Wednesday Wonderment – pt 8

Lowly beauty with benefits

With Spring fast approaching, I have been in a somewhat more floral mood, which leads me to this little flower that soon every gardener will be trying to remove from their lawns: the dandelion.

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Spherical Beauty

The humble dandelion is a simple yet beautiful flower that is maligned only for its propensity to spread very quickly, as its seed head has the ability to start many other plants. In many parts of the world, this plant is cultivated.  The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, which translates to lion’s tooth; the dandelion leaf has a resemblance to lion’s teeth.

Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion is used as a herbal remedy in Europe, North America, and China. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic.

The flower petals, along with other ingredients, usually including citrus, are used to make dandelion wine. The ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Dandelion was also traditionally used to make the traditional British soft drink dandelion and burdock, and is one of the ingredients of root beer. Also, dandelions were once delicacies eaten by the Victorian gentry, mostly in salads and sandwiches.

Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese.

Overall, the lowly dandelion is a good little plant, except when it disturbs the green of your lovely lawn!

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II and an EF 100mm f/2.8L macro lens .  Exposure settings were  f/7.1 at 1/125 second with ISO 400.

Creative People

VISEone squeezes creativity!

As you may remember from a prior post, I have a collection of art toys, some of which are small production runs or even custom one-of-a-kinds, and all of which are just simply fantastic!  Today, I’d like to introduce you to another interesting creation: the Tube Dunny…

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Outland Red Tube Dunny

The Dunny is an art toy platform created by Kidrobot, which has been customized by many artists in very creative ways.  In my mind, one of the finest custom Dunny creations is the Tubedunny created by VISEone.  Above you see one of my photos of the Outland Red Tubedunny, which was a very limited run done for the Outland Designer Toy Store & Art Gallery in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The creative mind behind the Tubedunny is the German urban artist known as VISEeone,  who is best known for his lowbrow custom designs of urban vinyl toys, as well as crossing over to influential design media like Notcot and Design You Trust.

His works – owned by international collectors – have been shown around the world.

VISEone started his creative path in the late 1990’s as a graffiti writer creating character designs. Due a musical career as a national booked hiphop DJ and producer with a major record deal he took a 10 years break from painting before he stepped back to his creative path in 2007 when he discovered the urban vinyl scene.

Since then he constantly created unique custom works on vinyl platform toys and released several limited editions of his iconic style.

VISEone is best known for his dripping style where he combines his graffiti roots and his love of lowbrow design. He also has a big passion for comics which influenced him heavily for his well known “Comic Stripped” custom series.

He belongs to the top designers in the urban vinyl scene and his works are all sold out and sought after.

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VISEone with Mini Tube Monster

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of doing a quick photoshoot with VISEone and his then latest creation, the Mini Tube Monster (that’s a Zombie juice model in his hand).  We did the photoshoot at New York Comic Con, where I set up a quick light couple of lights and created some cool images.

VISEone’s latest creative endeavors have been wildly successful sculptures that are often life-sized and sought after by collectors around the globe; a truly amazing artist!

TTT – Analysis of a Photo

Cabbage anyone?

In this Tuesday Technique Topic, rather than covering a wider range of technical topic, I’d like to do an analysis of a single image.  Please let me know, if this is something that you would like to see done on other images.

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Ornamental Cabbage

This image is rather simple, isn’t it?  At first glance, you see a rather colorful ornamental cabbage.  As you look closer, you’ll notice that the cabbage is sharp in its bright purple center, but that the edges are blurring, as we go away from center.  This is not something that was added in Photoshop, but, rather, a conscious decision at the time that I photographed this lovely Autumn vegetable.

The sharp center and blurred edges have the effect of allowing the eye to leave the center, but always drawing it back in; this makes the image a bit mesmerizing in, I hope, a good way.

The advantage of most DSLRs is that they have a variety of settings that allow the photographer to control the final result of the image.  As the depth of field was the critical aspect, I shot this image in aperture priority, so that I set the aperture to f/5.6, which for a focal length of 105mm produces a rather shallow depth of field; at the distance of just under 5 feet, the focal plane is about an inch on either side of the focus point, providing the effect you see here.

What other questions might you have about this image?  If I have any insight into what you may be curious about, I will be happy to share it with you.

Post-processing

My post-processing routine is pretty straightforward, as I am by no means a Photoshop expert.  On this image, the layers used were (in order):

  1. Base image
  2. Unsharp mask
  3. Overlay at 41% opacity
  4. Levels to increase the pop of the colors
  5. A slight bit of contrast increase
  6. A little extra saturation

Nothing overly dramatic, as you see.

I hope this is of interest to you.  I’d love to hear feedback both positive and negative!  Thank you, as always, for reading!!

Monday Afternoon Tree

Lifting night’s veil

It’s a rather somber weather day in New England, as rain has settled in for a couple of days, so something to cheer us up!

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Spring’s arrival?

The Yoga Tree stands resolutely, as we catch the first glimpse of the Sun’s efforts to lift night’s veil of darkness from the horizon.  Strong, yet flexible, enduring through the seasons, she inspires all of us.

Monday’s Food Moment – Pomegranate

Another red superfood!

The Punica Granatum produces a  a fruit that has become extremely popular during recent years, as it’s one of those superfoods that you just shouldn’t do without!

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Pomegranate Seeds

The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout India and the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa. The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. In the United States it is grown for its fruits mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona.

Loaded with anti-oxidants and also having anti-inflammatory properties, the pomegranate deserves the designation of superfood!  The only drawback it has, is that it can be a little tricky to extricate its delicious seeds without making a mess.  Two great techniques are shown in this BBC video on removing pomegranate seeds.

Hope you enjoy the photo and remember to get some pomegranates, when they are in season!

Technical Details

This shot was set up in my studio using a product table, on which I put just a smidgen of glitter to add some interest.  The pomegranate seeds were arranged with great care to ensure they looked their best.  Using two studio lights with softboxes, I dialed them in for just a bit of shadow and f/6.3 at 100 ISO and 1/100 second exposure.

Camera used was a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM lens.

WPC – One Love (reprise)

The Kiss

There was another image that came to mind immediately, when I saw the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge theme of One Love, so I wanted to make sure that I shared it with you.

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One Love!

 

This is one of the images from a wedding I shot for my friends, Matt and Traci.  Wedding photography presents some interesting challenges, in that you have to be 100% in the moment at all times, so that you catch those special little moments that permeate the occasion.

Such was the case in this (unposed) shot, as I had a sense of what was about to happen and caught the moment.  I’m fairly confident that this is still Matt and Traci’s favorite image from their wedding, as it sums it all up: One Love!

Technical Details

I shot this with my Canon EOS 5D Mk II using a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L USM lens.  Additional light was provided using a Canon 580EX Speedlite with settings of f/5 at 1/100 second and 640 ISO.

In response to Weekly Photo Challenge – One Love

Shot of the Week – vol 10

Ready for Spring!

How long do you think I would go without posting something about my Lady of the Fields? I agree with you that it’s been too long!

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Spring is in the air!

The first hint of Spring was showing this past week, as the temperatures have been unseasonably warm and all of Nature got a bounce back in its step!  The Yoga Tree was no exception, as she is showing the first growth of the season at the tips of her branches.

She stands tall and proud, overseeing the activities in the field, as all prepare for Spring!

Technical Details

Shot with my iPhone 6S using the standard camera app and smidgen of Instagram treatment.