Posts tagged “Flowers

Flowers in Black and White (Three Photographs)

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I posted these flowers in an earlier post. I wanted to try them in black and white with some contrast and more detail; it turns out the detail did not need work. High contrast photos are a matter of taste but always interesting.

Flowers (Three Photographs)

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Flower photography is an art unto itself. There are so many ways of doing it and many different techniques and approaches that I like to try. I find it great practice for other types of photography (though the flowers stay relatively still unlike most of my other subjects).

Colour (Two Photographs)

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A bit of colour can lighten the mood. Nature‘s range of colour even in a small space of a few feet, never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes a good walk with my camera just makes my day.

Flower (Two Photographs)

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Finding the perfect flower never seems to work especially as the season progresses. I did this flower in color and black and white because I think the different treatments provoke different emotions, but dark or bright this flower certainly has not lost its character.

Naturally Abstract (Two Photographs)

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I am always delighted to find something in nature that has a surreal and abstract look to it. In processing I tend to highlight the main subject by toning down the background and lowering highlights. The idea is to isolate a piece of the whole.

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.

Flowers, I Shoot Flowers! (Two Photographs)

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I was surprised when I was updating my website on Smugmug, to see how many photographs of flowers I have. One thing is certain I rarely go out with anything more than a general idea of what I will take, maybe a few hopes but I don’t try to predict what I will see. I think that is one of the reasons photography interests me so much I can take chances, explore and be surprised. Then I can take home my hard-won gains and polish the edges.


Not What I Expected (Three Photographs)

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Its been a real pleasure to walk the streets and take photos of what I see: birds, insects, people, events, flowers etc. It’s what I did when I first picked up a camera although the streets were in somewhat more exotic locations. A sort of make do with what you have approach and when you get something you like it’s quite satisfying. Many shots do not work and that will always be part of the learning curve. The concept of wearing a camera, as in taking it everywhere, has a lot going for it, though as I well know some jobs make it impractical.

Cropping (Two Photographs)

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Cropping raises all kinds of questions, including should I crop? As cameras have an aspect ratio that will not fit most frames that alone makes cropping pretty much a standard. Macro Photographers crop almost all the time. There are “rules” for cropping (of thirds, golden triangle etc.). There is also cropping for drama, etc. Often excluding a piece of the whole makes little difference to our minds in grasping what a subject might be. There is even a school of photography where getting as close as you can without losing the ability  of your audience to understand the subject e.g. in portraits cropping close and focusing more on the face than the other parts of the head. Personally  I think experimenting with cropping never hurts.

Looking Like I Feel on Rainy Days (Two Photographs)

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Last year we had a bit of drought, this year almost half of the year has had precipitation. This flower looks like a person raging, which is how I feel when I get a day I can go out and do something interesting and the weather thinks otherwise. We have had a few good days recently and I hope it continues because no wants me looking like this flower again 🙂

Tulips (Three Photographs)

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How to stand out in a crowd… In my last tulip post I spoke of some techniques to focus the viewer on the subject. Another technique I did not mention was depth of field; logically, what is in focus is what matters. The challenge in a field of flowers where you cannot move things around and stage-manage is that when using a very narrow depth of field to isolate your subject some of what you don’t want will still be in focus.


Tulips (Three Photographs)

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These are more tulips from the Ottawa Tulip Festival. This time I was focusing on framing and negative space. The idea is to make sure your viewers’ eyes go where you want them to go. Tools include, vignette, increasing shadows generally, framing in camera and tightened cropping after the fact without necessarily placing the subject in the middle of the frame.

One Flower, Three Flavors (Three Photographs)

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I visited the Ottawa Tulip Festival on its opening day, as it was mid day there were not many people about, so I did not have the opportunity for the candid shots I wanted to take. I did come away with some flower shots I could play with. The black and white version is a bit funereal but it was worth the effort and might be useful someday as an illustration. As for the color versions simplicity was my goal.

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.

Contrast (Two Photographs)

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The concept of things standing out in juxtaposition to one another is the definition of contrast, and in photography, whether knowingly or not we all look for contrast. In extreme cases the subject is silhouetted against a background or almost camouflaged. Taking advantage of natural contrast is one of the tools nature photographers use in all sorts of circumstances. In a choice between B&W and color, contrast is almost always the determining element. Without adequate contrast, B&W is much less impressive than color.

A Photographer’s Mood

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I took these when the weather, the news and my mood was a bit dark. I was not seeing much and was distracted until I saw this sunflower. It seemed to capture my attitude that day. I took more photos of it than I should have but looking back things could have been worse. It’s an interesting question whether our mood sometimes transfers to our work.



Shape and Form (Two Photographs)

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Photography is all about light, capturing the subject, catching a moment in time, and all about shape, texture and form captured by light! There are too many possible explanations about the essence of photography to parse. To some extent they are all true. A carver once told me that in sculpture, the foundation of the art is in imagining the final product. Most photographers looking through a lens think about what the final product will look like, and if they can, work the light, take advantage of form and texture, while paying attention to their subject. Examples of this are choosing the time of day to get the light you want, posing a subject, or as in this case finding something that merits attention and framing it.



Random (Three Photos)

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I was going to call this post chaos, but it’s not. Doing a daily blog for nearly five years has its moments; coming up with new things to say can be a challenge. I do appreciate all the comments and the views and follows. While I spend considerable time on things photographic; reading, watching, doing and writing, life does intervene, and there are only so many hours in the day. So forgive me if I have little to say about these three photos, except enjoy them.



Purple (Three Photographs)

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I took these just off the muddy bank of a lake. There was a lot of vegetation and these flowers stood out. I made modest exposure adjustments, sharpened them, removed noise and added a bit of detail and contrast. No special filters, no texture, just the flowers. In situations like this it is easy to process these to look like flowers in the shop and not in the fields. Purple is not a natural color; it’s a composite of red and blue. Purple is also the color associated with royalty, mystery and magic. Royalty is not what it used to be and there are fewer mysteries in the world than there were, but we can still experience the magical.




Variations on Purple (Three Photographs)

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Rather than go out and shoot purple subjects I went through my library and found some purplish flowers. Purple is a problematic color. Often camera sensors will make the color look waxen or unreal. Of the photos I had to work with at least one suffered from this and was not included. The phenomenon of not being able to capture some colors correctly exists with most sensors, although the colors differ. If you see the problem in camera, under or over exposing can sometimes help. All of these were processed in Lightroom and Photoshop with help from Noiseless and Intensity CK.



Yellow and a Black and White (Three Photographs)

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A number of photography courses and contests suggest that photographers challenge themselves by taking a series of photos that are focused on a single color. The exercise can have several benefits. It forces you to look for things to shoot, it provides an opportunity to work with hue, saturation and luminance to get the colors just right. It can help with learning black and white, where colors become shades of gray (and color filters alter the tonality). It can actually be a very sophisticated way to learn about exposure, white balance and to a degree light (because without the right exposure, color is altered to a greater or lesser extent). And one more thing, it will show you how your camera sensor handles specific colors.