Flowers For Valentine’s Day – Part Two

I’ll finish up the set of flowers for Valentine’s Day. Normally I like to break these things up but my schedule has been hectic and these are already edited and ready to go so I’m going with it.

This set is actually when I first started to shoot the US Botanic Garden Conservatory. When I bring stuff into Photoshop it goes from the last photo I brought in to the first. So I work backwards. I was too lazy to sequence them yesterday since it was a quick upload. In the end it works out as these are the ones I really struggled with getting the camera tuned in and the flash to work.

Editing wise nothing special. Usual local adjustments with dodge and burn. Put the tone curve in to add contrast and done.



Flowers For Valentine’s Day – Part One

I had a request for flowers. It turns out I had recently shot some while I went on an adventure to the US Botanic Garden Conservatory.

The entire reason I went to Botanic Garden Conservatory was to test out a couple lenses, a camera, and a flash I own. I had purchased a Sigma 24-70 2.8 and I had a Sigma 50mm macro to test. So I put them on a recently acquired Sony A7ii along with a Newer Flash for Sony I had bought last year. The inside can be dark and I the A7ii with it stabilization mixed in with the flash seemed to be a good test.

I wasn’t sure how these images came out. The flash absolutely struggled the entire time. It got so hot it just shutdown. I had to let it cool and then fire it back up just to shut down again. I was far from stressing it too. Might be good for periodic use but sustained use it was all but useless.

I won’t blame some of the motion blur in these images solely on the flash. The A7ii is just smaller and lighter than my A7R or my Nikon D810 so balance with the flash was interesting. I’m mainly going to use it for video work but I will get a battery grip for it. The lenses performed fine and for being adapted lenses I was pleased with the results.

Editing wise nothing fancy. Just curves adjustments and dodging and burning for local adjustments. They are flowers, I don’t want to go too wild on them.



Summer Blossoms

Not feeling in the mood to edit a landscape I went ahead and fell back to something I can edit in my sleep and without a lot of thought – flowers. I shot these while walking to work and figured I might as well edit them. I am going to do a few series in the upcoming days and I might as well get used to multiple edits, not the flowers require a whole lot of time or effort from me.

For inquiring minds all these were shot on my Canon S100. I really like using a compact for flower photos because you are far more agile with the smaller camera than a DSLR. You can easily put the camera where you want it without a lens hanging off it.

One of the little tricks I have learned with a compact is just put the camera in P mode and let it do its own thing. You get far better pictures out of it because the camera has been programed as a point-and-shoot. The only time you need to override it is when you know the camera isn’t reading the light conditions correctly.

Not much editing wise. A lot of these are straight out of the camera with a bit of sharpening thrown in for fun.


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This is some piece of art that is installed at the National Harbor. It’s mainly used as a play area for kids as they climb all over it and play in the sand that was installed to hold the statue. When I took this shot the park police had closed it down for the night so I was able to get a clear shot of the statue without lots of kids running around.

Not sure how I feel about the edit. I have been struck down with some virulent form of man flu that has seen me barely leave the safety of my sick bed. The weird thing is I have no idea how I caught it but it has laid me low. So when it came time to edit I was leaning towards not doing one. I knew I wanted something quick and easy and I knew when I took this shot it was going to be monochrome. Did the conversion in Lightroom then brought it into Photoshop and added the curves adjustment and dodging and burning. Then I started to play with filters till I said enough and my sick bed called once again. Sounds like a lot but honestly was done in 15 min.

Full resolution.



Drips and Drops

It’s been raining here in the Washington DC area the last few days. The usual thunderstorms as the weather tries to figure out what the hell it wants to do. Since I walk to and from work and have a camera I figured why not shoot some of the drops I see when I am walking in. Plus it gives me an excuse of not to rush in and sit in my office for a bit longer.

All these images were shot yesterday with my Sony RX100M3. I put the camera in macro mode and went at it. The annoying thing about the RX100M3 is you have to shift to scene mode then select macro. It’s not intuitive at all. I guess that’s why they market it as a photo enthusiast’s compact because you will be enthusiastically cursing the damn thing as you try and find macro mode.

Nothing fancy on the edits other than I was all over the place crop wise. I figured what the hell, make it interesting. Pumped a lot of contrast into them because plants just look better with them. Then some subtle dodging and burning and calling it done.

Here is the generic link to the full resolution. Too many to do individually.


PS – The last one has no water. I just threw it in because it was there.



Details In Abstract – Part 1

When I originally went to the US Botanic Gardens I went to shoot the leaves and other interesting non-flower bits. I knew it would be in monochrome and in an abstract type way. When you shoot monochrome you bring out the features that often aren’t visible in color.

Post processing these images was done as usual. Moved them into Photoshop and went from there. I really tried to highlight the features of each image to and let it speak for itself.


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Monochromatic Blooms

I didn’t want to use flowers in the title. Blooms sounds more artful? Plus some people will find what I did sacrilege because I took perfectly good looking flowers from color to monochromatic.

The reason for the monochromatic conversion was that there was something wrong with the images in color. With the conversion to monochrome you get a lot more detail out of the flower and you see the underlying patterns that color tends to obscure.

I tried to keep the key consistent on these images but as I indicated sometimes the light didn’t cooperate with me. I am not a strobist by any stretch of the imagination so mixing in flash and trying to control it was something of a challenge for me. So when I processed these I tried to hide the fact as best as I could.


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Secret Garden – Part 5

Wrapping up the flower photos for those post

To be honest after editing this many flower images in one post it wore me out. I am not a fan of similar edits unless its a paying job and even then I could live without them. There is a monotony about a similar style that makes you want to just give it over with. So if the images start to degrade assume its just me having enough of looking at flowers.


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Secret Garden – Part 4

Flower warning in effect. The next two days will be nothing but flowers as I finished the edits. I don’t think I will ever do that many flowers in one sitting again. That was torture on a grand scale.

I do like how the flash worked to really allow me to get the details out of the flowers. While not always perfect I was able to achieve a decent shutter speed and have light. I also think not using a macro lens also helped. With my macro I tend to just shove it into the middle of the flower and hope for the best. With the 40-150mm (80-300mm) I was able to still get in close but be far enough away for the flash to work its magic.


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Secret Garden – Part 3

Another round of flower photos! I would write about them more but I honestly don’t remember them much as I edited them all last week to have everything ready for posting. I did this so that when I returned from Costa Rica I didn’t have to rush an edit job.

I’ll return to more normal editing tomorrow now that I am home on my larger screens and usual editing tools.


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