Daylilies 2011

29 07 2011

Daylilies are flowers which brought me to macro photography and to flower photography in general. We have a daylily “bush” in a garden and I try to take some photos of it every year when it is in bloom. This year their season is slowly ending and so I am posting my latest attempts.


~ A Probe ~
0.5 sec @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

The more photos of one subject you take the more complicated it is to take another and not repeat yourself. With daylilies I still focus fully on “colour flows” and lines but I am also looking for something unique in the blossoms that would make the photo special. In the photo above it is the stigma which is usually erected out from a blossom but sometimes it stays inside.


~ A Lift ~
0.4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

I like to look for an interesting interaction between abstract shapes and lines supported by colour gradients. In the photo above two stamens were going in parallel evoking look of those double glass lifts. Lifts for insect perhaps.

Photos above are “common” ones, with minimal post processing. As I was working with the photos below I thought that perhaps it’s time to try something a little bit different. To make these abstracts a little bit more special.


0.4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

Image rotation, low contrast and high brightness did the trick here. I was tempted to give it title “Ribs” but I resisted because the photo evokes pleasant feelings in me which wouldn’t persist if I would use the title.

Brightness slider went unusually high also for last photo even though not as high as for the previous one. I like the juicy colours in this one.


0.3 sec @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

All these photos were taken indoor this time. The blossom was on the windowsill to absorb as much sun light as possible and then slightly shaded from direct light so the colours could pop. Without shading the colours and light were too strong, too harsh. I will be definitely glad for your opinions and if you would like to compare it with my daylily photos from previous years, here they are (2010, 2009).

Enojy the weekend!

Technical information: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens on a tripod; under natural conditions.

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The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2011

21 07 2011

I informed about the TCN Photo contest previous year and now it is here again. Here goes the message:

The Nature Conservancy is holding its 6th Annual Digital Photo Competition. This year, it’s easier than ever to enter using your Facebook log-in info – http://photocontest.nature.org/ or through The Nature Conservancy’s Flickr Group – http://my.nature.org/photography/flickr.html.

Original digital photos that feature the natural wonders of the lands, waters, plants, animals and people around the world are all eligible for the competition.

This year at least 35 photos will be selected as honorable mentions and finalists, and our online community will vote for their favorite images to determine the winners. The grand prize winner will be featured on the cover of the 2013 Nature Conservancy calendar.

This competition is open to all photographers age 18 years or older regardless of residence or citizenship, as long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation. Photo submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm PST Monday, September 12, 2011.

For more details, please visit http://photocontest.nature.org/ and feel free to contact me with your questions.

Consider your participation.


~ Crucifiction ~
0.8  sec. @ 100 mm, f/14, ISO 100

When I was looking for a photo to accompany this message I came up across this one which wasn’t posted , yet. It is direct shot of central part of Miltonia orchid blossom. The flower was on a windowsill backlit by afternoon sun light. I was amazed by the patterns and colours.

Have a nice rest of the week!

Technical information: all photographs in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens on a tripod, in natural conditions.





Poppy impressions

9 07 2011

A Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is grown in our country on vast fields. It is on different fields every year so you can’t be ever sure where it will be next time but it is for sure that it WILL be on some fields in our village. I noticed two large fields with blooming poppies when returning from shopping one day and so I prepared a camera and tripod and planned to take a drive to work next day.

I stopped by a field with red poppies and noticed that it is a field of rapeseed accompanied by red poppies and camomile. The rapeseed had already seeds and was more than 1 meter high. If you ever tried to walk through rapeseed field in this stage of maturity you know that it’s almost impossible. The plants are so interwoven and holding so tightly that you really need to be strong to get through it. fortunately I didn’t need to do this fight as there was something like an entrance to the field created by a tractor so the rapeseed was pushed aside on several meters and this was more than enough for me to take some photos of this field beautifully lid by soft morning light. In such a cases when I am in front of a field of flowers I feel indecisive for a moment. It’s hard for me to decide where to start and how to start. I decided for straight centre macro/close-up first. You can’t spoil anything with such a photo, right?


~ Eye of a poppy ~
Composite of 3 photos @ 100mm and at ISO 100: 1) 1/13 sec.,  f/8, 2) 1/4 sec., f/14 and 3)  1/100 sec , f/2.8
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

I wanted to have the petals blurred so I took a wide open shot (at f/2.8) but I also wanted to have all the stamens sharp. I had to combine 2 images for this, one at f/8 and one at f/14. Why I haven’t used only f/14? Because a slight wind was blowing that morning and the photo was a little bit blurry at f/14 so I used f/8 (sharp) for all stamens and f/14 only for those parts of f/8 shot where the stamens were not in focus fully. I was quite happy with the result but I wanted to make it more “creative” so I used (my favourite) Photoshop plugin Snap art by Alien Skin which simplified it nicely. You can see comparison image here. The upper half is original photo, lower half is with added “oil painting” effect. At first sight the difference is not big but I like the painted version a little bit more.

Another shot I wanted to have was a motion blur of poppy field so I tried and got one decent photo to work with. When I was playing with it during processing I came up with 2 versions but with totally different look and mood. I decided to post both of them and give them common title.


