Colours or B&W?

30 09 2012

I have usually pretty clear vision of how a photo should look like after processing and it was the same in case of this ‘mum photo. I wanted to add it to my growing series of photos in high-key look. Processing itself was rather easy with cloning out specks as the most time-consuming part. After all, the photo looked like I planned.

~ This Way (BW) ~
1/25 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

Chrysanthemums are great flowers for many reasons. For me it’s because they start blooming in late summer and lasts through autumn until first frost and because of their blossom structure. I really like all those layers of petals which unfold slowly as if hiding some precious treasure in the very center. If I was a bee those petals would be like a highway for me. A highway leading me to the center of heaven.

When I had the photo processed I started wondering  how it would look like with colours back so I tried it and that was my damnation.

Now I can’t decide which version I like more. At least I can ask you. Which version do YOU like more and why?

Indian summer is in the air. Enjoy!


Taking time

7 04 2012

You can say that I am taking my time with blogging and you are right. I still cannot get the right grip with photography and my thoughts are easily drawn to other things. Nevertheless I take a camera from time to time and take some photos, processing them is something else though. In last days my mind was turning around idea of posting something new and yesterday I had a discussion with a colleague of mine, in work and photogprahy, about our photography and this discussion was the final push which I needed to sit behind my computer and process some of the latest photos. When thinking about the photo for processing I was drawn to one which I had in my mind in last weeks, a photo of pink kalanchoe which I wanted to present in little bit grungy way. I used one of my very few textures and after some time I got a photo which I had in my mind for a long time.

~ Rough World ~
1.6 sec @ 100 mm, f/8, ISO 100

I know that it looks a little bit strange with further blossoms out of focus and then a background full in focus but I somewhat like this contrast and I am interested in your comments.

Sometimes, actually quite often, when I am done with a photo I try out different processings just for fun and sometimes I get a result I like. Mayhap influenced by the discussion with my colleague yesterday I tried to give the photo (the original one before applying texture) a high-key look and I really like the result.

It will never stop to surprise me how easily you can change a look and atmosphere of a photo. It may be a good exercise so you can try it, too.

Thank you for your persistence in visiting this blog and I wish you happy Easter.

Addendum: as some of you expressed your interest in what and how I hung on a wall in our living room, here is a photo of the set of photographs we finally decided for. All are prints on canvas, the biggest ones are 40x60cm, the smallest is 20x20cm, overall area covered by photos is 160x100cm and they are above our sofa. It was challenging to find a set of photographs fitting together without distracting viewers (mostly me, my wife and our kids) and we think we succeeded. I was pleased by several positive comments from our friends when visiting us but especially one asking who painted it for us.

Succulent in infrared

13 01 2012

We renovated and partly rebuilt our living in autumn 2010 but our living room was not completed yet last summer. We wanted to hang some 2 vertical photos above the sofa and we were thinking about something elegant, perhaps in black and white. Moreover, we wanted the phtos to have some link, perhaps presenting the same subject. Of course that I wanted to use my photos but as no 2 were suitable for this I had to make some new ones.

I was drawn to succulents in our garden (Sempervivum tectorum to be exact) by that time, observing simple, yet elegant, lines of their leaves. One day I finally decided to take some photos of them and started processing them immediately. Have you ever realized how much dirt is on the flower having its leaves only couple centimetres above the ground? I had to clone out around 100 specks on each photo! When photos where “clean” enough I tried different presets in Lightroom and really liked what infrared preset did with photos. A light touch of sepia and it was ready.

0.6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/22, ISO 100

1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/16 ISO 100

Even though I was really happy with the result after some time of watching the photos we decided to not hang them because if you observe it for a while you will notice tiny thorns on edges of leaves and it doesn’t evoke pleasant feelings. So after all we chose different solution but I still like these photos and therefore I want to share them here with you.

If you wonder what was the final solution, it couldn’t have been more different. We selected 8 photos from my collection, four in white tones, other four quite colourful and we put them together so that it makes a somewhat compact unit. This is nice example of how initial idea can change radically and still be acceptable.

Let me know if you like these photos with inverted-like feel and enjoy the winter until that time.

Technical information: photos in this post were taken with camera Canon EOS 450 and Canon EF 100mm USM f/2.8 macro lens, mounted on a tripod, under natural conditions, outdoors.

Common weed

4 06 2011

I think that we all see dandelions as common weed which is not always easy to get rid of. On the other hand we all usually enjoy view on a meadow glowing with golden colour of thousands and thousands dandelions.

Last year I took some detailed photos of a dandelion which you can find in this post. Also this year I have decided to take some dandelion photos but this time I wanted to try shooting seed heads.

1/160 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

I used “Aged photo” preset in Lightroom 3.4 and did only couple of additional tweaks.

1/400 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

You can see a lot of dandelion photos nowadays on flickr and other photo related sites so I wanted to create something unseen and I think that I achieved it with this photo. At least I never saw anything similar. I used Lightroom’s “Creamtone”preset and did additional adjustments. I think it could look really nice on a big format.

I saw uncountable amount of dandelion photos with water dropplets so I wanted to try to have some mine, of course.

1/500 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

This was taken one foggy morning after the fog has dissappeared and after sun had some time to dry everything soaked due to fog. I visualized this with strong contrast and still soft. I hope that I made it. Whole processing was done in Lightroom without using any preset this time.

I originally thought that I will use the same processing for all these photos making nice triptych but it did not work. Each photo asked for different processing and I think it’s much better this way. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting and enjoy summer!

