Tag Archives: flower photography

My Favourite Bokeh Flower Photographs

Just a curated selection of some of my favourite Pinterest photos, this time featuring Bokeh Flower Photography. Think Romantic, blurred backgrounds, soft colours, a vintagey feel, out of focus shots, light glows, orbs.

Eye Candy!
(Images sourced from: Pinterest. You can find them on my Board, “Inspiring Flower Photography”).

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Artist Inspiration : JACKY PARKER

Jacky Parker is another photographer after my own heart. Her beautiful flower photography serves as an inspiration to me. Jacky only took up flower photography in 2005 whilst studying for a diploma in horticulture. By 2008 she had already garnered so much recognition that she was awarded the “RHS Photographer of the year” title.

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Click here to visit Jacky’s website.  Those wishing to license Jacky’s images may do so on these sites:

GETTY Images : http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?assettype=image&artist=Jacky+Parker+Photography

ALAMY STOCK http://www.alamy.com/default.aspx

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A selection of Jacky’s work on canvas can be purchased on these sites:

GOOD EARTH CANVAS: http://www.goodearthcanvas.com/hakusha/

FOTOVIVA ART PRINTS http://www.fotoviva.co.uk/

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Photographic Prints and Canvas of Jacky’s photography are available from:

FINE ART AMERICA : http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/jacky+parker/all

SOCIETY 6 http://society6.com/JackyparkerFloralArt

 

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Artist Inspiration : MAGDA WASICZEK

Those who know me know that I have a passion for flower photography. Especially the dreamy, surreal type, where magic and reality blend seamlessly, leaving the viewer with just a sense of awe and enthrallment. The Polish photographer Magda Wasiczek delivers the goods, and then some. I can never tire of seeing her photographs, and luckily for me she’s very prolific! Magda doesn’t just do flowers, though, her subjects are tied to Mother Nature and include spiders, grasshoppers, ladybirds, caterpillars, butterflies, snails, shells, fungi, dewdrops, rain, snow, etc. She also photographs newborn babies and underwater sea creatures, as well as macro photography.

I wish I had 1/100th of Magda’s talent!

Here’s how Magda describes herself, excerpt taken from her own website:

INTERNATIONAL GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2012
Photography raising awareness to the beauty of nature to me, I’ve learned to see things invisible, to enjoy a million small details, which previously did not pay attention. First of all, it became my way of life and the cure for all evils …I do not know who or why, what strength created the world that surrounds us. I know that it is an unusual and fascinating in every smallest detail that is a miracle. It is not my priority showing the world exactly the way it is. There are many other photographers who do it better than me. I want the audience to present my vision of the world, this idyllic paradise of fairy tales. I hope that looking at my pictures, for a while, wake up a child inside of them, because the world in the eyes of children is always more colorfull , fascinating, mysterious and full of surprises.

I came across this article where Magda explains how she got into photography, and what inspires her:

