo, one of the little hobbies I enjoy is toy photography, especially telling a story. When I took this shot, I was thinking, here I am drinking matcha everyday. Small household residents would be naturally curious. And being childlike, they would probably "investigate" when I wasn't keeping an eye on them. They are too small to hold the whisk and the chashaku, so what a MESS that would make. ;)

My brain = other peoples' brains on drugs. :lol:

Riene: you should try matcha, it's yummy. :) I'm glad to hear you say that, it makes me smile when people want to try a new tea after looking at my photos.

bonjiri wrote: very intimate view of matcha !


Thanks cory, for the comments on my photos. Folks, cory is one of our members whose photography I aspire to. If you haven't looked at his flickr stream, I highly recommend you do.

geeber, thanks. When chip asked me to put up a thread in this section, I felt a little hesitant, because seriously, there's some photographic talent around here. But it occurred to me that photography is as much of a journey as the tea experience itself, and I thought it would be interesting to share some thoughts on mood and intention, as well as some of the technical details.

Sal: more pix coming up! But thank you for inspiration. Before seeing your daily tea-photo, I was struggling with flowers and landscapes, trying to understand why I wasn't making much progress in image quality. I never thought to use still-life photography to learn the basic and more advanced concepts.

Tead: I love the poppet shots too! :lol: Gotta keep it (mostly) tea stuff though. Ha! Thanks for the thumbs up on the first product photo. I liked it the best, but it is definitely more "product" than mood. If I did it again, I'd move the DOF up to f11 to make sure I got the face of the two forward tins razor sharp.

(Also, poor colo - must you tease him so? lol!)

Mrs. Chip: Thank you! hmmm... yes that's my m.o. - sweet, but a little creepy. teehee!

Seriously all, thanks for the nice words, it means a great deal to me. :oops:
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 1st, '09, 19:16

A lot of my photo learning has been about learning to select the right image out of a series, and then learning to process it correctly. The following two are an example of such. These two were taken at the same time, in a set of 3-4 shots. When I first processed these, I chose the first image, and edited to the best of my ability.

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I've since been going back through and doing a "reboot" on several of my favorite images, as well as reevaluating some of my "rejects." This second one was better on all fronts: crop, angle and lighting. So what was I thinking with the first? I don't know, it's all part of the learning process.

saucy
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Re-edits don't always turn out well. The learning curve means, naturally, that you will try lots of new things, and many of them won't work out. Potters and painters know exactly what I mean. But sometimes it works, and sometimes it's magical.

take me to the moon while we still have time
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Postby Seeker » Jun 1st, '09, 20:49

Oh my god geekgirl!!! I just found this topic, and I am so very moved by your photos. They scream art to me, and each moves me, more deeply than I might have expected.
In your June 1st posting of product shots, the 3rd one with the purple flowers, is that a Seigan chawan - kind of reminds me that way.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos/creations.
The close shot of the chasen with the bit of matcha on the middle part - just touches me.
grateful.
peace.
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 1st, '09, 21:22

TomVerlain wrote:great pics .....

Funny, my first "real" camera was a minolta SRT-101. A real classic camera for those with Nikon dreams and japanese budgets.


Yep, 1966, and ahead of its time with its Contrast Light Metering, at least 6 years before Nikon managed to do the same thing. Both of my Minoltas also have a fantastic viewfinder with a split prism for focusing. I just had the XE-7 (1973) overhauled, and plan to do the same with the SRT-101. It needs new seals, and a CLA. Fantastic cameras, very little plastic. They'll be shooting 50 years after my digitals are unusable and obsolete.

Seeker: thanks so much! :oops: The chawan you reference is Seigan. It was called "seigan green" listing, which I can only guess was maybe a transitional glaze between his "seigan blue" and the latest "sea cucumber" glazes. I only saw it in a few pieces, then it was mysteriously gone. But it's a sweet little bowl.
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 4th, '09, 01:05

Part of the fascination with this art, for me, has been experimenting with style. Presently, I tend to prefer darker, moodier shots, with tinted shadows, and a bit of illumination on the subject. I try to use as much natural light as possible, since it's warmer and directional. Lately I've been experimenting with reflectors. My main reflector is really "ghetto," a foil covered chess board. :lol: It works though, quite well!

One of the biggest changes for me was purchasing software that allowed me to still be a photoshop luddite, yet be able to make color and light changes to my images. (Adobe Lightroom 2.0) Since I'm still in the steeper part of the learning bellcurve, sometimes this has unfortunate results, and I compulsively manipulate an image "to death." Mostly though, it has helped. Here are a couple of examples:

The first is a qingbai (singing) cup containing a very light high mt oolong. The intention with the image was to have the cup highlighted and everything else in sillhouette. Light is coming in from the window, and was creating a glow on the surface of the tea. This image was taken nearly a year ago, and I've learned a lot since then. If I did this shot again, I would have taken a longer exposure, and repositioned the table so that the entire background was light.

The first image is color corrected/cropped only.

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The second version has been color corrected/cropped, then toned and adjusted for contrast. The yellows are enhanced, and a little directional brightening has been applied. These edits, while bringing the photo closer to what was in my head at the time, have really highlighted the technical difficulties with the background. The sillhouette of the dragon is not as impactful, though the tiny teacup is better displayed.

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In some cases, the editing goes too far, in some kind of photoshop channeling of a Joan Rivers face-lift. See below:

before:
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after:
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What was I thinking??!!! Well, I did have a reason for this edit. Again, a photo from about a year ago. There are multiple problems here - the biggest being that the surface the cup is placed upon is too textural, and the color doesn't do anything for the image. Secondary issues are light falloff on the left side of the image, and placement of the brass sculpture in the background. My thought was to correct the biggest problem - the fabric texture, as well as darken and warm the color.

Instead what I got was a photo of something Bill the Vampire would use for drinking his TruBlood.

Learning curves...
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 4th, '09, 01:09

And, lest I become too pedantic: Less words, more pictures...


An-ti-ci-paaaaaa-tion...
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This was a delicious shi ru xiang, first image is after the rinse, second is brewed.
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Long Jing, "Dragonwell."
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Postby Chip » Jun 4th, '09, 01:48

Thank you for sharing your art and artMind with us, Geek. It is a great read ... :D
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 7th, '09, 20:03

The great thing about shooting as a hobby and not as a job is that I can take a break for a few days, and do nothing... or shoot as inspiration strikes.

It struck.

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the crow wished everything was black; the owl, that everything was white
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everything is coming up green
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Last edited by Geekgirl on Jun 7th, '09, 21:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Herb_Master » Jun 7th, '09, 21:18

GeekgirlUnveiled wrote:before:
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Do you use really strong studio lighting, it looks like the glaze is melting :D :D :wink: :wink: :wink:
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