Archive for the 'flowers' Category


12/17/2010: Little Things 4

Sometimes the background is as important as the subject…even if the background is totally out of focus. This furry little plant (or what was left of it by late fall) and black berries were isolated against a patch of ice, with some crystals on the surface that were catching the light. I could not resist :).

Canon SX20IS at 360mm, f5 @ 1/200th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity and clarity.


8/31/2010: English butterflies

Predictably, I spent my first day in England in a meeting room at the Greetham Valley Golf and Country Club (it was a working trip after all). We only got let out for lunch…and only 30 minutes at that due to a tight agenda. Still, when I got to the dinning room and looked out the window to see my first ever European Peacock butterfly, I had to run back to my room to get a camera with a longer lens! (Simon King, well known British naturalist and film-maker was among our number, and he identified the butterflies for me.) The wind was blowing hard and the rainy day light was subdued. The butterflies were hanging on the flowers for dear life as they tossed wildly about, and staying closed up tight most of the time in the wind. Still I managed a couple of more or less record shots of the Peacock (top) and the Little Tortoiseshell (bottom)…both life butterflies for me. And yes, I still managed to get my lunch down and back to the meeting room in time!

Long-tel-macro threw the background well out of focus for both shots. In the  top shot the butterfly is framed against the hill 300 yards behind, but even the leaves inches behind the Tortoiseshell show good bokeh. That is the magic of the long-tel-macro.

Canon SX20IS @ 560mm equivalent and macro @ 1) f5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 160 and 2) f5.7 @ 1/200th @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

A bit of Recovery in Lightroom for the flowers, more than usual Fill Light for the colors in the wings in the subdued light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Germany and England 2010.



Giessen Backyard

Still rainy days in Germany when I took this shot. I visited a colleagues home in Giessen in the early German evening, and while he discussed roof repairs with his contractor, I looked around for photo options. This is taken straight down from a balcony on the second floor. I like it as an abstract…the contrast of colors and textures and forms.

Canon SD4000IS at 28mm equivalent field of view @ f2.8 @ 1/100th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

Adjusted Blackpoint, added Clarity and Vibrance, sharpen, and auto white balance in Lightroom.

From Germany and England 2010.



Window Light

Happy Sunday!  I am composing this on a Thursday morning in England, as Sunday morning will find me at the British Birding Fair already at this time. This is another shot from my late rainy evening stroll through old town Wetzlar. One of the reasons I like the old town is that it is full of little corners like this one, along a narrow (10 feet wide at most) cobbled street between half-timbered buildings dating from the 1500’s. I like the contrast of the blue wall, with its interesting texture and the bright red and green geraniums. The golden glow of the light behind the pebbled glass window completes the picture for me.

Windows are always interesting to me as photographic elements, and I have noticed among photographers  a similar fascination (among my flickr friends at least…one of my most visited images is a window shot).

For me it is about what they reveal and what they hide. They are meant to provide a view from within and light from without, for those who live inside. But they also. of course, provide a view of the life within to those who are outside. Jesus has something to say about that…about eyes as windows, and about the light that should shine out of them. The title of my SmugMug site comes from one of those passages. I hope my windows show at least such a golden glow on a late rainy evening…even if they are too often, just as obscuring as this one.

This took considerable distortion and perspective tweaking in Lightroom since I shot it an odd oblique angle (to chatch the light in the window). Then my standard Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpen.

From Germany and England 2010.



Cotton Grass

(Still in Germany)

On the bog in August, about the only thing blooming (or looking like it is blooming), is the Cotton Grass. These tuffs of cottony fiber with their attendant spears dot the marsh and provide contrast with the blueberries that make up the mass of the surface vegetation. I got down low, using Macro on the SD4000IS for this shot (really missed the swing out LCD on the SX20IS!).

Canon SD4000IS at 28mm equivalent and macro. F2.8 @ 1/640th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Saco Heath.



Watered Yellow Rose

We only have very few roses in our yard…they don’t do as well as Daylilies…but we enjoy the ones we have. This bright yellow was in full bloom and I caught it right after an afternoon shower with the beads of rain still on the petals. This is another example of what I love about the Canon’s telephoto macro.