Wasiczek’s photographic story started with a 1998 business trip, from which her husband returned with a Nikon N70 film SLR. A gift celebrating the birth of the first of their three children, the N70 quickly became an expressive tool in Wasiczek’s hands. She captured her child’s first years with such sensitivity that soon other parents were hiring her to photograph their kids, and now she’s made a career of it.
As her camera skills improved, Wasiczek made the journey from children’s nurseries to meadows and gardens near her home, where a more unusual photographic vision evolved. “My photos aren’t literal representations of flowers,” she says, “but are the record of impressions that I experience, impressions of color, light, and shape. I look for visual effects to represent those impressions.”
These effects might be background highlights that will defocus into stars, rings, or moons, as well as colors that can be saturated or otherwise tweaked into something otherworldly.
Instead of individual blossoms or tidy bouquets, Wasiczek is drawn to chaotic meadows and gardens with unkempt wildflowers that live up to their name. These are places that evoke memories of dashing around her grandmother’s garden as a child. “I really miss the old picturesque flower gardens with typical Polish natives like mallows, nasturtiums, sunflowers, poppies, and helleniums,” she says. Now everything is mowed, pruned, aligned, and contained, she laments, within neatly trimmed borders.
“When I go into the meadow or garden, I look around. I often sit there to sharpen my eyes,” Wasiczek says. “Within the jungle of grass and plants, I try to find a theme that will inspire me. I soak up the smells of the meadow, its sounds, its light, and I wait. Maybe a butterfly will flap by, or I’ll notice a ladybug climbing a leaf, or drops of dew will sparkle in a shaft of sunlight.”
When this happens, she picks up her camera and plays. Wasiczek’s favorite time is from late afternoon until sunset, mainly for the light. “By nature I am an owl, not a lark, so for me the perfect time is when the low sun of late afternoon beautifully illuminates the plants and gives them warm, golden colors,” she says. She’s inspired by this light, especially after rain.
“The very low-contrast light created by a cloudy, gray sky is also good, but its effect is different,” she continues. “It’s best for making bright, pastel photos. I don’t like strong sun, and the only thing that will draw me out of the house at noon is a flock of butterflies passing through.” Wasiczek avoids flash, and prefers to reflect ambient light onto backlit or shadowed subjects with a compliment of small reflectors and mirrors.
As much as she likes the golden hour, Wasiczek will also wake before dawn to shoot. In these moments, insects are just stirring and not as likely to fly off, and dew drops put on amazing light shows. “On mornings bathed in dew, the flowers look like they’re studded with diamonds that shine in the first rays of the sun. The views of this spectacular phenomenon can be breathtaking, but they’re not for sleepers. In summer, you have to be up and out on the meadow by 4 a.m. Otherwise, you miss it,” she warns.

Magda’s website is very comprehensive and well laid-out, with her photos arranged according to category. I highly recommend that you pay a visit there to see why I’m so excited about her.

Here are just a few of my favourite photos by Magda Wasiczek, that I’ve taken from Google Images:

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http://www.magdawasiczek.pl

Flower photography. Absolutely fabulous!

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RETROSPECTIVE : FLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY

I was going through my external hard-drive recently, looking for my Cemetery Angel images (yes, really) from 2011, when I realised that I hadn’t really put any of my old iPhoneography images on my blog yet. I cut my teeth on an iPhone 3 and then 4, before switching to a Samsung Galaxy S3 (now S4). The iPhone’s memory capacity being limited to what it is, I had to continuously do image “dumps” from my camera roll to an external hard-drive. These days, with a 64GB SD card in my Galaxy S4, I only occasionally move my images from my camera roll anywhere. Things are so much easier to find on my S4, thanks to the ability to create and add folders and sub-folders within the smartphone itself.

Anyway, in 2011-2012 I went through several phases where all I photographed were flowers, flowers and more flowers. I took hundreds of photos of my favourite flower, the Erythrina Lysistemon, A visit to a Koi and Water Lily farm yielded hundreds of images of Water Lilies. Orchids, Roses, Australian Wildflowers, Sunflowers, Aeoniums, Lilies, Tulips, Pansies, Lantana, Dandelions, Daisies, Agapanthus, Purple Geishas, Anemones, Poppies, Rhododendrons, Hibiscus, etc etc – if it caught my eye, it went into my camera roll. At the peak of my obsession with flower photography, I would even visit florists and ask for permission to photograph their flowers!

Here are some of my processed iPhone images, for what they are.

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These are a few of my favourite things

Once in a while, I feel the urge to conduct some sort of retrospective look at my Art. It’s a way of looking back to the past at what I’ve done, looking at the present at what I’m doing, and hopefully getting an idea of the direction I should be heading next.

By looking at the past, we learn what worked and what didn’t, and if we can learn from our mistakes, then we will know what to do and what not to do in the future. This applies to Life as much as it does to Art.

By looking at the past, I also find new inspiration. Something that I might have tried but didn’t turn out as expected the last time might be more successful this time, now that I have a little, or a lot, more experience and/or technology has advanced enough for my original idea to work. Or, something that Did work but got sideswiped in my rush to try new things might get resurrected for Round Two.

