Search Results for: 85mm

Does size really matter?

Does size really matter? Sometimes smaller is better, as I think is the case with these two light box compositions. Both are based around a lattice of small viola blossoms, colorful translucent flowers in the Violaceae family.

Both compositions are small in their entirety, taking up only a fractional portion of the area (maybe 1/12) of my A1 (26″ X 36″) light box. Makes for easier photography because I don’t have to get as high up, with a moderate telephoto lens such as the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 used in these two images.

Love is a Many Splendored Thing © Harold Davis

Tapestry of Small Flowers © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Honeysuckle and Monarda

Sometimes single blossoms are the most elegant. This Honeysuckle (above) and Monarda (below) are from our garden. I photographed the blossoms on a light box, and other than layering-in bracketed high-key exposures, there was minimal post-production.

Honeysuckle © Harold Davis

Honeysuckle © Harold Davis

Exposure data (Honeysuckle): Nikon D850, 85mm Nikor tilt-shift macro, five exposures at shutter speeds from one second to 15 seconds, each exposure at an effective aperture of f/64 and ISO 64; exposures combined in Photoshop.

Monarda © Harold Davis

Monarda © Harold Davis

Exposure data (Monarda): Nikon D850, 85mm Nikor tilt-shift macro, five exposures at shutter speeds from 1.3 seconds to 20 seconds, each exposure at an effective aperture of f/64 and ISO 64; exposures combined in Photoshop.

Posted in Flowers

White Rose

When I saw this white rose, I wanted to contrast the spiral center with its clear delineations and the softness of the outer petals. I used a Lensbaby 85mm Velvet, and made two exposures, with my Nikon D850 on a tripod. The exposure for the center was stopped down at f/16, and for the outer petals wide open at f/1.8. I combined the two exposures using a layer, layer mask, and the Brush Tool in Photoshop.

White Rose © Harold Davis

White Rose © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Now You See: Two Pods and a Bee

Yesterday I photographed at a local garden, and came back with images of a bee, and two flowers gone to seed. I used the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8 for each of these images.

Bee the Light © Harold Davis

Bee the Light © Harold Davis

Seed Head © Harold Davis

Seed Head © Harold Davis

Seed Head 2 (color) © Harold Davis

Seed Head 2 (color) © Harold Davis

Posted in Lensbaby

Nearly Perfect Poppy

Waking up to a morning of partial sunshine, I saw this new, glowing, orange Poppy blossom in the plantings along our front porch. It was definitely dappled and dawn-drawn. Although I have met and photographed many fine Papavers in my life, this one seemed nearly perfect to me in every way.

Nearly Perfect Poppy © Harold Davis

Nearly Perfect Poppy © Harold Davis

If you are interested in how I photographed this flower, I brought it indoors and suspended it over a black velvet background. I used diffused sunlight for ambient backlighting, and added an LED macro flash for fill from both sides. The camera was my D850 on a heavy-duty RRS tripod. I used 60mm of extension tubes with my 85mm Nikkor t/s macro. A +4 close-up filter graced the business end of the lens.

I exposed for 30 seconds at ISO 64 and an effective aperture of f/64.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

A Trio of Tulips (and Macro Lenses)

Phyllis came home with a beautiful bouquet of tulips, and this morning I photographed them on the kitchen table. Warm morning sunlight lit the flowers from behind with a glow. I could control the light using the adjustable blinds on the kitchen windows, and also by moving the placement of the flowers so they were in and out of sunbeams.

Inside the Tulip C © Harold Davis

This is the tale of some pretty flowers, nice natural ambient light, and three different 85mm lenses. To start with, I had my heavy-duty RRS tripod on the floor so I could bring the ballhead to the right height to get into the tulip blossoms from beneath. I mounted a 50mm extension tube with a tripod collar onto the ballhead. 

My first image, Inside the Tulip C (above), was made using my Zeiss Otus 85mm at f/16, focused as close as it could go on the extension tube.

