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!

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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.





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.





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.





Two years of blogging

29 06 2011

Today it is exactly 2 years from my first post on this blog and I think that it is a good opportunity for sharing some statistics and small elaboration on those years with you.

First the statistics:

  • Posts
  • Visits
    • There was 11567 visits in those 2 years.
    • Number of visits has grown by 43% in the second year of my blogging.
    • Average number of visits in first year was 14 while 19 in second year.
    • The busiest day so far was April 11, 2011 with 70 visits.

While thinking about the posts and my progress in photography in those 2 years I think that I still take photos with the same intention – capturing details which we can see every day but which we don’t realize or which we simply overlook as common or not interesting.  I try to work with impressions. I want my photos to impress viewers for which purpose I work with colours, simple shapes and sometimes with processing which makes certain photo everything but common.

I heard that most of blogs won’t survive 13th month of life. It is true that previous year was demanding at me and I had a lot of other things than photography to focus on. Result was that  I haven’t had even thoughts for photography and I was glad if I was able to make a post per month, sometimes not even this. With this year approaching I got a new energy to my veins and I can say that I have been focusing on photography much more in past months than in any time in those past 2 years. Hopefully it does not have effect on quality of my late photos but I will leave this up to your decision.

When it comes to my source of inspiration, at first place it is nature itself. There is so many interesting subjects in so many forms that I’m really not afraid of running out of subjects and ideas for photos. At second place it is you, photographers with similar scope in photography. I am following photo blogs and photo sites such as flickr on daily basis which provides decent amount of excellent photos which inspires me in some ways. As time goes by some photographers have become silent and in such cases I always wonder what happened to them. We never know what awaits us.

When I was thinking about suitable photo for this post I came across following one which, as I think, sums up one side of my photography. It is a photo of Gerbera taken some months ago. I was interested by those bold colours. I don’t remember what was the source of the violet in the background I only know that it was some other flower.


~ I LOVE Colours ! ~
1/500 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

Looking at the visits, it really impresses me and I want to give a BIG “THANK YOU” to all of you who are visiting my site either accidentally, sporadically or continuously. You all help me in getting this blog further and you help me also with my photography either by giving constructive feedback or simply by your visits which creates a demand for another posts.

Thank you all and I am really looking forward writing similar post after another year.

Enjoy summer!

Technical information: photograph in this post was taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens with HOYA Close up +4 (dioptres) filter, in natural conditions.





Well thought out?

22 06 2011

As a response to my previous post my fellow photographer Tracy Milkay (her great photo blog here) wrote

“You can tell they [your photos] are so well thought out – from composition to finishing.”

This statement evoked following questions: “Can I?” “Are they?” “Really?” It brought me to thinking about whole process of photo creation more deeply and to wondering if the process is similar for other photographers, no matter how experienced.

So are my photos well thought out? Answer to this question isn’t so easy. The closest simple answer would be probably “to some extent”. I’ll try to describe the process of creating my photos and leave the answer to you. I’ll describe the process in 3 steps:

1) subject study – this is necessary and very important step before looking through camera viewfinder at the subject. Time needed for this study depends on time I can spend with the subject (minutes in case of time pressure or unknown environment on one side of axis, even weeks or months in case of flowers in our home or garden on the other side of axis) and frequency of using the same subject by me or other photographers while the latter variable is in direct proportion to the needed time. The more common the subject is for other photographers or even me the more time I will need for coming up with something original.

2) taking photo – this is usually quite straightforward process and it is basically consisting of looking for suitable composition and light and taking photo(s). If I had visualized the photo before taking camera in hands I start with this photo first and then continue as described in preceeding sentence. If I can’t come up with anything “decent” I play with other techniques such as panning and zooming. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but I must say that I end up with decent to great photo much much more often than with nothing. Frankly, I don’t remember when I deleted all photos from a photo session for the last time.

