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.

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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.





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.





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.





Daylilies 2010

18 10 2010

I thought that when the reconstruction of our living will be nearing to its end I will have more time and thoughts to focus on photography. I was wrong. Workers are slowly finishing what they are paid for but I still can’t get thoughts on our new living place out of my head. I am still thinking about furniture we are going to buy, about colours and about schedule for necessary finishing touches.

So, here are some photos of daylilies I took this year and had no time to process earlier. Photos were taken sometime in July. I really hope to put my old photo shoes on soon 🙂

1/500 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

1/400 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I hope you like them and if you do, feel free to see my daylily photos from previous year here.

Enjoy the colourful fall!

Technical information: both photos were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod under natural conditions.





Flower HDR

26 09 2010

Have you ever thought of taking a flower photo in HDR (for those of you unfamiliar with this technique, read basics here)? You may ask why you should even think about it when you can create lighting conditions which allow you to take great photo with a single shot. Well, one reason might be that lighting conditions will NOT always allow you to take the photo with a single shot, for example when you are visiting botanique garden and the flowers which enchanted you are on full sun, or you may simply want to try something new.

Mine was the second reason and so inspired by fantastic photos by world wide known photographer and author of many books about photography – Harold Davis, I tried this technique on roses which I bought to my wife yesterday. Some of them had  really wonderful swirls inside buds and first I tried some classic single shots like this one:

~ Rose Labyrinth ~
2.5 sec @ 100 mm, F/10, ISO 100

Even though the lighting conditions were great (taken indoors in natural light, overcast outside) I tried 3 bracketed shots with 1EV step between them This resulted into 3 photos with -1, 0 and 1 EV. Then I took the photos to Photoshop and combined them using layers and different blending modes and opacity. I was pretty surprised by the results and pleased by it at the same time.

~ Rose Labyrinth HDR ~
3 images at 1.3, 2.5 and 5 sec. @ 100m, F10, ISO 100

I like how the shadows deepened and how the colour changes from yellow to red at some places. I think it gives the photo original look. What do you think?

Enjoy the upcoming Fall!

Technical information: all photos were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm macro USM lens, mounted to tripod, indoors, under natural conditions.