Flowers

Just to Cheer Me Up (Two Photographs)

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Most of Canada is not the frozen north, but I edited these in late March when it was cold, damp and miserable outside. It is now May and the weather only recently improved. I hope things dry up and I can get to the next Tulip festival without the need for a heavy coat or umbrella! Maybe this year I will focus more on the people than the flowers, that would make a bit of a change.


Simple, Not (Two Photographs)

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I have always liked minimalist art and photography, the solitary tree on the hill for example. But the closer I get to things in nature the more complex I realize they are. In photography there is an expression “the photographer’s eye” which is the idea that the photographer captures that instant in time and a subject in a way that is unique to them. With digital photography we may need to revise that definition to reflect the idea that photography goes beyond the capture to the edit. In the same vein as the “photographer’s eye” is the concept that “photographs should speak for themselves”. I wrote about this some time ago and it was misunderstood to mean, and I simplify here, that photos should not be captioned. Photographs speak for themselves when they have artistic or emotional impact and raise interest and thought. But we all speak our own language when it comes to interpreting the visual world around us. Nothing is simple, not even a spray of grass.


Day Lilies (Three Photographs)

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I was at a nature photo event where people were showing their photos. One photo on display was of a day lily. It was a very nice photo. But I overheard someone saying it’s the most photographed flower in the world. Now that may be true in the sense that the Eiffel Tower may be the most photographed tourist site in the world. However, if the photo is original, creative and has impact, who cares if the subject is common in photography. The ability to take something common and make it stand out, now that’s skill!


Mushrooms (Two Photographs)

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I have not taken many photographs of mushrooms and have no idea what these are. I took them with my Fuji when I was experimenting with the light meter and the flexibility of the raw files in processing. It takes time to get used to a new camera, especially the light meter. Even working with different Nikon cameras I find it takes a bit of time to get used to how they handle exposure.

 


Two for One (Two Photographs)

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Building on my last comments on B&W, when a photograph works in color, it often may work in B&W, leaving the choice as to which is preferable to you or your audience. It is also an interesting way to learn about photography – what has impact, where you want to go with color or B&W. In this case my trial conversion convinced me to take a high key approach in the color. Having done that it encouraged to me go with an even higher key lighting in B&W. When they say great photographs are made not taken I believe this kind of outcome is what they had in mind.


The Black and White Admonition (Two Photographs)

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One thing I have heard over and over is that if a photograph does not work in color it is not likely to work in B&W. Like all rules and admonitions in photography there are exceptions to the rule. I have included the color version to make this point. The B&W on the other hand has a quality to it that could never be achieved in color. It’s a personal choice but I think the B&W works.


Why Color is Important in Black and White (Eight Photos)

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In the days of film when taking B&W photos you often added a color filter to your lens to change the tonal range of the photo. Today we can use software filters.. For example, a Red filter lets red through, blocks blue and creates a lot of contrast which is why it helps make great skies. The other filters most commonly used are Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue. These colors change the gradations of B&W and the range of tonality and contrast. They can also make modest differences to the shadows and highlights in the photo. The eight photos posted here are the same photograph processed in color and B&W: the original color version, my final B&W product, the B&W with no color filter and then in succession, photos using the color filters (red, orange, yellow, green and blue) in that order (subtle changes). For the final B&W I chose to use the Green filter as it opened up the tonal range. In many of my B&Ws I make adjustments to the filter itself, just to get it the way I want it. Now with my Fuji XT-2, I can take photos in B&W and apply those filters when shooting as opposed to in post processing. If you shoot RAW, as opposed to JPEG, in most processing software you easily turn the photo back to color. A great way to learn black and white is to shoot in raw, set your camera to B&W and when you get back to your computer decide whether the shot should have been color or B&W.