“Illuminate”

This image is part of my set of images from the flowering Quince Bonsai tree that I have posted on 500px, and my site. The day that I was shooting the Bonsai trees the sun happened to be shining really brightly, coming in at a strong mid afternoon angle.
After I had already done many other shots, I decided to just go with the flow of light, and let it totally surround and embrace the subject, the Quince Blossoms.
In the end I’m glad that I did. I feel it adds a light and beautiful air to the image. So bright that it feels like a summer’s day! Enjoy!

 Quince Blossoms
Quince Blossoms

“Cascading White” B&W

While doing some botanical photography recently I took a quick stop at the orchid section of the conservatory before heading to the desert climate area for some succulent images.
I thought I’d like to process these orchids in a strictly black and white form, giving them more of a contrast. They really came out with what I feel is a contrast of darkness and light in a very literal sense!
On 500px I uploaded a very similar image, although not the same one, but in color if you’d like to take a look at that.
So if you’re having a dark and rainy today like we are, and want some some black and white drama, here’s the image for you. All we need is a little thunder and lightening to go with it! 😉

 Orchids in monochrome

Orchids in monochrome

“Summer’s Snowflakes”

In today’s post I thought I’d take us back to a little bit of summer delight ( I know, summer seems a lifetime ago for some of us) LOL! Enjoy a lovely and delicate image of the humble Garlic Chive in bloom!

Quite a large patch of this beautiful flower that I call the snowflake of summer was growing on the outskirts of a an herb garden last summer. I grabbed a couple of shots back then. This image is the color version , but I also created a monochrome version, which while beautiful, didn’t seem quite right for today’s post.

As I gaze out my window while writing this, I see a single sign of spring. The grass is getting greener, but other that that, the north winds are blowing quite strong, and a cold front is here! Our temperatures have dropped like a rock! Who knows, there might even be a stray snowflake or two later in the night.

But for me, I can always look at a snowflake of a different kind. One that evokes the scents and feelings of a light and warm summer’s day. Maybe you might also be in need of a little bit of soft and beautiful summer feelings! If so take a look at this image, then close your eyes and imagine the scent of green plants, a field of delicate white flowers. The sound of birds chirping, and butterflies flitting from one flower to another. Take a deep breath, then exhale slowly.

Are you relaxed now? If not, then try it again. Just remember summer isn’t far off……… oh yea, I forgot, we have to get to spring first! 😉

Anyway, It will be here soon enough, for now though I’m wishing everyone a warm (even if only on the inside) , safe, and wonderful spring weekend!! 🙂

-Summer's Snowflakes-

“Sunlit Fern”

Quite often as many of you also probably do. I process an image in more than one way. Sometimes it may be variations of clarity, vibrance, removal of noise, etc. Other times, as in the case of this image, it was a conversion from color, to monochrome, than back to color again. I started with a very sunlit fern with quite direct overhead lighting, which was pretty harsh.

When I decided to process it, after messing around in color, I felt it really worked better in monochrome. I played around with it using solarization, but decided against that. I processed using settings in Lightroom, Nik Color Efex Pro, and then Nik Silver Efex Pro with a final toning in selenium for the first image.

At first I was going to leave well enough alone and have just the monochrome version, but then I got a hankering to go back and re-process the original color one also. I again used a combination of Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro. What I came out with is a very vibrant and leafy green bit of fern fronds.

I like both versions equally as well, but in different ways. Which one do you like better? Which one gives you the feeling you’d like to see when thinking about ferns? Feel free to let me know your thoughts! 🙂

A Fern in monochrome.
A Fern in monochrome.
A Fern in full color.
A Fern in full color.

“Solarization: A How To”

After doing several images recently, that were monochromatic in nature. I was asked by quite a few people just how I made the images. I thought I’d give a short explanation of what I did with this image.

This will give you a idea and an example of what you could achieve using this particular method in monochrome. This can be used in color also, but I was going for something very different in an abstract, and chose to go with monochrome.

In this first image of the lovely succulent, what I assume is a type of Aloe Vera. I initially imported in into Lightroom, made no adjustments at all, but sent it directly into Nik Color Efex Pro. There I gave it a standard tonal contrast, and boosted the highlights and saturation a bit. I then used the Solarization setting. I scrolled down to the first setting in monochrome in the row, (after already having experimented previously with other settings). I slid the slider for saturation from 50 back to 20, and then experimented with the time lapse slider setting until I was satisfied at 39. Doing this gave me what I wanted in general. I knew all it needed was just a bit more fine tuning.

I then sent it back into Lightroom and straight into Nik Silver Efex Pro on the standard setting. I then took the brightness and toned it down to -8, I changed the contrast by sliding the slider down to -4, and then boosted the structure just a bit up to +8. At that point I knew it was ready for some toning. I chose to go with number 4 Selenium. I like the Selenium a lot for certain images. It has a nice metallic shininess to it!

Finally after sending it back into Lightroom for the last time, I boosted the clarity up by +22, and the vibrance by +1, I also took the exposure down to -0.05. My image was then ready to export!

