“Crystal Plumage”

The title of this post might seem a bit strange when you see this first photograph of some beautiful yet very simple leaves on a row of plants. In fact, I have no idea what these plants are.

I had originally gone out looking for some late summer flowers. Unfortunately it turned out to be a pretty windy day. The few flowers that I found weren’t very cooperative in the wind.

As I went around to the other side the garden I found rows of these leaves. They had a really nice flow to them. My first inclination, after making one simple photograph was to do a long exposure and have a nice motion blur effect. I made three photographs using different exposures.

My favorite out of the ones I made was the second image you’ll see here. It had just the right silky flow that I envisioned in my mind.

Please scroll down to see that image and also the image that gave me the idea for the title to this post.

These are beautiful leaves by themselves with a nice flow.

"Long Leaves"
“Long Leaves”

In this image I used a slightly longer exposure to blur the motion and give it a soft, silky, and flowing feel.

"Ride the Wind"
“Ride the Wind”

What I did in this next image is a different story altogether.

"Crystal Plumage"
“Crystal Plumage”

After I had processed the previous photograph in Lightroom, I decided to reprocess it again in Lightroom for a totally different effect.
I played around with solarization a bit, which I have done many times before with certain types of plants, especially succulents and cactus. However I almost always process these in monochrome.                                                              This time as I was trying out the different colors and effects, I found that I really liked the way the blur of leaves took on a look of bird plumage! Maybe some exotic bird from a far away location! The colors are of course totally unlike the original, but to me they looked like Crystal Plumage!

So if  you are a Lightroom user, but haven’t yet tried out the solarization panel,  I advise you to give it a try for something really fun and different!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos! 🙂

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“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.