Archive for the 'cactus' Category

29
Dec
09

12/29/2009

Spines and Light: what I see in the desert

One of the things that fascinates me most about the desert and cacti is the things the light does to the spines and convolutions of the plants. I was at the Desert Botanical Gardens early on my last visit (I am there early on every visit…a necessity any season but winter, due to Phoenix heat…and preferable even in winter), and the light was still oblique enough to provide interesting effects. This cluster of Organ Pipe cacti is a case in point.

I moved in close at about 75mm equivalent to crop just this section of the tall plants, because it is the light effects, not the cacti themselves, or the desert landscape that contains them, that I am interested in.

Sony DSC H50 at about 75mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/200th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Punch and Sharpen Landscape presets in Lightroom. >> Clarity and > Vibrance.

From Desert Botanical Gardens 09.

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28
Dec
09

12/28/2009

Cacti Filling Frames

Okay, so this is maybe cheating a little bit because this is not a pic of the day, it is three pics of the day rolled into one. Sort of. I took these images seconds apart, without moving more than a step and a half turn. There is is a display of native cacti just below the Terrace Restaurant at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The sun had gone behind a momentary cloud…just enough, and just long enough, to provide some filtration for these shots…a softening of the light that brought out the patterns. The first two were shot at about 180mm equivalent for framing. The third was taken from the same spot, but I zoomed up to almost 300mm equivalent to frame a slightly more distant clump. They form a kind of triptych study of the way light interacts with these spiny shapes.

Sony DSC H50 at 180mm and 300mm equivalents. F4, F3.5, F4 @ 1/125th, 1/60th, 1/40th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Punch and Sharpen Landscape presets in Lightroom. >> Clarity and > Vibrance.

And here they are, actually arranged as a classical triptych panel.

Cactitrip2

06
May
09

5/6/2009

The Other Prickly Pear

The Other Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear comes in at least 2 colors in Texas, yesterday’s yellow and today’s red. The exposure problem is the same: keeping the predominant color from burning out. Same solution. -1.3 EV exposure compensation, and restore exposure in Lightroom to desired effect.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide and macro. F4.5 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto with -1.3 EV.

Cropped from the right. Added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. Landscape sharpen preset.

From Corpus Christi ABA.

05
May
09

5/5/2009

Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear cactus in bloom, near Kingsville TX. The challenge with PPC is always keeping the yellow from over saturating the sensor and clipping, so that you lose all detail in the highlights. For this quick shot while birding, I used -1.3 EV exposure compensation and then pulled exposure back up in Lr to get the effect I wanted, and maintain the full rich detail in the flower petals.

Also in Lr I cropped in from the left to improve comp0sition.

Sony DSC H50 full wide and macro. F5.6 @ 1/1000 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto with -1.3 EV compensation.

Added Exposure in Lightroom, Vibrance and Clarity. Landscape sharpen preset.

From Corpus Christi ABA.

13
Dec
08

12/10/2008

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ

Exotic Catus Blooms

This one caused a lot of discussion over on Digital_Photography_Forum. Thanks all. It was orginally posted like this, as it looks on Facebook.

 Commenters felt it was unbalanced because of the flower on the right. I went back and cropped it tighter, eliminating the flower on the right all together. Then I applied a bit of Fill Light in Lightroom to bring up the background and brightend the image overall to bring up the blossums. 

F5.6 @ 1/800 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto. Taken at the full telephoto position of the Sony DSC H9’s zoom, equiv. to 465mm.