So, in the first image “Thorns of White”, you’ll see a pretty Aloe Vera plant of green, with red tips, and white spines or thorns growing all over it, almost like little teeth!

In the final version in which I had used solarization, the image is called “Thorns of Black”. As you can see it took on an almost metallic and shiny feel to it, with a smoother look in general. Also the thorns, or spines became black, which gives it a nice contrast!

I hope you enjoy these images. I certainly had a lot of fun working with them!!

Succulent- color version
Succulent- color version
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.

“Octopus” mono

Well, when you look at this image you’ll probably guess that this is not an actual octopus. I decided to have a little fun and do a some experimenting in processing an Aloe Vera image.

Ideally I should show you the original and then this processed one, but I’m saving that for another time.

I was at our local conservatory a couple of weeks ago, and spent most of my time in the arid, desert climate section. One of the plants I took several shots of was an Aloe Vera.

I first took the image from Lightroom into Nik Color Efex Pro, where I added some toning and brilliance. Then I applied the solarization setting in a monochrome, and pushed the timelapse slider way past 50%. I’m not quite sure of the exact number right now.

I then sent it back into Lightroom bumped up the clarity a bit, and sent it into Nik Silver Efex Pro, where I did some fine tuning and added a selenium tone to it.

I really like the way it turned out. I know its not for everyone, but for something a bit different, and a pretty big take on an abstract in nature, I think it works well, and it does resemble an octopus!! 🙂

I hope you enjoy the image!!

Abstract Photography
Abstract Photography

“Bearing Winter’s Weight”

You know, whenever it snows I have two thoughts in my mind. One is hmmmm I need to go out somewhere and capture some of that beauty on camera. The other is lets go have some fun in the snow, like skiing or sledding.

Well the snow you see in this image was one of those from a storm that brings in really wet snows. The kind that starts out as sleet and rain, gets really windy, then dumps a bunch of snow that clings to everything!!

It’s really beautiful to look at, gorgeous to capture, but not good for much else, especially when it brings down power lines, trees, and also melts rather quickly.

The weight of the snow on these trees and bushes was quite a load. Everything was drooping. As I sloshed through the extremely wet snow and water, big blobs of melting snow would come off of a tree and plop on the ground all around me. I knew I had to work quickly to get in some shots, and to prevent my camera from becoming covered in wet snow!!

This path seemed very inviting as I walked along. It turned out to be quite a bit more messy than I anticipated, but at least I captured the beauty and magic of it all before it melted into oblivion!!

So for now…… enjoy this little bit of Winter Wonderland, and keep thinking thoughts of spring, because it’s heading our way soon, and these little tastes of winter will only be distant memories!!

-Bearing Winter's Weight-

“Green Green Grass”

In keeping with the theme of my last post I wanted to bring another motion blur abstract. It’s a lovely yet simple green image. It appears to be an image of beautiful windblown grass, and that’s exactly how I see it. You may see something else.
It was made in the same way with as I discussed before. Slower shutter speed, and motion while keeping the shutter open.
I usually use nature as my subject as I did in this case. It just might not be what you think it is! That’s the beauty and strength of an abstract!! 🙂

Flowing, light filled, green abstract!
Flowing, light filled, green abstract!

“Sky Down”

For all of those who now have 2-3 feet of snow dumped on their area, and those who have seen their share of storms and clouds this winter. I thought you might be in need of a taste of summer again.

This image is pure summer! A huge cornfield with beautiful blue sky and clouds above it, a sky so big that it looks like the clouds are just swooping down!

So for now, I want those that are ready for spring, those that are ready for winter to be over, and those in need of a bright sunny day to just take a minute.

Look at this image and think……. warm temperatures, a soothing breeze, the scent of corn and soil. The sight of intense blue skies, and beautiful clouds……. Ahhh…..
Now close your eyes, keep this image in your head. Take a few deep breaths and just relax! 😉

Ok, So… that’s all for today. I hope this gave you a glimmer of hope of a new day dawning, and the end to a long cold winter, for those that feel that way!
For everyone else. Let’s get out and go enjoy the snow! :))

Reminders of summer!!
Reminders of summer!!

“Sparkling Orange”

I guess I’m switching gears so to speak from auto photos, back to nature! 🙂 I’m in the middle of processing wayyyy to many photos from the auto show, so I thought I’d bring us back to nature tonight. To a little bright and lively color!

An orange and creamy white Amaryllis in full bloom. This is one of many images from a conservatory that was featuring many types of Amaryllis at the time. These are bulb flowers, and make a great showing during the winter here. Inside of course! 😉

Just think, it probably won’t be too many more months till we can all get outside again, and drink in the beauty of the earth, and all it has to offer! 🙂

For now though, we shall be satisfied with whatever we can find of beauty, or interest and In truth all we need to do is look, and we’ll find something wonderful that grabs our attention and then we can’t resist the urge to get out the camera, and have some fun!!

I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment! 🙂

Brilliant Orange and cream Amaryllis!!
Brilliant Orange and cream Amaryllis!!