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

Tulips in Black & White

27 04 2011

Tulips are amazing flowers. So graceful and delicate with their thick wax petals, tall stems and proudly standing heads. We have been buying cut flowers to our bedroom very often in last months and tulips were the most frequent ones. Once we bought beautiful white tulips which turned out to be the variety with much more petals then only those surrounding the blossom’s center. I decided to try both high-key and low-key kind of photos with them beside some macro shots of center details which I will present in some of next posts. Now I would like to present one high key photo and one low key. Here is the first one:

~ FHK #011 – White Tulip ~
1/3 sec. @ 100 mm, f/10, ISO 100

It was tricky to get all subjects in the photo with right tonality because the leaf on the left side was very dark. Finally, the luminosity masking technique produced the best result.

Following photo is more classical low key image than those from previous post. I leave the judgment up to you.

~ FLK #003 – Trinity ~
1/3 sec. @ 100 mm, f/16, ISO 100

I tried various presets of conversion to B&W but after all I manualy changed the tones and their lightness in Lightroom. It was also a bit tricky to get all the details as I wanted. I wanted high contrast but I didn’t want to loose all details in leaves. I must say that I’m pretty happy with the result.

Let me know if you like these photos or not and why. What works for you, what would you change or do differently? This all helps me to understand how you perceive my creations and how could I do it better next time.

Enjoy spring!

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

Getting to market, step 1

7 04 2011

I announced my goal for this year – getting my photos to a market – in one of my previous posts. I did some small preparations when a very pleasant surprise met me and I’ll write about it in one of my next posts for sure. Let’s focus on the “getting to market goal” now.

My first step on the road ought to be offering my photos in a gallery hosted by the printing company where I make my photos printed. I have already sent my photos there but they haven’t been published, yet. Ok, never mind. They will do it soon, I guess.

Maybe a month ago my wife stuck on a web site called My local visitors will probably know it. It is the biggest local web portal for artists and craftsmen (no mass production) allowing them to offer their products on the portal pages for a commission. Something like a local version of I browsed the shop and I really liked what I found there. Frankly, I like the stuff there more and more 🙂 Moreover, I looked through a gallery of photographers offering their photos there and I found out that such a type of photography as I’m doing is not present there so my work will “fill the gap” in their portfolio. And “fler” if it comes from “fleur” in French means a blossom! What a match 😀

~ Seedy Mum ~
4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/10, ISO 100

It took me some time before I finally decided to put my work on display and so from now on you can see and buy my first 15 photos there. There is a LOT of various photos on the server so I’m really wondering if my works will interest someone to buy it. Time will tell. I know that the key is to have a bigger offer than just 15 images and I plan to update it regularly. I’ll definitelly do a recap after some time and I’m really looking foward to it.

Until then, enjoy the spring in full bloom!

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

Ful or less?

24 03 2011

I mean colours. And a photo. Colourful or colourless? You probably know this. Sometimes when I am processing a photo I end up with satisfying result but then I start to think “how it would look like when applying this?” This is exactly the case of photos in this post. I took this photo some weeks ago along the photos presented in previous post but it took me some time to get down to the processing. The main reason was that I had 5 images with different plane of focus which I planned to merge into a stack to get bigger depth of field. I knew that it will require more time than routine post-processing which usually takes under half an hour. When I had the stacked image I knew that I want to make a painting from it. Well, a photograph which look like painted. I knew all the tools that I need (Photoshop, Alien Skin Snap Art 2) and also the process.  I wanted the result to look like this.

~ Intertwined (Oil on canvas) ~
1/15 – 1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4 – f/8, ISO 100

When I have a photo in Lightroom for usual processing I try application presets sometimes, just to see if something  fits the photo. I did it also this time and sepia preset did something that I really liked. I did only small tweaks to default settings and the result suddenly matches my “Flora in High-Key” series. And it can’t differ much more from the photo above.

~ FHK #10 – Intertwined ~
1/15 – 1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4 – f/8, ISO 100

I like both of them and it leads me to thoughts about suitability of different styles for different occasions. While colourful photo easily drags someone’s attention, as human eye is very sensitive to colours, the BW or toned photo must attract with something else because the main attraction – colours – are removed. Colourful photo looks very well on monitor and it can drag viewer’s attention easily even in thumbnail. Once he is trapped and viewing full size version he can enjoy all the details and additional processing. In case of the second photo it might look a bit mundane and “tasteless” at first sight. Viewer who is not enjoying this kind of photography will very probably move his eyes to something else soon.

Very often I think about my photographs as accessories to a living. Something to hang on a wall to make the place nicer or to give it some mood. If I think about the first, colourful, photo it’s not easy to find a place in our house where I would hang it. Or in any other house. I work with colours as with mood/atmosphere evokers and thus every colourful photo needs to be carefully chosen to work with the rest of the room or to create a contrast. Colour photos are good for places where energy flows. They can make living comfortable if well chosen or discomfortable or even irritating in opposite case.

The high-key photos, black and white photos, toned photos and such don’t give so much energy. They are not evoking strong emotions. They can evoke a sense of peace and relax, elegance and even glamour if well accompanied by other accessories in the room. For example we have this kind of photos in our bedroom. With earthy brown colour tones and simple modern furniture it creates fantastic atmosphere where it is pleasure to relax.

That’s how I see and understand “colourful” and “colourless” photos. How do you see it? How do you perceive it?


Enjoy the spring while thinking about it 😉

Technical note: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.