I sometimes look at a favourite piece of mine and marvel at how I managed to create that look or effect. Wow, was I that good? Ha ha ha…I haven’t a clue now how I did it. 😆 Seriously, I don’t!

Anyway, here are some of my own personal favourites, from back when I first started in iPhoneography at the end of 2010, right up to this year, 2014. You may notice that after 2013 I dropped the year from my digital signature, as I felt it dated the artwork…that pun was intentional, by the way ;).

As the words of that famous song go – “These are a few of my favourite things”:

image This is of a bird sitting amongst the branches of a Coral Tree (Erythrina Lysistemon). I love those trees and every year I will cycle around my area looking for their brilliant, scarlet flowers to fuel my next photographic project. The best time to photography Coral trees, in Western Australia anyway, is in July-September. This image reminds of of an Hermès scarf, perhaps it’s the vibrant colours against the white background.

image Gardenia. I love how this turned out looking like the flower at the top has been highlighted. The colours are romantic, the light is soft, and the fact that the flower at the bottom has flaws only makes it more real to life. This image went over to New Zealand for the MINA photography exhibition in 2011.

image I found a stand of huge sunflowers outside a neighbour’s garden in the Summer of 2012, and took over 200 photos of them. At the time, I was experimenting with Macro photography, using my iPhone 4’s native camera, and also some Olloclip-type lenses (I couldn’t afford the real thing so mine was from China on eBay), and my own homemade “Noodle Macro”, which was very simply the lens off a cheap plastic Twin Reflex camera, fixed into a slice of a swimming “noodle” float. I love this photo for its bright, saturated colours, and the fact that it looks like I’ve caught the sunflower in mid-furl.

image These “Hen and Chicks” Sempervivum were in a pot in my garden. I don’t recall which App or filter I used to process the photo on my iPhone 4, but the colours somehow changed and became varied, giving me this almost-floral image. I still have the original plant, only it’s been divided and replanted into several different pots now.

image At the time of creating this image, I was experimenting with combining DSLR photography with mobile photography, using an Olympus E-PM1, my Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone, and my iPad2. Between the three devices, I managed to produce this image of fallen frangipanis around a turquoise floral teacup and saucer. I liked how the teacup and saucer came out in the photo…which subsequently led me to experiment with using just teacups and saucers sans flowers, and stacking them…which in turn led to an entire series of images in a project I called “The Madhatter’s Teaparty”.

image I can’t remember the name of these purple trumpet flowers. They are quite small, about an inch long each, growing in clusters off a medium-sized tree. By the time I took this photo, the leaves were quite wilted. I like the old-fashioned, romantic, grunged-up look, and the contrast between the turquoise glass and the purple flowers.

image This was an experiment in 2013, again using my Olympus E-PM1 DSLR camera, my Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPad2. Somehow, the petals at the end of the lefthand-side stems appear to have mysteriously disappeared into the ether. I like the bokeh, colours and textures in this.

image This is one of my favourites…the blue colour of the glass vase really pops. The 3 Chrysanthemums – pink, purple and yellow – contrast well with the blue and turquoise tones of the vase and the background. I love the grunged up textures here too. The title of this one is “A Beautiful Mess”.

image I love the simplicity of this image. Just a few tweaks of colour saturation and contrast, the addition of a multi-coloured background, and a “rainy day” effect filter.

image This one I mistakenly called “Red Poppy” before I did some research and realised those were Anemones, not Poppies. (I’m terrible at identifying plants, just so you know. I once went around telling everyone I had photos of Peonies when in actual fact they were of Parrot Tulips). I wrote a tutorial about how I created this particular image – here.

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Artist Inspiration : ISABELLE MENIN

I first saw the work of Isabelle Menin while surfing on Pinterest. I was blown away immediately by the sheer beauty and impact of her work. Here are some words that I would use to describe Isabelle’s work: ethereal, enchanting, bewitching, translucent, layered, multi-dimensional, sensuous, effervescent, feminine, romantic, painterly, visionary, hyper-realistic, otherworldly. And inspiring, of course, which is why I’ve chosen to write about her today.

