What It Takes..
On the left, my photo. Granted, with my mobile phone, but it’s the best I have available to me. It’s in the same place, and against the same background, and with nearly the same lighting, as the one on the right, taken by Bernard.
In Bernard’s version, the colours are brighter, warmer, the crevices and shadows are reduced or enhanced in different places to bring out the details in the various elements, and the placement of the highlights on the glass was carefully tweaked and managed to ensure that the shape of the dome was brought out without any odd little bright spots in the wrong place. The highlights even bracket the embroidery, framing and presenting it.
And now you see what it took. Lighting and diffusers, and then a whole slew of little improvised mirrors and reflectors, including one held in Bernard’s hand while he operates the camera with the other one.
We all say that embroidery is hard to photograph, but in truth, until you’ve seen the effort that an experienced professional photographer will put in to get a good shot, you have no idea just how hard!
And all this tells me something else – part of the trick is that, with a lifetime of doing this behind him, Bernard can look through a view finder and think, no, we can do better. I would be impressed from the start, and give up too early, not because I don’t want to achieve a good result, but because I’ve no idea just how good a Good Result can be, and still less of an idea of how to attain it.
But incidentally – I’m so glad I tinted the base of the dome. That dark, vaguely walnut shade works much better than the plain pine!