Posts tagged “Flora

Escaping Flowers (Three Photographs)

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On a walk in my neighbourhood I came across this fence that made a great frame for the flowers. I used different levels of luminosity in the photographs to emphasize the main subject. In camera framing is one of many tools that can help focus an audience and there are many creative ways to do it, such as with physical objects or luminosity.


Flowers (Two Photographs)

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No HDR, just a few adjustments in Lightroom and Luminar. I like the bracketing of shots (over and under-exposed), it gives more leeway in choosing options in processing. I am inclined to do more bracketing with my Fuji XT, with HDR for still photography and some of the street photography and urban architecture I do. I have learned a lot about the possible options for natural looking results and we will see where that goes.


My First Book! And Two Photographs of Flowers

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I have just published my first book. “What Did You Expect, Dogs Playing Poker?”

“What Did You Expect, Dogs Playing Poker” is a book of verse and photography. The verses cover a wide variety of subjects – my life, travels, opinions and my sense of humour. The photographs, all in black and white, help tell the story. I hope you find it interesting. If you’re interested in purchasing my book there is a link to the store below, where you can also read more about the book. It is available as a soft cover and an ebook/Epub.

For Apple users the ePub works great. Just download and open in iBook (or Books in IOS 12). For Microsoft users there is free Epub3 reader in the Microsoft store here. There is also a soft cover version in a 12.7cm x 20.32cm (5″ by 8”) format.
In the near future I hope to publish an ebook on nature photography tips. I have discovered that self publishing and distribution are not as straightforward as I thought. Might be good material for future posts. Here are the links:

Ebook

Softcover

About the Photographs:

This is similar to yesterday’s HDR, but in these photographs Adobe Photoshop HDR pro was used. A bit of toning in Luminar  2018 and cropping in Lightroom. This is a bit easier than going from Lightroom to Aurora HDR to Luminar to Lightroom. The flower while not in the best of shape certainly looks better than I expected.


Queen Anne’s Lace (Two Photographs)

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The haphazard way in which taller plants stand out along paths has always fascinated me. They are living flagpoles above the rest of the flora. The shape and form artistic, even blowing in the wind.


Lily Pad (Two Photographs)

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There is one thing to dislike about lily pads, their attraction for hosts of ugly bugs. You need to be shooting before they arrive and when the plant has just bloomed. The addition of the damselfly is interesting. But it’s too small to be much more than a detail.


Black and White Close-up Photography (Two Photographs)

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I used my 105mm lens and was going for a very high contrast series of shots. However, on editing, truly high contrast was not as pleasing as these results. That is one of the reasons I enjoy editing, you may have plans but the software has options.


Bladder Campion (Two Photographs)

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Bladder Campion or Silene vulgaris, is one of the more interesting wildflowers. Found almost everywhere I go, city and field, during famines in the past it was boiled for food. Wikipedia states it’s still sometimes used in risotto in Italy. Here it’s just another pretty flower (or depending on your perspective, a weed).


Tulip Framing (Three Photographs)

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A technique I like to use is to focus on one flower and use others as a frame or as a means of focusing attention on the main subject. This is bit like the idea in landscape photography that one should pay as much attention to the foreground as the background. When you have to shoot tight (e.g. at a festival) this tip can help expand the possibilities.


Interesting (Three Photographs)

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I called this post interesting because it was the shapes that pushed me to take these shots. I was intrigued by the patterns. In the last two I was not sure if the color or the black and white would best highlight the ballet image I had in mind. Though looking at the black and white  it does have the best contrast.


An Interesting Technique (Three Photographs)

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Walking along I saw this yellow flower and I maneuvered myself to get some if not all of the purple flowers in the background (more or less in focus). That’s the idea, give your flower photos a boost by adding some muted/out of focus colour to the background.  Of course pundits will say shooting straight down into a flower is a no no. Mea Culpa.


Light in the Forest (Two Photographs)

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I often see wild flowers in their own patch of light. It’s actually quite hard to get a good shot and retain the light. We can talk about metering modes but the real issue is that the camera and the software want to even out light even with spot metering. The radial dial in Lightroom can help a great deal, but if you lighten the flowers for example, you also need to tone down the background. In black and white you can choose a colour filter to  highlight the flowers. This is one of the better techniques. And a vignette doesn’t hurt either.


Popping (Three Photographs)

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Photographers and editors of photographs talk about a photograph “popping” or “making it pop” etc. With tulips this is easy. Their form, colour and position provide more than enough pop. You just have to be close enough to get the composition you want and mind the backgrounds, the tulips do the rest.


Tulips (Two Photographs)

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The colour photograph represents the best week of sun and cool air and the black and white, the week when we had the worst showers in June since 1949. Nasty weather puts a damper on things, but I get more time to process photographsand work on other projects. However, I would much rather be out with my camera.