3) photo processing – I like realistic photos, meaning that I don’t like to adjust them too much during processing phase. It means that I usually don’t want to change what came from the camera too much. I turn my photos into paintings, I use textures, you may say. Yes, I do but really seldom. I turn my photos into black & white and give them colour tones sometimes but this is in cases when I either want to emphasize the shapes and colour isn’t so important or when colour is distracting. The conversion to black and white is not always intended from the beginning. Sometimes I take some photo with intention to have it in colour but then when looking at it on monitor I don’t like it in colour or it looks just ordinary so I try colour adjustments such as conversion to black and white and toning. This is the case of photo called Daisy trio from previous post.

Well, enough of theory, let’s show it on example:

~ Violet explosion ~
1/2 sec., f/16, ISO 100

~ Entrance ~
2.5 sec., f/22, ISO 100

My wife got this Dendrobium orchid for her birthday in March. I see orchids as very challenging subjects for taking photos of them and moreover I don’t like this Dendrobium sort much. We had the flower in our bedroom for maybe two months and then my wife moved it into our dining room and placed it so that the accompanying palm leaf was proped to the window. When sun lit it from behind one afternoon I liked the fresh green colour of the leaf and how the intense violet colour of the flower stood out against it.

The study period here was more than 2 months! I saw the flower every day and I asked myself how would I photograph it in original way very often. When I took the photo that I visualized in my head earlier (the left one) I thought that it might be good to take a macro shot of the flower and I really liked the details in central part. When I saw it on a monitor then I knew that the first photo (the left one) is quite ordinary but presenting both together as a diptych could work nicely. So here it is. And by the way the left photo was created from 2 photos, one at f/2.8 for background out of focus, second at f/16 for the blossom entirely in plane of focus. These 2 images were then taken into Photoshop as different layers (f/16 as background layer) and then I masked the blossom from f/2.8 version with f/16 one. This is technique which I use quite often when I can’t get desired DOF with a subject.

This is nice example of a photo(s) that was thought out even though not completely visualized during study process.

That’s it. I would like to know if your process of taking and creating image is similar or different and if different then where it differes and how. I’m really looking forward to your response.

Have a nice end of the week!

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

P.S. I know why I was so reluctant with taking photo of this orchid. There was so much specks and dust threads on petals that merging those 2 exposures together and cloning out all the dust took me almost 2 hours!





Daisies

19 06 2011

I love blooming meadows in this season especially those of Alpine type glowing with yellows, pinks, violets, reds and whites. Our meadows were once fields for growing crops or pastures for cattle. Almost noone is growing own crop or breeding own cattle nowadays. It’s not economically efficient. So the past fields and pastures turned into meadows in past 20 years. Unfortunatelly such a meadows are not home for wide variety of meadow flowers. The most common ones are dandelions and common daisies (Bellis Perennis) which are simply everywehere. Less spread are oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum Vulgare), blue and white campanulas, poppies and cornflowers.

Common daisies, in our country called sevenbeauties, are very often photographed and I wanted to try it this year also. It’s beautiful how they turn their heads towards the sun as sunflowers and how their petals are bright white the first day of bloom and turning to pink at tips every other day.


~ Sevenbeauty ~

1/1600 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

This photo is also first in my new series called simply “From meadows and fields” in which I would like to present various flowers blooming in our country on meadows and fields.

I see much more oxeye daisies everywhere this year comparing it to previous years and that’s good because they are beautiful flowers keeping their heads high in tall meadow grass. With not lawned meadows it’s quite tough to find pleasing composition with them though as they are often hidden deeply in grass so if you want to take photos of them you need to garden some unwanted stalls almost always. I really like oxeye daises and thus I had to photograph them this year also.


~ Daisy trio ~
1/1600 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I wanted more blossoms in frame and I was happy to separate these three. The colour version isn’t much pleasing though so I used a toning which results in much more pleasing image. Hope you like it.

This is all for today. One of next posts will be about poppies.

Have a wonderful 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.