Dilemma of processing (Marigold post)

4 09 2012

Maybe you know this, too. You take photos but you don’t have time to process them all, you take new ones and the older ones stack on your hard disk. I try to process photos soon enough but I have always some older photos while taking the newest. And those newest ones are always most alluring, stealing most of my thoughts and photography mind so it’s really hard to get to processing older photos. On the other hand I like some older photos so much that I’m dragged to them also. It’s like an eternal struggle in my mind. To make it even more complicated sometimes some older so-far-unprocessed photo stuck in my head calling for processing all the time but I don’t know HOW to process it. I know what the results should look like, what atmosphere I want to put in it but the “how” comes after some time usually. After months sometimes. Anyway, I must say that the discipline and order win mostly and I process photos from the oldest ones as it was also with these marigold photos. How do you do it? What is your approach?

~ Marigold Fan ~
1/13 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8 (+f/8), ISO 100

Marigolds, from genus Tagetes, are very common garden flowers where I live. You can find them almost in every garden or even in pots on balconies through cities. People like them even though they don’t smell very nice what lead people to call them commonly as “smelies” or “stinkies”. To me the smell is not so unpleasant but it is very strong and persisting. I never had any interest in these low-grade flowers (how I perceived them) until maybe 2 years back. By then I started to look at them for their look itself and I started to like them mostly for their colours and various blossom structures. There is not a big variety in colours, mostly they are in hues of yellow through orange to red but what I like the most is the contrast between edges of petals and the rest of petals like it is in photos in this post.

~ Tiny Harpoons ~
1/30 sec. @ 100 mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

But it’s not only edges of petals what makes these flowers look interesting, some blossoms have also greatly detailed centers as it is in photo above (click on it to see all details in larger format).

The official czech name for this flower is “Aksamitník” which could be translated to English as something like “velveteen flower” as the root of the czech name is “aksamit” = “velveteen”. I guess that the name comes from the structure of the petals and how smooth they are on touch. There is even one more informal name we use for this flower which could be translated as “an African” with the same meaning as a person born in Africa but spelled differently. When I did small research on these flowers I found out that some sources state Mexico as a land of origin to these flowers, while other sources state USA and South America and some even Africa. According to wikipedia one Tagetes specie, Tagetes minuta, “is now a naturalized species in Africa, Hawaii, and Australia, and is considered an invasive species – weed in some regions.” So our common name “an African” is strongly misleading. Still it is the mostly used.

~ Blues and Oranges ~
1/30 sec @ 100 mm, f/2.8 (+f/4), ISO 100

Marigold is not only pretty flower, it has much wider use. As it supposedly deter some insect pests it is planted together with some vegetables for which insect pests have weakness. Such a vegetable is tomato, potato, egg-plant and others. You probably wouldn’t guess that essential oil gained from Tagetes minuta is used in perfume industry and even as a flavouring in food and tobacco industries. A colouring gained from Tagetes erecta is used in European Union in food industry while in USA it is approved only as a colouring for poultry feed. Interesting, isn’t it?

Now few words about the photos accompanying this post. The first one is about colour contrast between edges of petals and the rest of petals as well as about structure of petals which in some species resembles a fan. The second photo is about centre of the blossom and even though I like photos with higher contrast and darker tones, I think that this little bit washed out processing suits it well. The most difficult part of processing was unification of background which was slightly green and the stem of the flower which was slightly blue. Third photo is again about petal edges but also about structure of  whole blossoms of Tagetes patula. The blueish stem is left here as it nicely stands out against flowers in background. I really like this orange-blue combination as it is not commonly seen in nature. The last photo is a square crop of the third one. In case of first and third photo I used 2 photos for the final result – a photo with shallow DOF as a basis and a photo with higher f-stop number for sharper details in the edges.

Let me know which photo you like most and why.

Enjoy the coming indian summer!





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.





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.





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.





Macro abstracts of Freesia? No way.

13 05 2011

At least that’s what I always thought. I told myself that freesia blossoms lack details to be good subject for macro photos and they are too small to stand as models for abstract shots, I thought. When my wife got a bouquet of freesias a week ago I wasn’t realy interested until I saw them in beautiful warm evening light shining thru them. I grabbed a camera and looked for some compositions with magnification ratio set very near to 1:1 and what I saw simply amazed me. I took one, two, three photos, all great to me and I suddenly realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong thinking that freesias can’t be good subject for macro or abstract photography! I set up my tripod and my first indoors evening shooting session started.

