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!





Peony triptych

22 06 2012

Peonies are another flowers of which I didn’t take any decent photos in past years. The right time for them is over for this year but this time I took something presentable. I was always discouraged to photograph them maybe because they are usually swarmed by ants or maybe because they bloom so shortly. Whole peony brush blooms out in couple of days.

Click on each photo to see them in higher resolution for best details. The bigger the better it looks.

~ Petal by Petal ~
1/40 (0.3) sec @ 100 mm, f/2.8 (f/10), ISO 100

My wife cut one bud (it’s perhaps the only way how to get a blossom without ants) and put it into vase so I had time to shoot it inside. I was surprised how quickly the “inner petals” open. When taking the photo above, I took it several times with different apertures and even though the photos were taken only in span of seconds, it was nicely noticable how the petals open. This photo is a trick for your eyes, it’s a combination of two shots, one with aperture f/10 used for parts in focus and complemented by out of focus areas from a photo taken on f/2.8. Now you may be wondering why I simply did not use only the shot with f/2.8 and my answer is that it just didn’t look right. I really like these curvy fragile inner petals and I think that they look best not yet fully open.

~ Guardians of the Sweet Mana ~
1 sec @ 100 mm, f/14, ISO 100

This is another view on those beautifully coloured petals. I love how there is always another row of them after previous one. Like, like… well, shark teeth probably isn’t best for copmparison but it’s the only one coming to my mind. The title I used relates to the popularity of this flower among ants. There must be something amazingly delicisous inside of them.

~ Shades of pink ~
1 sec @ 100 mm, f/14, ISO 100

Another different angle of view on this wonderful flower. Is it bothering that not everything is in focus?

When I was post processing these photos I watched them aligned in a row and I noticed that they make a nice triptych. It’s not perfect but I think it really matches together. What do you think?

~ Peony triptych ~

That is all for today, more photos are waiting for processing

Have a wonderfull summer time (and midsummer by the way) and do not forget to practice with your camera.

Technical information: 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.





Springtime

21 05 2012

Another month has passed and I had only one new photo to post.

~ Born To Be Wild ~
1/3 sec. @ 100 mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

My wife bought these tulips some 2 months ago. It wasn’t really possible to guess their colour(s) but those ruffled petal edges looked interesting to her. When they opened I really liked the torn edges and colourful blossoms with bright yellow centers and red petals or green petals with red streaks in them as you can see it on the photo. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any suitable composition without the pistils which may seems as distracting to someone. The photo was taken with afternoon sun behind the flower making the colours really glow.

With nice almost summer weather of last weeks I went outside with a camera couple times to practice but guess what, wind, the spoiler of good photography has been blowing almost all the time! Sometimes so strongly that it did not make sense to go outside with camera at all, sometimes so slightly that not a leave stirred but still too strongly for persisting a fragile flower under 1/100 of second. So after some attempts and failures I decided to work through older unprocessed images and found this one of lily pistils.

~ From A Hand ~
1/8 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I liked the unusually colourful petals which makes nice background in my opinion. The pistils looks to me like an open 6-finger hand from which center grows the stigma. With the bright fresh colours reminding me a spring it matches the tulip photo above even though the processing and feel of both photos differes a lot. At least they match in my eyes.

Have a wonderful springtime!

Technical information: 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.





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.





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.