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.




12 responses

10 07 2011
Anita Bower

I especially like the first childhood memories image. It does convey the feeling of happy, summer days. The second one conveys the darkness of childhood. Well done!!!!!!!!

I’ve mixed feelings about the last image. I like the compositional idea. Perhaps if the red of the blurred poppies matched the red in the white poppy it would work better.

10 07 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Anita. I’m glad that you like them. I usually don’t post so depressive photos as is the Nightmare but I think that those 2 photos complement each other so well that I simply had to post them.

Regarding the last photo – I have also mixed feelings about it therefore I’m really looking forward comments by others. I like the simplicity and the composition but it does not evoke any feelings in me. And the colour spot in the white poppy was violet therefore it does not match the red poppies.

10 07 2011
Anita Bower

I want to add that photography is an exploration, and sharing our efforts, whether excellent or just good, is part of the fun of it all.

10 07 2011
Tomas Turecek

I’m not sure if every photographer would sign below this but I would. For me photography is endless learning process of exploring and capturing beauty in nature and sharing it with others.

11 07 2011
Barbara Kile

I love your impressionistic images – and how you tied them to childhood memories. Flowers and nature images in general convey so many emotions! btw: your link on Am3 is incorrect, leading viewers to a generic WordPress page. 🙂

11 07 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks for comment and for note about incorrect link in my “signature” on Am3. There was a typo in the URL.

12 07 2011

I find poppies to be very difficult to photograph. I really like the composition of the first image and actually prefer the un-altered shot (the sharp details are amazing!). The impressionistic shots are also very nice. How amazing that by simply altering the colors, you completely alter the mood! Your interpretations are spot-on.

Not sure about the last image…appears a little…forced. How about bringing back some of the texture in the background?

12 07 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks for your comment and thoughts Tracy. Reagrding the last image – there was really no texture in the background, it was totally OOF but not so smoothly as in this processed version. There was several places where the bright green turned slightly to yellow or darker green and it dragged attention too much. Moreover it didn’t look good. As I replied to Anita’s comment, I have also mixed feelings about this photo. Perhaps I will post it on some photo forum for more critique to get more opinions.

15 07 2011
Ken Bello

If I had to choose a favorite, it would be the poppy photo because of it’s simple beauty. The memories photos are gorgeous, they make a complementary set. “Radar” is just a fun expression, I really like this one.

15 07 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Ken.

20 07 2011

I’m especially mad for that first shot, Eye of the Poppy. I’m glad you told us it was composed of three shots. It is brilliant; so artful, and forms an exquisitely abstracted reality of this poppy. This is an image I would have liked to have made. BRAVO.

20 07 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thank you for visiting my blog, Dulcie, and for the compliment about the photo. It always fills me with joy when someone, especially other photographer, likes my photo(s). You wrote that you would have liked to have it made – If you mean it, I’m preparing my web site on zenfolio and once it is up and running it will be possible to purchase my photos from there so I can let you know once it’s available. Or you can follow this blog, I’ll will definitely write about official “opening” of my web page here. I am offering my photos also now but printing possibilities are limited. I offer my prints mainly in Czech Republic, and I have good experience with one printing service in Australia, nothing else, so far. Anyway, if you have good experience with some printing service near you, you can let me know on my private email (tomasturecek@email.cz) and we can discuss it further. Thanks for visiting!

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