~ Childhood memories ~
1/8 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

The first version recalls my memories from the days when I was a small child. I was grown up in a village and so my early visual memories consists of warm sun, ripe fruits, field of golden crop, and garden flowers. Beside visual memories we usually have also smell memories and I remember warm and pleasant smell of hay, coll and wet smell of nearby woods and smoky smell of potatoes baked in ash.  I didn’t mention poppies, wildflowers or rapeseed anywhere, still this photo reminds me childhood.

Beside these comforting and pleasant memories we all have also bad memories. Mine are of bad dogs and first days with my first bike. When it comes to dreams, I have one dream which I remember very well – I am riding my bike and suddenly the road ends with a cliff and off the cliff I go and I faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall eternally. Second version of this photo is about bad dreams.


~ Childhood memories – Nightmare ~
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

Both photos were created using Lightroom’s 3 presets and their combinations.

Last photo was taken on my way home from work. Close to the field where previous photos come from there was a field of white poppy basking in the evening sun. I was looking for some colour contrast and I found 2 red poppies on a border of the field. I thought it could work well together.


~ Radar ~
1/800 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100
Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution.

The background was uneven so I had to use heavy Gaussian blur in photoshop and paint the poppies back then. I really would like to know if this photo works for you or not.

I have more photos from this day but they are waiting to be processed, yet, and I’m not even sure if I will keep them all or discard some. I hope I’ll have something for next posts.

Enjoy your summer weekend!

Technical information: all photographs in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens, in natural conditions. For the first and last photo a tripod was used.

P.S. We had real summer today with 30° Celsius in the shadow, 50°+ on the sun and 27° inside house.





No unsuitable subjects

3 07 2011

You see something and tell yourself “This would be a great subject for a photo!”or the opposite “This wouldn’t make for a decent photo”. I guess you all know this. During past months I’ve learned that there are NO unsuitable subjects. You can take a decent photo of any subject you find. It’s only about time and creativity.

Now let’s speak about flowers. Some of them are naturally more appealing than others and then it will be probably easier to take a nice photo of them. If it comes to the originality of such a photo, well, it will probably take you a little bit more time to come up with original photo of an appealing flower but on the other hand there are beautiful flowers of which taking original photos isn’t easy at all, for example orchids. And then there are flowers which might not be much appealing, I bet everyone has some. I personally don’t like pansies. They are so fragile, so flat, so… boring! But it’s their season now and so I decided to give them a try. We have 2 colour varieties in our garden and it’s nice that each blossom is a little bit different from others even in one colour variety. I wanted to have an original photo so I was looking for different composition than I saw already on web and I came up with very close close-up. Pansies have nice small details if you take a look at them closely but I wanted something original so I decided to convert photo into painting using Snap Art 2 plug-in for Photoshop. I used “oil on canvas” setting as this matched best to the subject. Click on photo for bigger image with more details.


~Like a Butterfly ~
1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/20, ISO 100

One advice if you decide to photograph pansies, take a fresh blossoms and not after rain otherwise you will spend hours in photo editor cloning out all the specks, especially from dark parts.

Another flower which I saw as unsuitable for decent photos is petunia. It nicely beautifies our windows but when it comes to taking nice and original photo of it, well, I didn’t think it will work. Then I saw a great photo of petunia on flickr and I decided to give them a try. When I started to study the flower closely I noticed that magical deep violet colour which was so rich that it was almost black. It looked so great that I really wanted to have some nice photo of it. It wasn’t so hard to find pleasing composition but as the leaves in background were a little bit disturbing I thought about conversion to painting again. This time “impasto” style worked best so here is the result. Click on photo for bigger image with more details.


~ Black velvet trumpets ~
1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/20, ISO 100

I think it works quite nicely but when I was in Photoshop I thought that maybe I could try also some other filters (sometimes when working with a photo I simply start to wonder what various filters/presets could do with it. This time I went directly to “invert” filter even though I really don’t know why, it was some kind of intuition and here is the result which really appeals to me. Click on photo for bigger image with more details.


~ Surfinia feather ~

Feather was the very first thing which came to my mind when I saw this image.

I tried also other filters but haven’t got anything interesting until I went to Snap art again and tried other presets. I used only “impasto” and “oil on canvas” in past because other presets usually results in something not so impressive but this time I really liked result of “stylize” filter which gave the photo a little bit cartoonish style. Click on photo for bigger image with more details.


~ Violet Gold ~

I like all these results and I wanted to share them with you. Here you can see how a subject which saw as unsuitable for good photo may turn up as direct opposite so if you have some subjects which you resisted to photograph so far, give them a chance. I’m pretty sure that you’ll be surprised with your results. Anyway, taking photos of subjects which we see as unsuitable for good photos is great exercise because we need to overcome our bias and think about the subject deeply to be able to work with it and expect good result.

If photos in this post will serve as inspiration for you I’ll be more than pleased. Let me know your results!

Enjoy your summer holidays and vacations.

Technical information: photograph in this post was taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens on a tripod, in natural conditions.