I don’t have to write much more about Isabelle’s Art, because she has expressed herself very eloquently and with clarity on her own website http://www.isabellemenin.com. Here is the transcript, taken directly from her site and in her own words. Interspersed between the paragraphs are images of Isabelle Menin’s works, for your viewing pleasure.

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WOULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU CAME TO BE WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
After my formal studies in Brussels, I’ve explored painting for 10 years while working in graphic design and illustration. After several exhibitions in Belgium, I’ve decided to quit painting and to work with digital photography. Anyway, I ’ve always worked using nature’s elements, particularly flowers.

Yet my real source of inspiration is life – pain, joy, fear, enchantment, anger and gratitude –, Marcel Proust, my family, some friends and lovers…

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WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR TO YOU AND YOUR WORK?

I think it’s related to vibration and turbulence. Though we can produce vibration and turbulence with black and white as well, my work has grown with colour’s effervescence from the start. I’ve always felt the need to produce little explosions with colours.

Working with colour in order to obtain the expected vibration is extremely sensual. Maybe I’m just more sensitive to the infinite colour variations than to potentiality of black and white. Maybe because black is the locus of secret. Actually, it reminds me of that teacher who was showing black and white photographs to little children and one of them asked him: “So, the world used to be in black and white in the old days?” Indeed: how is the world?

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WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY?

Digital technology has been a total release. The “Undo” click is one of the greatest inventions ever!

It was a brand-new device, and it was so fascinating that it gave me the illusion of removing from me all the ballast of the art, my education, my analysis, and the critical distance. Definitely a bewitching tool, but also worrying at the same time because of the unlimited possibilities of manipulation it provides. It is so fast, so vertiginous that you can sometime hardly keep your path on the straight and narrow.

Going digital allowed me to push back my limits, to find a much wider sphere of activity where things tied up fluidly and were reversible.

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WHAT ROLE DOES RELIGION OR FAIRY TALES HAVE IN YOUR WORK?

I find it quite amusing that you link religion and fairy tales in the same question.

What we usually like in fairy tales is the moment the big bad wolf appears, it’s the twisting of reality, when a dark zone lights up all of a sudden and allows something till then unrevealed to emerge. It is the transition from smoothness to crookedness, the swing from light to darkness, the revelation of a different reality through gloom. If there is a link between fairy tales and my work, it is precisely in that particular aspect.

Concerning religion, I don’t exactly know what you mean. Are you referring to the form a group of people attributes to the mystery of God? That form only interests me in what it says about our societies. Yet the strange path we travel in the mystery of God is indeed very important and plays an important part in my work. However, I don’t really feel like talking about it as I consider it something very personal.

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AND HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERISE YOUR WORKS’ RELATIONSHIP TO NATURE?

I call my work “inland photographs and disordered landscapes” in reference to nature’s strange complexity that looks to me like human strange complexity. The uncontrolled forces, the shapes’ complexity, the interweavings and the synergy of the elements, they all look to me like a mirror of human spirit. We are no straight lines, we are like nature, a very large network of interferences that work together to produce something which sometimes looks accomplished and then gets destroyed in a perpetual coming and going between order and disorder.

Also, nature is the place where I can get rid of human figures, human noise, human arrogance. Nature looks like it doesn’t give a shit about us and that is very relaxing!

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HOW MUCH OF YOUR WORK WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO BE SCULPTURAL?

That question surprises me inasmuch as I have never thought of my work in those terms. I create a space that unfolds through the depth I get by accumulating layers, by light, by transparency and opacity; I put elements together that create a kind of fake landscape, I photograph and then manipulate them in order to twist them and show the sometimes hidden sides. But in the end, it remains an image, thus two-dimensional.

