Flower on Friday

My kingdom for a tulip!

As this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge has the them of flowers, I thought it might be nice to share another flower image on this lovely Friday.

This particular image is a rather straightforward one that looks to simply highlight the main subject in an uncluttered manner; sometimes that is all it takes to get  a pleasing image of a single flower, such as this tulip.

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Simple Beauty

Of course, tulips are an interesting subject to anyone who grew up in the Netherlands.  All of us are likely to connect the tulip to the Netherlands and the Tulip Mania of the 17th century when speculation drove the price of single tulip bulbs up to the equivalent of a herd of cattle and beyond.  But did you know…

History

Islamic World

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, probably in the 10th century.  Early cultivars must have emerged from hybridization in gardens from wild collected plants, which were then favored, possibly due to flower size or growth vigor. The tulip is not mentioned by any writer from antiquity, therefore it seems probable that tulips were introduced into Anatolia only with the advance of the Seljuks.  In the Ottoman Empire, numerous types of tulips were cultivated and bred, and today, 14 species can still be found in Turkey.  Tulips are mentioned by Omar Kayam and Celaleddin Rûmi.

In 1574, Sultan Selim II. ordered the Kadi of A‘azāz in Syria to send him 50,000 tulip bulbs. However, Harvey points out several problems with this source, and there is also the possibility that tulips and hyacinth (sümbüll, originally Indian spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) have been confused.  Sultan Selim also imported 300,000 bulbs of Kefe Lale (also known as Cafe-Lale, from the medieval name Kaffa, probably Tulipa schrenkii) from Kefe for his gardens in the Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul.  Sultan Ahmet III maintained famous tulip gardens in the summer highland pastures (Yayla) at Spil Dağı above the town of Manisa.  They seem to have consisted of wild tulips. However, from the 14 tulip species known from Turkey, only four are considered to be of local origin, so wild tulips from Iran and Central Asia may have been brought into Turkey during the Seljuk and especially Ottoman periods. Sultan Ahmet also imported domestic tulip bulbs from the Netherlands.

The gardening book Revnak’ı Bostan (Beauty of the Garden) by Sahibül Reis ülhaç Ibrahim Ibn ülhaç Mehmet, written in 1660 does not mention the tulip at all, but contains advice on growing hyacinths and lilies.  However, there is considerable confusion of terminology, and tulips may have been subsumed under hyacinth, a mistake several European botanists were to perpetuate. In 1515, the scholar Qasim from Herat in contrast had identified both wild and garden tulips (lale) as anemones (shaqayq al-nu’man), but described the crown imperial as laleh kakli.

In a Turkic text written before 1495, the Chagatay Husayn Bayqarah mentions tulips (lale).  Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, also names tulips in the Baburnama.  He may actually have introduced them from Afghanistan to the plains of India, as he did with other plants like melons and grapes.

In Moorish Andalus, a “Makedonian bulb” (basal al-maqdunis) or “bucket-Narcissus” (naryis qadusi) was cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens. It was supposed to have come from Alexandria and may have been Tulipa sylvestris, but the identification is not wholly secure.

Introduction to Western Europe

Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to Northwestern Europe, the most widely accepted story is that it was Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador forEmperor Ferdinand I to Suleyman the Magnificent. According to a letter, he saw “an abundance of flowers everywhere; Narcissus, hyacinths and those in Turkish called Lale, much to our astonishment because it was almost midwinter, a season unfriendly to flowers.”

However, in 1559, an account by Conrad Gessner describes tulips flowering in Augsburg, Swabia in the garden of Councillor Heinrich Herwart. In Central and Northern Europe, tulip bulbs are generally removed from the ground in June and must be replanted by September for the winter. It is doubtful that Busbecq could have had the tulip bulbs harvested, shipped to Germany and replanted between March 1558 and Gessner’s description the following year. Pietro Andrea Mattioli illustrated a tulip in 1565 but identified it as a narcissus, however.

Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. After he was appointed director of the Leiden University’s newly established Hortus Botanicus, he planted some of his tulip bulbs here in late 1593. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip’s first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the Tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.