Here is the first photo from it. Please, click on photos below to see them in bigger resolution. It is much better.

1/6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I really like how those stamens(?) look like a star symbol or a symbol from china alphabet.

Do you know that feeling when you take a photo, check it on camera’s LCD and you really like it already? You “KNOW” that this is something very good? That’s what I felt when I saw all the photos from this post on camera’s LCD. I really, really like them and I wonder what will be your reactions.

Ok, let’s take a look at another photo.

~ Floating Camel ~
1/8 sec. @ 100mm, f/4,  ISO 100

Can you see the camel? 🙂 This photo works well also upside down and I think that it would make great diptych with previous one.

I was simply mesmerized by those colours beautifully blending to each other. Freesias has many blossoms on one stem and even those can vary in colour. Every blossom is unique and it gives endless possibilities to a photographer. The bouquet contained also simply yellow and white blossoms but these weren’t so interesting for me. I rather worked with those having multiple colours like the next one.

1/15 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

This is a crop from original photo created by cropping it from sides. I thought that in this case extension rings would be handy.

So, that’s it for today. I am already looking forward having another photo session with freesias, hopefully it will be soon.

Enjoy weekend and let me know your opinions on these photos.

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.





Photogenic subjects in nature

12 12 2009

If you are waiting for next photos of the orange bush presented in previous post, don’t be afraid, your waiting is at its end. After your warm responses to previously posted image I opened it again in LR and adjusted a bit accordingly to your suggestions and suggestions of other fellow photographers. The most of you suggested a bit lighter background and less tight frame. I wasn’t very happy with the frame either so here is updated version. The background is not so saturated and a bit lighter, frame disappeared and a slight vignetting was applied. What do you think now?

1/200 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

I would like to write about more or less photogenic subjects in nature now. Have you ever wondered how is it possible that some subjects draws your attention more than the others? Have you ever realized that you can take several great photos of one subject while none or only one in case of another subject? Some subjects literally draws your attention and you just find another and another wonderful compositions while it is extremely hard to find a single suitable composition of other subject no matter how hard you try. Do you have the same experience or is it only something in me?

Anyway, this red/orange shrub was of the first class, I was finding another and another compositions and all of them looked pretty well through the viewfinder. Well, reality is a bit different when you download all the files to your computer but still I ended up with 3 images which I liked. The first one is above and here is the second one.

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

If I’m really attracted by such colourful subject and I already took a certain number of photos I sometimes “switch” to abstract mode and I look for some compositions where colours and shapes could create something interesting. In this case I wanted to achieve a wash out colours. I wanted it to look like painted with water colours. If I passed or failed is up to your consideration.

The third and last image was taken with similar intention as the previous one but with an idea to have at least something in focus and the rest only as shapes. I wasn’t very happy with the colour version because of greenish background so I tried some enhancements in LR and was satisfied with Antique Grayscale preset.

1/160 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

Technical information: all the images were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USm macro lens under natural conditions (autumn sun light, slight wind). All post-processing was done in Adobe Lightroom 2.5.

It’s a very long time since I gave some advice here and now is a good time for one: never be satisfied with the image you wanted to take. Try to examine the subject as much as you can, try different f-stops, compositions, lightning conditions, try to exploit as much of the subject as posible. I guarantee you that you’ll be surprised with some results.

That’s all for today, have a nice weekend and enjoy the Christmas preparations!





Impression in Japanese style… ?

8 12 2009

When I spent a weekend with my family in the mountains 2 weeks ago shooting oak leaves from previous post I was attracted by interesting bush, unknown to me, with very thin branches and tiny thin spear shaped leaves. The bush had amazing variety of autumnal colours from yellow through orange to red. I took a couple of photos (well, around 40, I guess) as sun shone through the leaves and a slight wind was playing with them. Here is one of the photos. When I post-processed it I played with vignette settings in LR 2.5 a bit and I came with a setting that reminded me those simple Japanese Zen drawings usually drawn with black ink and brush.

1/200 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

Technical information: the photo was taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM lens under natural conditions, hand held.

What do you think? Is the orange too prominent? Is it too tight? Does it evoke any feelings?

I will post some other photos of this bush next time.

Enjoy the first snow where you already have it! (We have only rain, fogs and cold 😦 )