To apprehend a sculpture, one must be able to turn around it: its link to space is an intrinsic part of it and, it interacts with space. I also have the feeling a sculpture belongs to a much less intimate space than an image. Now I rather lean towards an intimate and solitary relation with the image.

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IS THERE ANY ELEMENT OF YOUR WORK WHICH YOU FIND PEOPLE COMMONLY MISINTERPRET?

Yes, most of the time people mistake me for a florist!

People often refer to past centuries paintings when seeing my work. Flemish Primitives, Rubens, Watteau, Fragonard, whatever. Though I’m much more fascinated by “ancient art” than by contemporary, it’s not something I am in any way striving to, it just happens. It appears at the end of the process, but it’s not intentional. I realize that it’s like if I were regurgitating years and years of art loving, but I don’t want to transform past in something contemporary, I’m not playing with the tension between ancient and new, between past and modernity, I’m not playing with modernity at all: I just want to put things together to rebuilt, to discover in what way I see the world and I happen to do it with a computer rather than with brushes. That’s all.

Also, there are people who just see the “gorgeous” and “romantic” side of my work. In the most pejorative way. I recently read a Diane Arbus quote saying “I’ve never taken the photograph I intended to take”, and it made echo with me. Between what I want reach and the final image there is a lot of fight, and I’m not always the winner. Actually, most of the time I’m the loser. But what’s important is the new things I’ve discovered and was obliged to explore by loosing the battle. And maybe I go where I didn’t want to go and maybe I’m lost in “beauty”. But maybe, finally, that’s where I want to be: lost in beauty. Of course, if it’s only “gorgeous”, it means that I failed.

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IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU THAT YOUR WORK IS ABLE TO MAKE A CONNECTION WITH A BROAD RANGE OF PEOPLE BOTH SEASONED ART LOVERS AND LAYMEN ALIKE?

Honestly, I don’t know…”People”, “a lot of people”… It doesn’t mean anything to me.

I thereby mean, and it’s probably very selfish, that I work first and foremost for myself. I don’t exactly work for “myself”, I just work. I’m not sure I want to know how many of “these” or of “those” people like or don’t like my work. In other words: for me, the image really exists as long as I’m working on it. Once a picture (or a series) is finished, once it goes out “into the world” I feel like a stranger to it. It’s already somewhere else.

Furthermore, nowadays the web allows a large spreading: one does not know who is reached, nor why. The web is very voracious, everything circulates very rapidly, everything travels, everything is fragmented.

So, whether they are amateurs or professionals, I guess that like elsewhere all that matters is that a real connection happens, that a real exchange takes place, driven by curiosity and surprise.

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WHAT’S A SOUND, SCENT AND FLAVOUR THAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU AND WHY?

There are too many of them! But what I would like is to picture a scent; I would like to make a photograph of a scent! A scent can be a sound, a sound can be a flavour, etc. They both can be each other. Anyway, sounds, scents and flavours are shapes to me. They are rounds, broken lines or arabesques, squares or pyramids, things like that. More often they are shapes rather than colours.

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HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SUBJECT MATTER OR THE CONTENT OF YOUR WORK?

Life. Death. The constant mystery of being on earth. Perplexity.

My driving force is not in the critical distance. I’m interested in expressing basic human emotions even if there is a fight between what I want to do/say and what the “image” wants to do/say. It’s all about life, love, death and personal progression. An inner conversation with the world of emotions and impressions by walking the path of life. My images stand at the intersection of my different perceptions of life and express the abundance of possible answers. Everything is reflexion, mirror; everything responds to everything. That’s why I keep on adding layers upon layers and layers. I try to finally produce something as swaying, blurred and uncertain as our strange lives.

It’s not about escaping from life, it’s about digging deeper into it.

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WHAT WAS THE LAST ARTWORK TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?

A band, Wovenhand. They are very important to me. They gave me strength and courage. Faith.

