Portland Roses – Part 1

It’s my Mom’s birthday today. She would be the one that comments everyday on every post. She often times mentions that I should have more flowers. I often respond offline that I am not a flower photographer. They were great when I first started in photography but not so much now. I periodically take pictures of them and throw them up on the site to make her happy.

It it with great fanfare that I held these images back from when I was in Portland in May. I had the opportunity to go to the Portland Rose Garden which is free and open to the public. I never knew Portland, Oregon was that into roses but apparently they have a huge festival every year. So before I flew down to San Diego I went with a group and shot a bunch of photos. It seemed a better idea than sitting in a hotel bar or an airport bar.

If you are a lover of roses you are going to like this. Think there are 28 images total and I’ll split them up into 2 parts. I was very basic on the edits simply because there was so many to process. I kept it simple and if there were imperfections on the roses they stayed because to clean up that many images would have been a nightmare. The one good thing I do now versus when I started with flowers is I use gradients and do localized contrast adjustments. This means I don’t get weird background behind the flowers. By using the gradients I can keep the focus on the flower.

Most of these were shot with my Sony A7R and the 24-240mm with a few shot with my Sony RX100M3.


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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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Portland Flowers

Not feeling much like editing from a lot of things coming at me I go with the one thing I can edit in my sleep, flowers. So I present just some of the images I shot of flowers while I was in Portland. These were taken while we were waiting for a table at the restaurant called Pok Pok in Portland. They had a cool system where they just send a text to your phone when your table is ready. So the group I was with took a wander and we all stopped and took pictures of this yard that was overflowing with flowers.

Not much going on editing wise. They are flowers. Simple contrast adjustment using a tone curve, a wee bit of a dodge and burn then calling it down. Gotta love flowers for keeping the editing simple!



Flowers Squared

The beloved flowers return. These were shot at Brookside Gardens during my foray there. Nothing fancy just me and the Nikon D810 with a Sigma 24-105 4.0 lens.

I’ll be truthful about not really wanting to edit much so I picked the flowers since I can knock them out in a hurry. I did the edits in Lightroom and only did a bit of the old dodge and burn in Photoshop. I will admit to the fact that I maybe did a mask on these to bring out the flowers details but it was a quick one. So nothing overly fancy was done. As for the square crop, they just felt better that way. Hence the title.

Here is a generic link to the full resolutions.


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Tulips Anyone?

I had a request for some flowers so I figured why not get out and shoot some while the weather was reasonable. Little did I know I would venture out to a large regional park that was celebrating an extended Earth Day. The hippie drumming circle was only mildly annoying. I did think of South Park and how to save the town they had to play Slayer to get rid of the hippie infestation. It was tempting considering I have Slayer’s Repentless album on my phone. What put me over the edge was the acoustic duo that were playing Earth Day songs. I did hear them say they were going to do a song called Sweet Beet and I was getting excited thinking it might be a Earth Day version of Black Sabbath’s Sweet Leaf (figure that one out). Sadly it wasn’t. It was then I started to pack up the gear.

For inquiring minds on where I encountered all this Earth Day goodness and hippies I was at Brookside Gardens in Silver Spring, Maryland. I had never been there before and it’s my new local park. I would shoot before at Meadowlark Gardens in Fairfax, Virginia. I think without the Earth Day stuff it would not have been bad and I did get a lot of good shots. I will likely be back when it quieter.

I took the Nikon D810 out with the Sigma 24-105 Art out. I also had the Nikon 70-200 2.8 (I thought it was a 4.0 so go me!) and a 50mm 1.8. I kept the 24-105 on the entire time and was very pleased with how it performed. As for the the camera itself there is a huge learning curve on it but the more I use it the more I am happy I bought it. The resolution on these images is amazing. I won’t even talk about the dynamic range on it either. I am just very pleased with what I have produced with it so far. Once I link to the high resolution of these images I strongly recommend looking at them.

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Walk on the Mild Side

I attended a birthday celebration on Tuesday and since it was close to where I live I tossed my Canon S100 in my pocket and walked up to the restaurant. Along the way I saw that some of the tulips survived so I figured I might as well take some shots. Hence the title, walk on the mild side since it wasn’t so wild and crazy other than some tulip photography. I did throw in one shot off my Sony RX100 that I took on the way home from work but its still a tulip so might as well toss it in.

Nothing fancy here. Just straight up flower edits making the colors look good. I do find myself using Photoshop to add a bit more punch through the tone curve then dodging and burning in lab mode. That way I preserve the color I got in Lightroom and just enhance it.

Full resolution here.


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Tip Toe Through The Tulips

I was out and about in the unseasonably cold weather the DC area is experiencing. Nothing says fun like getting smacked in the face with freezing rain as you walk home to make you feel alive.

Still I managed to stop and take a few shots of some tulips that somehow have lived through the freezing temperatures that have hit the area. I had a much better camera with me but I was too lazy to dig it out of my bag so instead I grabbed my Olympus TG-4 which is a “tough” camera and I figured it could handle the abuse. Granted the other camera and lenses are weather sealed but I think I mentioned the word lazy.

The one thing about the Olympus TG-4 is that its a 2/3″ sensor so pushing the processing envelope isn’t going to happen because the file isn’t going to handle it. So you more or less leave it alone with some minor tweaks out of the camera. None of these images were overly processed and I tossed more than I kept simply because of the camera itself and the sensor limitations. Still, I got some keepers so I’m happy.

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First Sign of Spring

It’s gotten warm here in Washington DC. That means stuff is starting to bloom as the days get longer and the world warms the hell up finally. Don’t worry, I’ll complain about soul sucking heat and humidity as the year progresses.

I have no idea what type of tree this is. My botanical naming convention is tree with white flowers in front of building. I think its simple and straight forward. No need to get bogged down with real science.

All these were shot on my new toy also know as the Canon S100. I wanted a truly pocketable camera that if it got lost or stolen when I’m in less than pleasant areas photographing no big deal. I got it used for $100 off of eBay and I’m very pleased with it. While not a fan of the 2/3″ sensor it will do what I need it to do and did I mention it fits in my pocket?


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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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