Category: Flora

Capture One Pro – Low Key

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Continuing my learning curve with Capture One Pro I am amazed at the amount of control over an image I have available. Now at version 11 of this software from Phase One, the software become better with each release while still maintaining incredible speed on my 5-year-old mac.

A quick capture of some images of Tulips bought from the supermarket. Using only window light from the right-hand side and a plain ‘Mocha Brown’ wall with poor light shadows.

The light hitting the background looked wrong, with window light coming in from the right, the background was set back a couple of feet causing the right-hand side of the background to be much darker than the left-hand side. The Tulip was receiving a good light from the window and lit well on the right-hand side. My other problem was the light itself, a cloudy day, but late afternoon and had a yellow tinge.

The images looked ok(ish) in live view and I knew how I wanted the final images to look and knew I would be doing the post-processing to get what I wanted.

Firstly was to correct the white balance, and also reduce the vibrancy of the colours, The greens and pinks were separately lowered in saturation. An adjustment layer was added with a left to right gradient mask, and the exposure lowered to make the left-hand side darker, the colour saturation was also lowered.

A further adjustment layer was added this time with a short gradient from the bottom, to fade out the stem of the tulip by reducing the exposure.

The overall exposure of the image was taken down a touch and an adjustment to the curve to render the background to near black. Finally, a little clarity was added and a further adjustment layer with some slight highlights increased on the tulip.

The before and after images can be seen below.

 

 

Telephoto Flowers

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Dahlia - Andy Sears
Dahlia – ISO320 – 1/250sec f5.6 – 200mm

While most of the time I use my Sigma 105mm macro lens for garden photography, one of my lesser used telephoto lenses is the Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6 Non-VR Bought second-hand this lens rarely sees the light of day, but on the occasions I have used it, I have been pleased with the results.

Using this lens at the 200mm end actually makes flower photography that much easier, giving me more room to manoeuvre. The depth of field is more forgiving than the macro lens allowing me to capture the full bloom while still separating it from the background. It is also lightweight and gives me the benefit of other focal lengths if needed.

The lens itself does have one major drawback on the autofocus front. It is slow, very slow. Although slow to focus, it does seem to do a good job (given time).

The different viewpoint offered by the telephoto lens is completely different from that of the macro lens. While detail matters I find myself looking at the framing much more closely with the better depth of field using the background flora proved beneficial to the end result.

The Nikon 55-200mm non-vr lens is available second-hand for under £70 and proves to be a real bargain, and offers more flexibility in not just flower photography but in general usage as well.

Pick up the Nikon 55-200mm from MPB

 

 

Dahlia Raindrops - Andy Sears
Dahlia Raindrops ISO500 – 1/200sec – f6.3 – 200mm

 

Rudbeckia - Andy Sears
Rudbeckia – ISO320 1/400sec f5.6 200mm

 

Cosmos - Andy Sears
Rudbeckia ISO 320 – 1/250sec – f8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for Garden Photography

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For 2016 I decided to put more of an effort into growing the plants and flower with photography in mind. Subject matter including Cosmos, Coreopsis,
Pots in GreenhouseOsteospermum and rudbeckia to name a few. Seeds sown and some plug plants ordered and the greenhouse from February full to the brim. The dark winter nights and cold weather took its time to pass but those seedlings and plant carried on growing.

With Spring came the Tulips, Daffodils, Snowdrops and Crocus and it was soon time to venture out in the garden with the camera to start capturing some of that colour, while those small plants in the greenhouse kept on grown.
garden-camBy the end of April things started to look a bit drab again, but the warmer weather hit, that late tulips bloomed and the grass got its first cut of the year and the garden now looks a lot tidier.

Into may those seedlings are now looking healthy and during mid may the first Cosmos start to bud and a few are moved out into the garden and they have survived the few colder nights. The third week of may see the Cosmos starting to flower, small flowers bu  t homegrown small flowers, Marigolds are flowering
Pink Cosmosand the blue of the forget me nots and filling the garden.

For the wildlife, this too is providing subject matter for garden photography, the pond is looking good, fish are healthy, and not bothered by the many birds visiting the waters edge for a drink and a splash, although the visit from a couple of ducks did stir things up a bit. The frogs have been, although the spawn and tadpoles did not fair well in the  cold and ice that came afterwards. Of the three nest boxes one pair of blue tits having taken up home are raising their young. Other bird visitors include Robins, Song Thrushes, Magpies, and Wrens.

Some extra space had been provided for some taller flowers and hopefully in the next few weeks the colour should start to really show, and with the flowers hopefully the butterfly’s, bees and other insects will make more visits to our Hertfordshire garden. Now the weeds are fighting back, the grass growing fast, shrubs and trees are in blossom and summer is almost here and hopefully during the summer months, there will be plenty of  opportunities for garden photography both home grown specimens and fauna visiting the garden.

 

Taking it indoors

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A quick look around the garden in between the rain, seeking out the remaining summer flowers. A tiny example which I first though was a weed turned out to be Geranium robertianum or Herb Robert. Apparently used for toothache and nosebleeds, but I will not be trying its medicinal use.

Geranium_Robertianum-Nov15

The tiny flower measuring just 9mm across was taken inside. Black backdrop and two table lamps with 3 watt LED bulbs provided the lighting.

For such a small example the detail in Herb Robert is quite amazing with its pink striped petals quite string.

The bud of Herb Robert, also proved to have great detail, despite being only 9mm x 1mm wide.

 

 

Geranium_Robertianum3-Nov15