A Belgian visual artist recently discovered: Thierry de Cordier. I went to see an exhibition of his paintings lately. I thought I had to cross the whole museum before reaching the room where his paintings were exhibited, but actually as soon as I entered the museum I saw them. And my heart jumped into my chest like when you see somebody you’re in love with in a crowd where you didn’t expect to see that person. That painting is to be seen, not to be talked about. It’s a place without words, a strange silence that you can see. Silence can actually be seen.

In literature: Dostoyevsky’s ‘Brothers Karamazov’ and Russell Banks’ novel ‘Cloudsplitter’.

Actually, all these works are about darkness and light, about how to walk as human being with the terrible mystery of God that some are feeling and some are not. They are all rough, scarred works full of dust and sweat. “O the heights and depths” sings David Eugene Edwards.

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WHAT IS A RESPONSE TO YOUR WORK THAT LINGERS IN YOUR MEMORY?

Somebody once said about my work: “inspiration junkie”. I like that.

I don’t do drugs but I often act as if I were.

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WHAT NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND/OR MEDIA WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH IN FUTURE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS FOR YOUR WORK?

I don’t exactly care about new technologies. I don’t dream of anything else that what I can use now, I try to do with what I have. I just would like to have 72 hours in a day. That would be a major improvement!

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Galerie Antonio Nardone (Brussels/Belgium – Torino/Italy)
Sophie Maree Gallery (The Hague/The Netherlands)
Joseph Bellows Gallery (CA/USA)

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Artist Inspiration : SARAH GARDNER

I blame Sarah Gardner for leading me astray. There I was, minding my own business, post-processing my mobile camera images willy nilly and anyway I liked, until She came along and veered me along in a completely different direction. I’ve been meaning to thank her ever since for doing that, and so here we are today.

I had been toying with the idea of romanticising my flower photography, by adding texture, grunge and scratches to them to make them look vintage and antique. At the same time I’d been playing with the different layering methods in Photoshop Touch – multiple, screen, overlay, difference, add, subtract etc…albeit instinctively without really understanding what they meant. All I knew was that sometimes one or another filter worked better than others. Then along came Sarah Gardner and the blinkers came off.

I found Sarah’s book “Art Beyond The Lens” at Boffins Technical Bookshop in Perth one day, and was hooked immediately. I loved Sarah’s style, her delicate colour palette, the sheer romanticism of her imagery. Plus, she also described in detail how she achieved each image. Here then, were templates that I could actually follow with my rudimentary Photoshop skills, and/or apply to the mobile version, Photoshop Touch, on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Don’t forget to check out her tutorials also on her web pages!

Sarah Gardner is a hard act to follow…literally…she has not just one, but several sites and blogs, dedicated to different aspects of her work.  A busy girl, indeed :-)! I shall list them below for your ease of reference:

http://www.sarahgardnertextures.com

http://www.sarahgardnerphotography.com

http://sarahgardnerphotography.blogspot.com.au

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgphotographyclient/

http://www.pinterest.com/sarahjgardner/

There’s a lot to take in from those sites, so I shall leave you with a few examples of Sarah’s beautiful images:

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Artist Inspiration : Robert Bridges

I first came to know Robert through our common love for flower photography. Robert would post images of macro flower photography to Pinterest, and I would steal and repin them. And vice versa.

I’d always wondered how Robert creates his beautiful flowers, with such depth and luminosity. There’s an almost ethereal quality to them, an elusive play of light and shadows that normal photography simply cannot achieve.

So, I asked Robert to share his secrets. Which he has very kindly and generously done. Now, I am no expert on DSLR photography, so I shall let Robert himself speak about his multi-exposure techniques. Over to you, sir!

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Multiple exposures as a technique have been around since the days of the view camera when folks (like me) forgot to switch the film holder and inadvertantly exposed the same piece of film twice……35mm film cameras have had the ability to do ME’s since the 60’s and before. Prior to digital I was playing around with ME’s and slide sandwiching for some time. Digital and the immediacy of the feedback provided made doing ME’s much easier.

So, OK  first the camera will automatically adjust ISO values to keep the exposures within acceptable ranges. I shoot JPG and not RAW primarily because shooting RAW multiple exposures eats up battery power fast and best I can tell there is no difference in the detail or colors captured.