Canon SX20IS at full 560mm equivalent and macro, f5.7 @ 1/400th @ ISO 100. Aperture preferred.

Some Recovery in Lightroom. A small amount of Fill Light and Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From The Yard, Kennebunk ME.



Rockport Daylily Light

These, for a change, are not in my yard. A late afternoon visit to Rockport, up the coast two hours from us, for a Bay Chamber concert (my daughter played: Young Stars of Maine), and a few hours to wander the village between dropping her off and the concert proper. Rockport is full of little pocket parks. It seems that wherever there is open ground it is turned into a beauty spot: with plantings, paths, and benches. For which, as a casual visitor, I am truly thankful. The Daylilies in this hillside park were at their best in the late light, which gave them an inner fire.

Canon SX20IS. 1) 28mm equivalent @ f5.6 @ 1/320th @ ISO 125, Aperture preferred. 2) 560mm equivalent @ f5.7 @ 1/640th @ ISO 160. Aperture preferred.

In Lightroom, Recovery for the highlights, a touch of Fill Light for the shadows, Blackpoint just right, added Clarity and just a smidge of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Rockport 2010.



Painted Lady! (and the nature of grace)

Happy Sunday.

When this is posted, I will be somewhere in the air between Portland Maine and Philadelphia, on the first leg of a day-long (14 hour) trip to California. At least I don’t have to go by wagon train.

And, of course, the Painted Lady is a long distance traveler too. This butterfly, if I understand it correctly, came up from Mexico this spring. They used to come through Rehoboth, New Mexico (where I lived for many years, many years ago) in waves. You could stand in a field and watch them pass, 150 or more in a line across the field and lines hitting every few moments for most of a day. And that was just our soccer field.

I was out digiscoping, still learning my new camera, when this Lady lit on the blossoms. I still had the the camera at –2EV exposure compensation from attempting to photograph a Snowy Egret and it metered correctly for the sunlit butterfly and blooms, but threw the shadowed background completely black. I could not have achieved this effect if I were trying. It looks like a studio shot. Sometimes you just get blessed beyond your deserts…which is why photography always keeps me aware of grace.

And, what more could you ask for on a Sunday?

Canon SD4000IS Digital Elph behind the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. F5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 250. Programmed auto. –2EV.

Some Recovery in Lightroom. Blackpoint just right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. Cropped for composition.

From DiaScope 65FL. View it as large as you like on Wide Eyed In Wonder by clicking the image.



Deep Purple (and too Yellow!)

Yes, still with the Daylillies. They never stop. Smile

Of course they will. We have to enjoy them while they are here. This is purple cultivar we bought a few anniversaries ago. It is not as vigorous or as prolific as the native plants and some of our other cultivars, but it has its own beauty. It is not easy to photograph. That yellow is simply too intense, and tends to burn out before there is enough light on the purple petals. Open shade held it all together here.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent field of view and macro. F5.7 @ 1/20th @ ISO 100. Aperture preferred, ISO set at 100. (Which meant I was pretty much dependent on the Image Stabilization for a 1/20th second hold!)

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the Yellow, Fill Light for the purple, added Clarity and and very little Vibrance indeed (the yellow blocks up with much saturation adjustment). Blackpoint just slightly right. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From The Yard: Kennebunk ME.



Double Daylilies

These are one of the mysteries of our yard this year. My wife insists she transplanted them from one of our normal clumps of Daylilies…and that they were normal when she transplanted them. This year all the lilies on the far side of our driveway are double…with a second lily blossom sprouting inside the first. Most of the second blooms are weirdly distorted, as you see it here, but then the whole thing is just weird anyway.

Both shots were taken in deep shade, and the camera wanted to boost the ISO, since I had it on Aperture preferred at f5.6. I set the ISO manually to 100 and relied on the Image Stabilization for handholding slow shutter speeds.

Canon SX20IS at about 500mm equivalent and macro. F5.6 @ 1/25th and 1/15th @ ISO 100. Aperture preferred.

In Lightroom, a touch of Fill Light and Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From The Yard, Kennebunk ME.

And here, from my Canon SD4000IS, in better light, is the most prefect of the double blooms we could find. But wait…is that yet another bloom unfolding at the center. Weird!