Hi art friends. Today’s post is the third in the Kenko extension tube kit series. I took a bunch of photos of a mini bouquet ($15 bucks at Ballard Market) in my still life setup, which has now moved to the other bookcase, giving me more space to move around.

For this series, I am shooting with my Canon Rebel T1i and 50 mm lens with all three Kenko extension tubes, giving me a 110 mm lens. Most of these were shot on the tripod, but I had to try holding my camera for a few shots. One of the handheld images is in this set.

It is going to take me a lot of practice shooting at this level of detail. Thankfully, the first two tests stood me in good stead for this shoot. It is very difficult to get the flower in focus. The tiniest movement change the entire image. But the blur is so delicious.

The photos were shot in raw on manual: auto ISO at 1.8 and 1/30. In Lightroom, I made some minor adjustments to exposure, contrast, whites, blacks and shadows. Once I got the look I liked, I applied mostly Still Stories presents, but I also used Carnival. I processed six of the roughly 50 photos I took. At this scale, a lot of the photos that looked in focus in camera were not so focused onscreen. Sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn’t.

As I looked at the images in Light Room, I immediately wanted to see how these looked with grungy layers. I created several but am presenting my favorites of the batch. This post is not showing the straight photos because I really liked the grungy version.

In Photoshop, all the images were processed the same way: the background layer was duplicated and run through Unsharp Mask, adjusting the level for each one. Sometimes an extreme unsharp mask looked good, other times, it created an unattrative blue halo. This layer was duplicated and run through High Pass, again, adjusting the intensity to suit each bloom.

I used a variety of 2 Lil Owls Studio overlays. Most were from Still Stories, but I also used Black Film 2 and Beaufort.

This bouquet has a lovely variety of small blooms in yellows, reds and oranges: rose buds, Gerbera daisy, some kind of branches with what looked like tiny olives, marigolds (I think), tiny sunflowers. All of the blooms are 2″ or smaller. This level of detail really takes the flowers toward the abstract with the colors, patterns and that delicious blur.

The first image is a marigold center, I think. I just love the angle and blur of the flower. Shot on the trip.

“Yellow flower center”

The second image isa yellow rose. Shot on the tripod. My favorite rose image of the bunch, in terms of composition, had some hot spots on the petal tips that I just couldn’t overcome. This is my second favorite rose image.

“Yellow Rose”

The third is my favorite of the bunch of the tiny sunflowers. This is the most successful of the handheld images. I really love the blur of the petals and the slight bokeh of the flower center. It’s murky and delicious, like a dream.


I’m feeling more confident about shooting at this setting and am really looking forward to going out to the front of our condo to shoot the lavender and other cute little blooms around the grounds.

Now that I’ve experimented with the extension tubes, I will dig into the Tiny Details lessons. I’m so excited to see where these 2 Lil Owls Studio classes will take my photography.

Expect the next post, when you see it. It could be anything!

Happy creating!