When I first started this kind of imagery I did so out of curiosity and boredom with the same old same old. I saw at once that using ME immediately adds the elements of time and chance to every image so each image is unique in the sense that it can’t be exactly duplicated. I liked and still like the idea of including time as part of the image. 

The flowers I photograph are locally grown up the road about a mile at a B&B. Small gardens and a variety of flowers that grow well at high altitude.  The Irises also grow here but I like to go to Denver to a friend’s place who cultivates Irises so I get very unique flowers to start with (sometimes). I do not photograph during the winter so my shooting times start in April or May and go until the last leaf drops. 

The shoot starts with a zen concept called Beginner’s mind. No expectations no idea of what I will see or how I will photograph it. To begin, I like to sanctify the work for that day with a short prayer or something that feels right for the day – often gratitude is a component – how lucky I am to be able to stand in a garden in a place of beauty and photograph versus standing in some line or doing some menial job to stay alive. Gratitude and joy and an open receptive state of mind along with some good close up lenses.

I don’t meter off anything in particular and use the LCD to examine the images for color and hue. I couldn’t care less about the histogram or what is called “proper exposure”. I pick what looks good to me and adjust accordingly.  I shoot wide open most of the time as closing down the aperture creates registration problems I’d rather not deal with – so I shoot wide open and this often results in fast shutter speeds – so I can and do hand hold at times – I also work on a tripod – that mostly depends on the day, the flower, the light, my mood and so forth – no set rules.

Take a look at Robert’s inspiring macro flower photography on his website here: Robert Bridges

The part that resonates with me is Robert’s Zen principle of the Beginner’s Mind, of not having any idea of what to see or how to photograph it. I shoot with my Samsung Galaxy S4 camera, as and when something attracts my attention. It could be a texture, a play of light and shadow, a colour, a shape. It is only afterwards, when I look through the images, that some of them speak to me and ask to be processed further, to be changed into something else. I like the randomness and element of chance this kind of photography affords me. Spontaniety and serendipity are my favourite keywords.

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My favourite flower: Erythrina Lysistemon

A few posts back, I wrote about my passion for flower photography and how that led to my iFlower Series and book. While it is true that I love all manner of flowers, my favourite flower is the Erythrina Lysistemon, or Coral Tree.

Here is an excellent website detailing the many different sub-species of Erythrina http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2594/#b

When I first arrived in Perth, Western Australia, it was in December at the height of Summer, and the Erythrina trees were hiding themselves from my attention by being bare branched and not very exciting. It was only in Spring, in August, that I started to notice these brilliant scarlet flowers in stark contrast against vivid blue skies, set off by a scattering of beautiful, light green leaves. It was love at first sight.

I would spend my free time cycling around the neighbourhoods searching out these trees. And then I’d spend several minutes at each tree, just snapping away on my iPhone 4’s camera, trying to capture the essence of these beautiful flowers from every angle.

We came to Rockingham last June to see if we’d like to live here, and one of the deciding factors for me was the fact that Rockingham’s foreshore was planted with many of these attractive trees…so we bought our house in Rockingham and guess what, there is an Erythrina tree in our neighbour’s garden opposite our house, and one at the start of our street. I’m so happy!

Now it is nearly September and Springtime and the flowers are in bloom again. I’m out and about taking pictures of the Erythrina Lysistemon with my Samsung Galaxy S4’s camera. A few weeks ago I spent an hour at our local park, happily taking photos of the 26 wonderful Erythrina trees that were planted in a circle. Unfortunately, after some overzealous deleting of programmes from my S4, I lost all my camera photos. But hey, no worries, on Wednesday I went to another local park where there were 14 Erythrina trees, and filled up my camera roll again.

I read that the seeds come in pods and can be cultivated, so I will see if I can propagate my very own Erythrina tree.

Here are some unedited photos of the wonderful Erythrina Lysistemon. And a few photos that I’ve processed using various Apps. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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