It’s time to come back home and add a couple more images from our Heatherwood garden. I used to think thistles were just weeds, but we decided to plant a couple of different varieties in our meadow. This one is planted between white daisies and yellow yarrow. It provides a nice contrast in the meadow. With the hot temperatures (>100 degrees) these thistles have quickly bloomed then lost their color. To accentuate the artistic flair of the thistles, I added a little Georgia O’Keeffe impressionism to it.
As the temperatures hover in the high 90’s, our new meadow continues to display a variety of color. I long to be able to get our among the flowers and become one with my camera and the beautiful blooms. For the next several weeks, I will need to be content with viewing alongside and from above. Patience is not one of my strongest virtues.
We just finished carving out and planting a new meadow in the lower section of Heatherwood. The colors are already bursting out for its first summer season. Reds, purples, yellows, blues, oranges, and all different shades of greens are scattered about. We have a lot of bark covered ground showing through most of the areas. It will take a few years for the perennials to fill in. We have patience and are enjoying the individual plants as each one breaks into bloom. Hopefully we will have a flow of changing color throughout the summer and early fall. This is just a start. We will record the activity of the meadow and adjust as we go along. It will also be a “Never Ending Journey.”
I created this image today. It was my first time out photographing since I had my foot operation. I’ve been hobbling around for the past three plus weeks. I still can’t put any weight on my foot, so I got a little creative and hopped on my lawn mower and drove around our new garden meadow. I stopped and recorded many images from above. Getting the best perspective and composition was very difficult, and sometimes impossible. But, I just had to get out with my camera. When I started processing the images, I noticed that they were all a little out of focus. I guess the high frequency vibration of the lawn mower didn’t help my unsteady hand. So, I decided to cheat a little and convert the images into a blurred impressionistic versions. Thank you Topaz!
I have been to Longwood Garden’s orchid display dozens of times. On a recent visit I wandered through looking for a different way to capture the beauty of the display. I thought a double exposure of some orchids rotated about 45 degrees might be interesting. I added a little Topaz Impression to achieve the final result. It is a bright image to start a bright new September. Have a good one!
I enjoy experimenting from time to time. It inspires me to look a little deeper.
Wildflowers – Snow Mountain Ranch, Cowiche, Washington
I took a day to explore and photograph wildflowers. I tried to capture both the overall feel of the large masses of flowers and their place in the countryside as well as individual vignettes of little scenes of flowers and interesting subjects.
This image I attempted to capture the field of bright wildflowers set against the green hillsides covered with sage brush and bunch grass and the interesting clouds in the background. My objective was to capture the feel of the beautiful, cloudy, peaceful day.
Today is a special day. It is a day to celebrate the wonderful life Karen and I had together. What a better way to celebrate than to take a nice walk and enjoy the wildflowers of early Spring. It was a beautiful day. The hills were covered with brilliant wildflowers … yellow, pink, purple, blue and the lush green of spring grasses. Peace surrounded me. It was a wonderful time to reflect on our lives and what is right in this world.
Canon 7D MkII, EF 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro @ f/8.0, 1/640 sec, ISO 400
As I was coming in from my morning shoot of our garden, I saw these two blooms intermingled in a clump of white and yellow daffodils. They reminded me of two close friends , one whispering in the other’s ear.
I cannot recall how many times that I have been getting ready to put my camera away for the shoot when that one last image pops up in front of me. It seems to be one of my most alert times. On multiple occasions, this last image is my select from the whole shoot.
Lesson Learned: Always be ready for the image to come to you!
Canon 5D MkIII, EF 180mm Macro 3.5L – Multiple Exposure
These purple crocuses came out two days after the white ones. They do so every year. The white crocuses come out with a few blooms first, followed by the rest a couple days later. The purple crocuses seem to come out all at once. I was lucky with a couple of nice warm days when the blooms emerged. The last couple of days have been cold and rainy. The crispness of the flowers are now gone.
For Lexie: The way this image was achieved is different from the white crocus image in my post a few days ago. Large telephoto lenses have a narrow depth of field. My target here was to get enough depth of field to capture detail in the nearest petal, the center, and the farthest petal of the nearest bloom. It took an aperture setting of f/16 to achieve this. However, using this aperture also pulled in detail from the background flowers. I then took an image with the widest aperture (f/3.5) of my lens which only captured the center of the nearest flower in focus. The edges of the bloom and all the background blooms were not in focus. To make sure the images would line up when I processed them, I used a tripod.
Back on my computer, I combined the f/3.5 and f/16 images into a multiple exposure using Photoshop’s layers. The background layer was the sharp f/16 image. The second layer was the f/3.5 image. I added a layer mask to the second layer and “painted” through the nearest bloom of the f/16 flower. I then lightened the sharp bloom and darkened the edges to get the final image.
These small 3/4 inch blooms are great targets for Macro photography. In recent years I have not spent much time doing macros. Macro’s in our garden usually require getting down on my hands and knees or on my stomach to get face to face with the object of interest. I am not as flexible as I use to be and am reluctant to get down in that position. But these jewels just begged me to do it … so I did.
For Lexie: When I take an image, I always try to specify what my subject is. My next step is to enhance the subject as much is possible. Then I try to reduce any clutter that may distract from the subject.
For this image my subject was the “mouth” of the single blossom, not any surrounding petals. To enhance the image I used a 180 mm telephoto macro lens focusing on the interior mouth of the bloom. I used a very small aperture to make sure I got as much of the bloom in focus as I could. In addition, I tilted the camera to get a more interesting perspective of the blossom.
The negative ramification of the small aperture was that I also picked up details surrounding the single bloom as clutter. To eliminate the surrounding clutter, I darkened and desaturated the background in post processing. In addition I added a blur to the mid-ground purple petals.
For reference, below is the SOC version of the image.