Spring into Saturday

Softly through the tulips

Even thoguh the Spring season has made its entry by virtue of the Sun passing the vernal equinox, New England has not seen very Spring-like weather; overcast skies, occasional snow and temperatures only coming a little above freezing have made this week feel more like a continuation of Winter.

Time to off-set the mood with something more reminiscent of what we’re hoping for…

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Tulips in Soft Light

These tulips were indoors at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, which is a 10-minute drive from my house.  A wonderful place to go recharge, when the weather hasn’t allowed for nature to catch up with the beauty you are hoping to see.

When I took this photo 5 years ago, the weather was much like it is today, so I took a trip to Tower Hill.  The displays were breathtaking, as usual, with indoor growth providing stunning color and even the occasional outdoor display showing signs of revival.

Hope you enjoy!

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II using a Lensbaby 50mm Soft Optic.  Exposure was at 1/100 second at f/5.6 at 400 ISO.  The Lensbaby Soft Optic has a center hole surrounded by many smaller holes, which produce the effect seen in this image.

7 Day Nature Challenge – pt 3

Trees keep our history and tell…

I was nominated by a fellow blogger, Stella of  Giggles & Tales, for a 7-Day Nature Photo Challenge.  Stella’s blog is always full of interesting posts, which are a blend of poetry, photography and perspectives on the world around her.  Go check her blog out!!

On this second day of Spring, I want to bring you something a bit more abstract…

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Re-Radiate

This shot came from a trip to one of my favorite places: Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA.  As happens quite often, my mind starts looking for something a little different to shoot,  which is where this shot came from.

Re-Radiate is all about recognizing the power that resides in trees.  Trees store up energy and release it back to us, denizens of the planet Earth.  In the process of doing this, they learn about what goes on in the world around them and store up a history of their environment.  If we listen carefully, they may even tell us about it…

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II using an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Exposure settings were 1/3 second with f/18 at 160 ISO.  A zoom blur technique was used to get the effect in this image.

The Rules

Post a #naturephoto every day and nominate another blogger for this challenge.

Nomination

The challenge of nominating a fellow blogger…  1/100 Sekundy‘s Jolanta runs a blog full of amazing photography!  Go check out this talented photographer’s blog!  If she accepts this challenge, I look forward to the results!

7 Day Nature Challenge – pt 2

Trumpets herald Spring!

I was nominated by a fellow blogger, Stella of  Giggles & Tales, for a 7-Day Nature Photo Challenge.  Stella’s blog is always full of interesting posts, which are a blend of poetry, photography and perspectives on the world around her.  Go check her blog out!!

In this second post in the series, let’s celebrate the Vernal Equinox!!  Yeah, it’s Spring in the Northern Hemisphere (don’t forget to say hi to Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere).

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Daffodil Time!

Today’s nature photo is one of my favorite flowers, the Daffodil.  Their design makes for such an inviting, pleasant flower, calling all pollinators to come in from the breeze.

In terms of color varieties, I prefer the yellow-petalled with the slightly orange trumpet over the white-petalled or overly ostentatious orange trumpets.

Which varieties do you like best?

Technical Details

This is an iPhone 5S generated image using the standard Camera app and minor tweaks with Instagram.

The Rules

Post a #naturephoto every day and nominate another blogger for this challenge.

Nomination

The challenge of nominating a fellow blogger…  Aspire To Amble‘s Kia runs a blog filled with tales of travels all over the world.  Go check out this talented photographer’s blog!  If she accepts this challenge, I look forward to the results!

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.

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!!

7-Day Nature Photo Challenge – Day 3

Canis lupus walks with us

I was nominated by a fellow blogger, Project Relish, for a 7-Day Nature Photo Challenge.

So for the next week, let’s see, if I can come up with some interesting nature images and pass the challenge onto some of my fellow bloggers.

 

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Denahee, our Ambassador

Today’s image is from a wonderful experience that I had in 2010, when I had the privilege of walking with a wolf, Denahee.  This was at an education-oriented wolf sanctuary not far from home.

Denahee walked with us through the woods and would wander off on her own from time to time, but always come right back to our group.  At one point during the walk, she walked up beside me and leaned into me, which was an amazing moment of bonding.

This image was taken at about eye-height for Denahee, from a distance of approximately 5 feet.  You can see that she is listening to the photographer in background.

Technical Details

This image was captured with my trusty Canon EOS 5D Mk II and 24-105 f/4L lens.  Exposure settings were f/6.3 at 1/160 second at ISO 1250.

The Rules

Post a #naturephoto every day and nominate another blogger for this challenge.

Nomination

The challenge of nominating a fellow blogger…  Michael of mlambertsphotography has a beautifully organized photography blog, which is well worth checking out!  If Michael accepts the challenge, I look forward to the results!

7-Day Nature Photo Challenge – Day 2

Rosy-fingered dawn

I was nominated by a fellow blogger, Project Relish, for a 7-Day Nature Photo Challenge.

So for the next week, let’s see, if I can come up with some interesting nature images and pass the challenge onto some of my fellow bloggers.

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ρόδoδακτύλos Ηως

This image came from arriving at a golf course, as the sun was still making its presence felt.  What came to mind was Homer’s oft-used epithet for Eos, the goddess of Dawn, the rosy-fingered Dawn.

This image also gives me a sense of the cycle of death and renewal, as petals are dying on this rose-bush, while buds are showing the promise of new growth.

Technical Details

This image was captured with an iPhone 4S using the standard camera app and treated through Instagram.

The Rules

Post a #naturephoto every day and nominate another blogger for this challenge.

Nomination

The challenge of nominating a fellow blogger…  gottatakemorepix runs a blog full of amazing images, many of which are nature at its finest!