Tulip Colours (Three Photographs)

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In an an earlier post I said how complicated it can be to get the colors to look natural in a panorama of a tulip bed. You see this in the third shot. It has to do with color spaces and gamuts, put simply, the colors your camera and computer can see. I am sure some expert could get it right but it would be complicated. Instead I prefer the framingof a single flower as in the first two examples.


Tulipmania (Three Photographs)

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In the midst of a vast number of Tulips you have two choices take a photo of the sweep of the beds or choose individual flowers. I usually try both but I have considerably more success with close shots than panoramas. One of the reasons is that it’s harder to control color when there is a large variety of colors with some that may just be beyond the abilities of the camera and the computer to capture. With a focus on a single bulb the picture is much more likely to be good out of camera and easier to process. Just make sure your backgrounds are interesting.


Tulip Festival (Two Photographs)

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Back in May we had our annual Tulip Festival. Holland’s monarchy took refuge in Canada during WWII and in gratitude they send us tulips for the festival. I must say every year it gets more crowded, and this year because there were fewer tulips at the beginning due to cold weather, it was even more crowded. Using a 105 mm lens helped isolate things, taking the same photo at different apertures also helped. Flowers like these sometimes tend to halo along the edges and that can detract from the photo. Similarly some colors do not translate easily onto the web so there is some time involved in editing them. I will post more as time goes on.


A Perspective on Flowers (Three Photographs)

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It’s that time of year in North America where many people are focusing at least some of their photography on flowers. Most of the flowers photographed are not unusual or rare. Taking something familiar from a new angle, shooting in black and white or colourcan make a huge difference in the impact a photo has on others. So I am always looking for something unique: symmetry, leading lines, an unusual position etc. just to give the photo that extra punch. Worth trying, make your audience think.


24-70mm (Three Photographs)

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I walked into a posh camera store and the owner noticed I had a full-frame 24-70mm on a cropped DSLR camera. He said such a wonderful lens was ruined on that kind of camera. My argument was that cropped sensors affect the angle of view so what I was using was the same as a 36-105 mm lens. At 36mm great for street photography, at 105 great for portraits and in between for everything else. I also pointed out that there was no danger of vignetting and that the quality of any shot at any F stop or zoom would be perfect as I was only using the center of the glass. I would make the same argument today and add it’s one of the best all in one walk around solutions (though when compared to most mirror-less cameras big and heavy). I have never regretted buying it. These flowers were all taken with it.


Leaves (Three Photographs)

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Entomologists are always telling me to look under leaves, I seldom see any insects but the view is still interesting. I took these three years ago and I can still remember why. Just looking at these leaves I was thinking about some of the Impressionist paintings I had seen and thinking it would be nice to see if to some extent that could be reflected here. I tried processing them for that effect just after I took the photos but was not pleased with the results, now years later a slightly different approach to processing the photos makes them look much better.


A Flower (Two Photographs)

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This series speaks to a subject that annoys some but pleases others. On the one side are those that insist sharpness is everything, on the the other sideare those who say that only people need to be sharp everything else is a matter of taste. I am more often in the former camp than the latter, but with flowers fun things can be done. You see why, from the second photograph a little softness is sometimes a kindness.


Flora in Black and White (Two Photographs)

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I find black and white photography interesting and challenging. Black and white photography has a longer history, a huge pedigree, when you think of all the greats who shot black and white by preference. It’s also more nuanced, with contrast playing a greater role. So in my endeavour to build my skills I will sometimes take photos that are very good in colour and see what can be done in black and white and if they stand on their own. There seems be an ebb and flow in interest in black and white, it would be interesting to know why. Temper of the times, new people on the scene, I have no idea but I have noticed it over the years.


Composition (Three Photographs)

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The first of these photos is my favourite and it reminds me of a photographer I knew years ago. His fixation was composition. Exposure etc. was a whole other world. He once sat down with a magazine and showed how almost every photo could have been cropped better. But the one thing that stood out for me was his admonition that even in photos without clear subject matter or with multiple subjects, there was always a way to improve the photo through a careful crop, the first two photographs here illustrate that maxim. As a result cropping, is something I think about when I shoot and it often takes me longer than other elements of post processing to get where I want it.


Water Lily and a Word on Perspective (Two Photographs)

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I took quite a few shots of this scene trying different angles to get both background and reflection right as well as the lily. Getting a good perspective/angle makes a lot of difference in photography regardless of subject. I am acutely aware I should be on my knees if not my stomach more often. I come by my dirty jeans honestly. I think this is far more important than the rule of thirds or for that matter many other rules of the road in photography.


Water Lilies (Three Photographs)

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One tricky thing about shooting water lilies are the bugs. You have this beautiful white leafed plant covered in black insects, not exactly appealing. Removing them takes time, effort and care. These three fortunately had fewer bugs than normal.