Carolus Clusius is largely responsible for the spread of tulip bulbs in the final years of the sixteenth century. He finished the first major work on tulips in 1592, and made note of the variations in colour. While a faculty member in the school of medicine at the University of Leiden, Clusius planted both a teaching garden and his private garden with tulips. In 1596 and 1598, over a hundred bulbs were stolen from his garden in a single raid.

Between 1634 and 1637, the enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania. Tulip bulbs became so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency, or rather, as futures. Around this time, the ceramic tulipiere was devised for the display of cut flowers stem by stem. Vases and bouquets, usually including tulips, often appeared in Dutch still-life painting. To this day, tulips are associated with the Netherlands, and the cultivated forms of the tulip are often called “Dutch tulips.” The Netherlands have the world’s largest permanent display of tulips at the Keukenhof.

Technical Details

This image was captured using a Canon EOS 5D MkII using an EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.  Exposure settings were at 1/125 second at f/6.3 and 400 ISO.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Flowers

A dandelion is a dandelion

Welcome to the seventh installment of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!  As Spring is everywhere in the northern hemisphere, I felt inspired to doing a theme that comes with the season: Flowers!

Of course, the beauty of flowers in their many forms should make it easy to create a stunning photograph of them…  Then again, what makes for a great floral image, as opposed to a rather pedestrian one?

I my opinion, the first thing with any flower photo is that it should be exposed properly, ensuring that there is good sharpness and contrast to the image (there are exceptions to this, when creating more abstract floral images).  Composition should not be forgotten, as poor composition will detract from the power of the image.  And a bit of creativity does help 🙂

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Dandelions

For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please use the tag #fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week
  • Have fun creating something new!!

With this topic, I’m confident that there will be many great images!

Technical Details

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

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round-Up 6

Cloudy is a good forecast!

Another week with fantastic entries, which were a delight to see, as it looked like you found some inspiration in this week’s topic.  In this sixth installment of the Tuesday Photo Challenge, the theme was clouds, particularly keeping in mind how they can enhance the scene that is captured in an image.

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Persistence

For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge:

  • iballrtw of the Eyeball Around the World blog, posted a beautifully lit cloud image with sunlight streaming around the edges of the cloud.
  • Sonya of Middleton Road, posted a landscape image that together with the beautiful clouds made me feel like I was in a fairy tale.
  • Miriam of the Out an’ About blog, wove an entire story around the cloud photos that she posted, which were fantastic.
  • Nikki, who writes A Kinder Way showed some of the great Texas skies and provided interpretation to some of the great clouds in her images.
  • Debbie, of ForgivingJournal got some of her creative energy expressed through her cloud images, which inspired!
  • Steve, who writes Meandering Maverick, was stymied by a week of perfect, cloudless weather, so he regaled us with some fantastic cloud images from before.

Thank you to all of you who participated and everyone who supported by reading these posts.  Hope you had as much fun as I did!

Next Tuesday, it will be time for another topic…  I have something in mind already, that I hope will give you a bit of inspiration.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Clouds

Clouds are for more than just storage

Welcome to the sixth installment of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!  This week’s challenge is inspired by a comment made on last week’s TPC, which made me decide to use it now. The challenge is Clouds.

This might sound like a rather straightforward challenge, but, if you have tried to get photos with clouds in them, you have probably noticed that they are not as easy to capture with a camera, as they are seen with the eye.  The reason is that the dynamic range of the eye is much broader than either film or a digital sensor.  Those beautiful fluffy clouds that we all like to admire tend to blow out your camera’s sensor, so that detail is often lost.

One way of getting around this problem is to use HDR, High Dynamic Range, imaging techniques, which are available in a lot of cameras and smartphones.  This allows you to get the cloud and the rest of your subject in a pleasing fashion.

The other part to keep in mind with this challenge is that clouds can really add to good composition, but they can also detract; as such, a photo of just clouds without any other subject may not be as compelling, as it could be with a great subject.  Also, think about lines, and how they work in your image.

