Hydrangea Twins

Just outside my back door, I found fraternal twins on my hydrangea bush: a pink and a blue blossom on the same plant. All the rain in the past few weeks are helping the blossoms last. Stay away, hungry deer!

#hydrangea, #july, #pinkandblue, #favoriteflower, #nature, #flowers, #nikon, #sewickley, #pennsylvania
Fresh pink and blue blossoms on my hydrangea bush. Shot with Nikon D800, at 1/500 second, f 2.8 and ISO 100. Shallow depth of field gives the photo an intimate feeling.

The hydrangea may be my favorite flower, thanks to associations with my daughter’s  June wedding as well as memories of seeing them on Cape Cod.

To Make (not just take) an Image

In the age of iPhone photography, most people seem to think that shooting a photo is all there is to it. Well, first you have to see the image, that is pre-visualize it as an interesting two dimensional image. Next, you have to have a camera or iPhone with you. Third, you need to compose the image and click. Then, many will share the image instantly on social media. Done.

Often you will get pretty cool results with that workflow, but professionals know there is much more to image making. Much expertise goes into lens choice, camera settings for depth of field, selective focus, and then processing. My workflow includes processing first in Adobe Lightroom, then Photoshop, and sometimes even a third application such as Topaz or Nik/Google applications. The impact of this tulip image is the result of my experience with shooting choices as well as processing choices.

#NYBG, #tulip, #green, #greenandwhite, #bicolor, #contrast, #sony, #spring, #may
This high contrast image of the rare green and white tulip encourages the viewer to enjoy the detail and shape of the petals.

A non-photographer will often ask the question, “Is that photoshopped?” as if the question were really, “is it real?” I like to explain that processing a digital photo with image editing software like Lightroom and Photoshop is an essential part of the creative process. I MAKE an image. I don’t just TAKE and image. Using Photoshop to process images is, in fact, my job.

Chihuly’s Organic Towers

Chihuly glass sculptures, installed in many prominent American botanical gardens, ostensibly aim to imitate nature. How do you compare these sublime towers of glass at the New York Botanical Gardens to a nearby stalk of blooms?

#NYBG, #chihuly, #tower, #yellow, #red, #tower, #nature, #art
Chihuly’s yellow and red spire of glass spokes stand in stark contrast to the round pavilion at the New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the neoclassical pavilion, I found this simple and elegant stalk of blossoms. It is rather understated, you might say, but similar to the sculpture in its overall shape and repetition of blossoms up the stalk. Here the colors are more muted, not bold, primary colors the sculpture has.

#NYBG, #newyork, #nature, #closeup, #macro, #symmetry, #pole, #flower, #simple, #elegant, #delicate, #sony
Close up of delicate blossoms emerging symmetrically around the plant’s stalk at New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the pavilion shown in the first photo is a more fanciful Chihuly tower sculpture that reminds me of a Dr. Seuss illustration. It is white with pink polka dots, and its spokes curl like snakes. Symmetry is no longer the operative word. We might say this piece shows more personality.

#NYBG, #newyork, #chihuly, #glass, #sculpture, #art, #pink, #pinkandwhite, #drseuss, #personality
Polka dots and irregular curls give this Chihuly sculpture a different personality. New York Botanical Garden, inside the pavilion.

 

Early Hydrangea

My own hydrangeas around my house won’t bloom until the end of June, but a visit to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh allowed me to dream of a summer day.

#yellow, #blue, #hydrangea, #summer, #phipps, #Pittsburgh #conservatory
This early blooming hydrangea reveals delicate shades of yellow and blue at Phipps Conservatory.

Does the lush hydrangea bloom evoke memories for you? A daughter’s wedding? Or perhaps a summer vacation in Cape Cod?

A Close Look at a Peony

Macro photography lets you take a careful look at a flower’s center. I also find that the irregularity in a flower makes it special. I was attracted to the darker pink streaks on the petal in the back. In this image, I find my eye is first drawn to the delicate yellow tendrils of the flower’s center. In the asymmetrical composition, that yellow center needs a counter weight, which the fascia-streaked petal provides. Does your eye move the same way? Is your vision attracted to color changes, defined detail and edges?

#peony, #spring, #flower, #macro, #nikond800, #pink, #backyard, #irregularities
Today I found something very delicate and beautiful in my own back yard.