Saturday, September 25, 2010

Idiot-Proof Scanner Photography

For all those poor souls who, like me, sadly have the artistic ability of a donkey no matter what the canvas, I've got to show my first results with a new technique; using a computer and scanner to create collages with my garden bounty.


I became aware of scanner photography through the GardeningGoneWild Bloom Challenge website which had wonderful examples and was itself linked to a blog containing the works of photographer David Perry titled A Photographer's Garden Blog.  The breadth of possibilities and expression demonstrated on Perry's blog inflamed my obsessive-compulsive nature and, although pausing for supper, I spent the evening after my discovery choosing flowers and vegetation and trying the technique out my home scanner, and after a little photo editing, I created, among many others, the images here.


You've just got to try this technique out.  To get started, you need only a computer, scanner, and some garden material and after that, the sky is the limit.  Literally.  As far as tips go, I've already got a few from my brief experience:

a)  Use only perfect blooms and foliage;  the scanner will pick up every little imperfection.
b)  Keep the scanner surface perfectly dust- and streak-free.  Again, any defect will mar the final picture.
c) The only perfectly focused items will be right on the scanner surface. Items and blooms even slightly off the surface quickly lose focus.
d)  For pictures without a background, keep the room lights off and do the scanning at night to get a background that a little photo manipulation will turn to seamless black.
e)  You can try colored or patterned backgrounds, but in practice, I found it tough to make the textures of these backgrounds fit the pictures.
f) The photo editing software need not be sophisticated, but you will need some editing capability.  I used Microsoft Office Picture Manager for these pictures.


Give it a shot;  you'll amaze yourself and stun the friends and family who've given up on ever seeing your artsy side!

8 comments:

  1. You make it look so easy! Now I'm going to have to try it. The trick in my garden will be to find flowers that are perfect. I KNOW I can find a leaf or two, though. Thanks for the tip!

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  2. It is easy! At least to get a semi-good result. I've done a shorter session since and picked better shape flowers. Still playing with the settings, but it looks like 300 DPI makes a fine photo. If I was going to do this full time, I'd certainly get some different things to weight the flowers down so the centers stayed in focus and I'd buy a bunch of different cloth for backgrounds.

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  3. I'm so glad you found this technique so satisfying. Counting on you to enter the GGW Picture This contest.

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  4. Hi Prof Roush, Those pictures are awesome! Thank you for sharing. It would mean flattening the flowers and throwing the petals away right? But it's still worth it. Shall give it a try.

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  5. I've been playing with this ever since they first made the challenge. You are so right, it is a LOT of fun. I like your comment that it is just right for the OCD -- I spend a lot of time tweaking the arrangements to get them "just right".

    I really like the grass image up there.

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  6. Thanks. I've had others tell me they like the grass image; personally, it doesn't do a lot for me...I'm into the rose collages....but to each his own.

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  7. I just stumbled upon this very fun and creative outlet, as well, after visiting the GGW blog. Your OCD comment made me laugh! I could barely stop to eat I got so consumed with getting the perfect arrangement, then running out to my garden to get just a few more blooms to fill this or that spot and tweaking yet a little bit more. The possibilities are endless! I want to tell everyone about it (and I did on my blog). I entered my "photo" in the latest Picture This contest on GGW, but I know it is just a first attempt and I've got a ways to go with my technique. But I feel like I've already won because I managed to get it uploaded to the website and entered in the contest. As a brand-new blogger, every little baby step is a victory :-)

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