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.



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.

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.

Intentional camera movement a.k.a. panning

12 06 2011

“In photography, panning refers to the horizontal movement or rotation of a still or video camera, or the scanning of a subject horizontally on video or a display device.” – Wikipedia

Panning  or basically any camera movement during exposure is one of techniques to which comes almost every photographer who gained some experience and wants to try “something different”. It produces varying results, some excellent, worth of hanging on wall, some not as good. A set up producing usually very good results is vertical panning in wood, I wrote about it in my post Pan in wood. As a flower photographer I tried this technique also with flowers and got very nice result shared in post Creativity..unlocked!

Simple panning, meaning vertical or horizontal movement is the most simple way with which probably everyone starts. After trying this you can continue with rotation, zoom, combination of movement and zoom… whatever you want. Bad thing about this technique is that results are often hardly predictable. It happens to me that I do the movements which resulted in good photos in past but they suddenly do not work. Is it a subject or is it only me? In such cases I usually try other movements such as already mentioned rotation. I think that following photo is nice example.

1/6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

On this shot I captured part of our meadow which blooms heavily every year. Unfortunatelly, I don’t know the name of the yellow flower (it’s not Dandelion or Ranunculus) but I know that those pink/violet spots are cloverleaf blossoms. In case of this technique (rotation) I get one decent photo on maybe 10-20. Sometimes it’s really hard to get desired composition when you need to move your camera so quickly.

When rotation technique fails, try whatever else. This past weekend I was trying to take some photos of our blooming lobelia pot but I wasn’t able to find decent composition with so many small blossoms so I tried panning. After several tries I came up with a photo which appeals to me.

1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

If I remember correctly, the movement which lead to this was crazy wobbling with camera from left to right so it’s absolutely impossible to repeat that movement again. I must say that I really like those bright lines and colours. It reminds me refractions of sunlight on water surface.

If you want to try something new, something original, something that results in interesting photos or if you just like what you see here, grab your camera and give it a try. If you will be patient, you will definitely get something very interesting even after your first tries.

I wish you a lot of fresh energy into the starting 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.


27 03 2011

Do you know that feeling when you think that you came up with a great idea just to find out that someone else not only had it earlier but also did something with it, used it to get some great results? I was thinking about my photography lately. I was thinking what could I try to create something really original. I was thinking about motion blur technique, perhaps about small series of photos from nature created by using this technique because I haven’t seen it much in use lately, if not counting some experimental work. Then I was visiting blogs of the photographers I am following and, after some time, also of those who I’m not following regularly such as Jim Goldstein and there I saw it. Whole series of fantastic photos created by motion blur (and not only) technique called Color fields!

I was also thinking about my flower photography and, again, what could I do to achieve a unique results. I was thinking about the flower photography in general. You know, flower photographers are sometimes offended that they try to create perfect photos, looking only for perfect flowers without spotted or ragged petals, in the most fresh state, just open at best. So I thought, what if I’ll try to make great photos also with flowers which are not perfect? Those faded or wet or ragged or however crippled. I saw creations from photographers trying this but what I saw was usually morbid rather than nice. And then I visited, again after some time, blog by Mike Moats where I noticed his “Finding character in…” posts such as this one about Gerbera daisy or this about Black Eyed Susan.  Mike has created a whole book about it! Got it?

Ok, it doesn’t mean that I can’t use these amazing shots by amazing photographers as inspiration but it mainly means that I need to think a bit harder. Maybe I’ll come up with something unique one day. Or maybe I’m just too young and naive.

Last drop. Two weeks ago my friend visited me and when he was looking through my printed “portfolio” (quite emphasized word for it) he stopped with one monochrome photo in his hand saying “Wow, this is great! It looks exactly like those photos from IKEA!”

~Tulip Dreams ~
1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

If you also have such a “down” moments in these days, hopefully this fresh spring photo can cheer you up a bit.

Enjoy spring!

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.

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.