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Persistence

For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please use the tag #fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week
  • Have fun creating something new!!

I’m looking forward to seeing your creative efforts!

Technical Details

This photo was created with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II using an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  It was a series of 5 images with exposure values of -2, -1, 0, +1 and +2 EV with respect to the measured ‘correct’ value.  The images were processed using Photomatix Pro.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round-Up 5

Silhouettes of fancy!

It was great to see the participation this week, as it continued to grow and I have to say that all the entries were really creative and have excellent qualities!  Well done by everyone who participated.

As a reminder, the fifth installment of the Tuesday Photo Challenge urged everyone to get creative in producing a silhouette.  Not something that photographers do every day, which is why I thought this may be of interest to folks.

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge:

  • iballrtw, the Eyeball Around the World blog, provided a great silhouette that was photographed in Cuba.  Go check there posts on Cuba, as they are really interesting.
  • Miriam of the Out an’ About blog, reminisced about her days as a daredevil with beautiful waterskiing silhouettes.
  • Debbie, of ForgivingJournal got into paying attention how light falls and came up with several silhouettes, including a silhouette selfie!
  • Steve’s Meandering Maverick featured stunning landscape silhouettes, of which the image with the birds was my favorite; which one do you like best?
  • Nikki, who writes A Kinder Way took the experimentation to heart and photographed using candlelight to create amazing silhouettes.

Thank you for all these great posts; I hope that you had fun participating this week, and please check out everyone’s posts and let them know how well they did!

Now, I’ll start putting together something new for this coming Tuesday, all the way from Israel!  The weather is great and the people are friendly and the food is delicious, so I’m having a good time!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Silhouette

An ancient art form

In this fifth installment of the Tuesday Photo Challenge, I’d like us to go into a somewhat different direction.  This week’s challenge is to get creative in producing a silhouette.

A lot of photography courses start by teaching how to light the subject in your image, which is the opposite of what we want to do in creating a silhouette.  A couple of things that help make a great silhouette image:

  • A well-balanced background that is not blown out, so that it provides interest
  • Adequate depth-of-field to ensure that all components work together
  • Sharpness and, of course, composition

Your challenge is to go out and experiment a bit.  Note that you don’t need a fancy camera for this challenge, as you can see from the image.  One quick tip: if you’re using a smartphone or automatic camera, you can use the amount of sun peeking around your subject to control the exposure level for the background.

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Yoga Tree Sunrise

 

For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please use the tag #fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week
  • Have fun creating something new!!

I’m looking forward to seeing your creative efforts!

Technical Details

This photo was taken with an iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app and a couple of minor adjustments in Instagram.

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round-Up 4

Great participation and posts!

The theme of this week’s photo challenge was Green, and I can tell from the creative entries that this is a color that really spoke to people.  Plus it was gret to welcome some new participants to the challenge.

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Study in Green

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge:

  • Miriam of the excellent Out an’ About blog, showed lots of variety of green in Nature, of which the frog struck a chord with just about everyone.
  • Debbie, whose blog ForgivingJournal is always interesting, not only found green around the house, but also included it in her wardrobe.
  • Steve of Meandering Maverick, a blog with lots of fantastic photography, found the green of the kiwifruit irresistible for this challenge.
  • Nikki’s blog A Kinder Way included the green very cleverly in her post, among all the kindness that she spreads through this blog; well done!!  Nikki also added a second entry with today’s post: Tuesday Photo Challenge: Green; well done, as it touches on two meanings of the word Green.
  • Sonya, whose blog Middleton Road is filled with stunning photography, contributed a  beautifully composed photo of a fenced meadow.
  • As promised, I captured a fresh image for this category this week at Oxbow Wildlife Refuge not to far off my commute.

Thank you for all these great posts; I hope that you had fun participating this week, and please check out everyone’s posts and let them know how well they did!

I have a theme in mind already for this coming Tuesday, and I’ll likely queue up the following Tuesday as well, as I will be on a business trip from Thursday through Thursday and won’t have as much internet access all the time.  The good part is that I will be taking my camera with me on the trip, as it is my first time in Israel.