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 Remnants – Part 2

I’ll finish up the last of the flowers for this post. Everyone seems to love my flower photos. Me? I could pass.

Interesting thing about editing these images is that before I would just crank the contrast on a flower image. Then I would boost the saturation and and the blacks and call it done. I also had weird bokeh effects that really drew the attention away from the flower. Now that I use a tone curve adjustment to add contrast I have a much more control over the contrast. I also don’t get massive color shifts like before either.

To add effect I just use localized dodge and burn to get the right light on the flower and I get a much smoother transition from flower to background. In all, they are much better images now than before.


Summer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer Flowers

Summer Remnants – Part One

I really have no idea why I am going through my back catalogue other than I can. It’s not like I am not sitting on tons of unedited images that I have recently shot. I just am generally shocked on the stuff I never edited for one reason or another.

These are from Oatlands Plantation when I visited out there which is now 3 years ago. I was still shooting micro 4/3 cameras and wasn’t fully into landscapes yet. So I was just wandering around sticking my camera near flowers and calling it a photographic.

Nothing fancy going editing wise. It’s a flower and sometimes some bee’s. Typical dodge and burn and called it done.


Summer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer FlowersSummer Flowers

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.


IMG_0987_ICIMG_0990_ICIMG_0993_IC IMG_0995_IC IMG_1000_IC IMG_1005_IC

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.


Details In AbstractDetails In AbstractDetails In AbstractDetails In AbstractDetails In Abstract

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.


Secret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret Garden

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.


Secret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret Garden


Secret Garden – Part 2

With a break from flowers with some architectural stuff I feel I can attempt some more flowers! So I return to my secret garden or the US National Botanical Gardens. Considering I was stuck behind a Chinese tour group with photo permits for tripods I guess its not that secret. I have encountered Chinese tour groups before in Thailand and they are serious about their gear. I was genuinely impressed by the tripod permits they had. They are not that easy to get and they take planning.

I’m not sure how I feel about this batch. This is where I started to have some flash issues and I was fighting with the flash and camera to get the look I was going for. One of the problem was the LCD was showing me some funky colors but when I loaded them in Lightroom things looked normal. Even still you can tell I used flash. I am far from a flash guru. I’m not afraid of flash I just don’t use it often enough.

Usual round of editing in Lightroom and Photoshop. I will say that in all my years of shooting flowers this is the best detailed batch I have ever gotten. It has held up to the sharpening color correction well. So there is something to using flash. Maybe one day I’ll get ambition and do focus stacking.


Secret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret Garden