Season of Irises

3 06 2012

A season of irises is here again as every year. For maybe 3 previous years I tried to photograph irises and never ended up with publishing-worthy images. This year I try again and I already have some hopefully decent photos which I dare to publish in this post.

Irises are interesting, very varying flowers spread almost worldwide. From short to tall, from smaller to bigger, from wild to cultivated, irises are one of the most frequent flowers in our gardens together with tulips and roses. Their colours vary from pure white to very dark, almost black varieties and multicoloured cultivars are common. Iris blossoms usually last several days but we can find differences also here as some are so fragile that even harsh sun, wind or rain harms them while other are still beautiful even after strong rain.

We had 3 varieties in previous years – fragile white/yellow, strong yellow/orange and quite fragile violet/yellow cultivar named “Mary Todd”. It seems that the strong variety haven’t survived last harsh winter and “Mary Todd” had only couple blossoms destroyed by rain very soon. The fragile white/yellow variety has been in great condition last weeks, having more than dozen blossoms so I waited for any opportunity to take photos of them. Some opportunities were ruined by bad weather but I managed to take couple photos during previous week and also during past weekend.

~ Iris Sprout ~
1/50 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

This variety has pronounced veining in lower petals and whole blossom plays with white and yellow hues. Blossoms are rather small and very fragile with thin petals which often become translucent after couple days or rain. Their days of this year are almost gone.

When looking for suitable composition I decided to take some details of these beautiful flowers as they are often depicted with whole blossoms in a frame. I named the photo above “Iris Sprout” because the “beard” looks like a new small plant to me. Actually, as I am looking at it now, it reminds me willow catkins.

I am aware of the photo being a bit dull but no matter how hard I tried I wasn’t able to process it so that the contrast would be still good, the brightest parts white and veining not too dark.

~ Irisfall ~
1/30 (1/8) sec @ 100 mm, f/4 (f/8), ISO 100

I like the “misty” look of this photo and therefore the name “Irisfall” as a version to waterfall. With water being falling in a waterfall it would be more correct to name this “Beardfall” but I like “Irisfall” more. Always when I watch this photo, it looks to me like the beard is rolling through a valley and falls down the steep bank, creating a mist which is raising above the fall and illuminating whole valley with gold. But maybe it’s only me, dwelling too much in worlds of fantasy.

To achieve a bit deeper DOF in area of beard I combined 2 images – shallow f/4 photo as a basis and f/8 photo from which I carefully transferred part of the beard.

I’m not sure if I will get to taking another photos of this iris yet this year but if not, then in next year, I guess. Fortunately, we bought another iris variety this year and it only starts blooming these days. It has unique apricot-orange colour, strong smell of grapefruits and it belongs to the strong varieties blossoming nicely even after hard rain. The flower is packed with buds so I guess that I’ll have enough fun with it. Actually, I hoped that a blossom will open during past weekend but it didn’t until Sunday evening and that was too late.

Have a nice week and … thanks Tracy for inspiration!

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, outdoors.

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