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.

Advertisements




Revisiting subject

20 01 2012

Originally I wanted to name this post Cool colours in warm winter because we have exceptionally warm winter this year but then the day after taking the photo which is accompanying this post we got snow and it lasts for more than a week now. So let’s leave the title and move to the real content of this post.

If you are taking photos for longer time you have probably came through the situation when you would like to take a photo of a subject which you photographed in past or it just happens that such a subject lands in front of your lens. Then you probably know that if you tend to investigate the subject very well, as I do, it is more complicated next time. The truth is that there are subjects which are so variable that you can take a photo of them every time and it will be always a little bit different. This is valid for subjects with complicated structures and as I am a flower photographer a nice example of such a subject for me are roses as every single rose has differently folded petals and they exist in uncountable amount of colour varieties. Then there are subjects which look like the same but you can add difference by changing background and angle of view. Such a subject is for example cyclamen. And then there are subjects which are more complicated and it takes time to take a photo in a different, previously not taken way. I found this challenge with hyacinth this year.

Hyacinths exists in five colour variants (white, yellow, pink, burgundy red and blueish violet), as far as I know. Beside colour the flower as such looks always the same. A cluster of trumpet-shaped blossoms placed one next to each other. Two years ago I examined a white hyacinth from bigger distance and took a photo of more flowers in this cluster resulting in this photo. Last year I examined pink variety more closely, resulting in this series of photos. This year I finally got a blue/violet variety which I always wanted to have. BUT, when I started to examine it with a camera on a tripod I was surprised how difficult it was to find something appealing this time. I found several compositions but they were mostly copies of the photos which I took last year. After some 15-20 minutes and couple of not-fully-satisfying captures I found one which I really liked.


~ Cool Hyacinth ~
0.3 @ 100 mm, f/2.8 ISO 100

The flower was placed in contra light so the blossoms in direct light turned slightly to blue whereas blossoms in a shade turned out in violet and the colour combination was really interesting; the shade of blue reminds me colour of icebergs. I decided to go with fully open aperture to get as much smooth colours as possible and I think that it turned out really well. It reminds me a pastel drawing. As usually I took this photo also with higher f-stops and later I layered together the one taken at f/2.8 with one taken at f/10 and I used the latter one to paint pistils with more details into the softer one (layered and painted in Photoshop).

So after all I ended up with a photo which does not look like any photo of a hyacinth I took so far and that’s exactly what was aiming for.

Even though revisiting the same subject in photography may seem as tedious or boring, I find it challenging and I think that it is great for training photography eye and creativity. Try it, it’s fun!

Technical information: the photo 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.





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.





Chill out

22 12 2011

Time around Christmas and New year is relaxing time for me. I spare at least a week of vacations every year for this time. Year end is usually busy time of year and as this year has been very busy and hectic I really enjoy 2 weeks at home with my family now. Pushing thoughts on work out of my mind, enjoying the Christmas mood – beautiful sweet smell of Christmas cakes, decent light of colourful bulbs on a tree and jingle bells playing in the background, this and priceless presence of my wife and children, that’s what makes my Christmas and what I cherish above everything on this world.

Too bad that it runs out so quickly but it’s one more reason to enjoy every minute.

( Thanks for arrangement goes to my wife )

I wish you to spend your Christmas time with your most beloved ones and exactly in the way how you like it.





Rose abstract

19 12 2011

It has been almost five months since my last post here and for almost the same time I haven’t held camera in my hands. This break from photography was unintentional and actually it was my longest break from photography in several years. What caused it, you ask? Well, even I am not absolutely sure. In the first half of this year I took much more photos than in any year before and before the break I was taking photos every day for more than a week. Then a need for taking photos left me suddenly.

My other great hobby are books and during winter time I tend to read really a lot. Almost all my free time is spend with a book in my hand. Before summer I usually feel so full of stories that I can’t absorb more for some time. I feel like fully satiated. The pace slows done or sometimes stops completely. I think the same may have happened with my photography. Have you ever experienced something similar?

So I divided all my time between my work, my family and my other hobbies. It is true that both my work and my family needed, and still need, much more time than in past so there isn’t much time for the other hobbies either.

Anyway, after these months of not creating any new photos my camera and potential subjects start calling my creativity again. Three weeks ago I took a camera with macro lens to my hands again. I was wondering if I am able to see things in the same way as before but I think that it’s like riding a bike or rather driving a car after some time – start may be slow but a memory and instincts come back quickly. And here is the photo:


~ Turbine ~

It is a shot of not-yet-fully-open rose bud and final photo is a combination of 3 exposures at ISO 100:

  • 0.3 sec @ f/2.8
  • 1.3 sec @ f/5.6
  • 2.5 sec @ f/8

I used photos with higher f-stops for sharper petal edges and nice soft gradients from f/2.8 for the rest of the image. Colours are strong but I like it as it turned out. There is only small adjustment to saturation which is not to saturation directly but to vibrance in Adobe Lightroom instead. Vibrance enhances saturation of colours which are in minority on the photo.

I really hope that I will come back to photography (and this blog) more frequently now, presenting new and also old photos. I have still some photos taken back in July which I haven’t processed before the break started.

Finally, I would like to thank all of you who have been visiting this blog in those months, hoping to see some new posts. It is really good to know that there are people who cares for I do. Thank you!

Have a wonderful Christmass season and cherish your close ones.

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





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.





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.