Inside the Tulip B © Harold Davis

To make the next version, Inside the Tulip B (above), I swapped my 85mm Zeiss Otus for the 85mm Lensbaby Velvet and photographed wide-open (at f/1.8). Essentially, I was trading optical perfection for perfection in impressionismo! The Lensbaby Velvet makes a very different image stopped down (to f/16) in Inside the Tulip A (below)—note that the point of focus was the same for both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ versions. It’s worth mentioning that this lens has macro capabilities, so (combined with the extension tube) I was definitely working at a greater magnification ratio than in the ‘C’ version.

Inside the Tulip A © Harold Davis

Since I’d already had fun with two different 85mm lenses, I decided to try a third, my Nikkor 85mm tilt-shift macro. As I’ve noted before, this is a fully manual lens, without even automatic diaphragm control—you need to press a button to manually stop the lens down when you are ready to expose.

Combined with the extension tube with the macro capabilities of this lens you can really get pretty much into microscope territory. But is too much ever enough? I added a +4 close-up filter to the front of the lens, focused on the small central indent in the tulip petals, and stopped down to f/45 (as an “adjusted aperture” this records in EXIF data as f/64 by the way).

Tulip Petal © Harold Davis

Since this is a monochromatic image (in orange) and more about the patterns it presents than the coloration, I decided to try a black and white conversion, shown below.

Tulip Petal in Black and White © Harold Davis

All-in-all, a fun morning was spent photographing tulips up close and personal. There were some other things on my lists to accomplish, but I have learned (when I can) to relax, let go, and let art!

Posted in Flowers

A Sunset and Two Camellias

This year, 2018, has been a little sparse for me photographically so far (but see Red Tulips and New Year’s Day Design). I think of this as a “pause that refreshes” after the whirlwind that 2017 was for me, with some exciting plans for 2018!

I’ll discuss an additional reason for this sparseness, and also outline some of my 2018 plans, below a few images I have made already this year. One is a sunset from Indian Rock looking out towards San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate. But instead of the expected landmarks, what you see are bare branches, with the sunset behind. The other two images are of camellias in our garden, photographed using the Lensbaby 85mm f/1.6. We have an old-fashioned camellia bush that always flowers right around my birthday in January (lucky me!).

Sunset in Winter © Harold Davis

Birthday Camellia © Harold Davis

Camellia © Harold Davis

In my New Year’s Greeting, I wrote “with the world standing on the knife’s edge of authoritarianism, it is important to remember that a kindly civilization that values people and their differences is ultimately better for everyone. To paraphrase John Donne, no one is an island apart, and when one person is diminished so are we all. For the sake of our children and our children’s children, we should not passively accept a world that is less than it can be.”

I believe this fairly anodyne message is worth repeating because it brought me hate emails, and folks who wanted off my email lists. So I am herewith doubling down. As a patriot, and someone who loves his country, I cannot be silent, because silence is being complicit and borders on collaboration. I am entitled to my viewpoint on the events of our times and the festering evil of our “not my President.” I am prepared to accept that there are divergent viewpoints, but if someone cannot accept mine then I don’t want them on my email lists or in my workshops.

Here are some of my plans for 2018: In April I will be leading a small group of photographers in the southwest of France. Following this destination workshop I am going to spend some time solo walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. From Santiago de Compostela, I’ll head to Menorca as one of the Masters for PhotoPills Camp.

In June, I’ll be leading the only session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency in 2018 here in Berkeley, California (there are still a few spaces left).

In August, I’ll again to Maine to teach a week of garden photography at Maine Media, then to Germany to teach once more in beautiful Heidelberg.

Also please keep in mind the Dark of the Moon night photography workshop in the eastern Sierra (in September, with a few spaces left).

I also want to highlight my early November destination photo tour to the ancient country of Malta in the southern Mediterranean. 

My full upcoming Workshops & Events calendar can be found here.

Posted in Photography

Amaryllis Unfurling

I photographed this white Amaryllis unfurling using dappled and diffused sunlight for illumination, and a black velvet cloth for the background.

Amaryllis Unfurling © Harold Davis

The image is comprised of three exposures, each using the Lensbaby 85mm f/1.6 and an extension tube, with my camera mounted on a tripod. I varied the aperture (and adjusted the shutter speed to compensate) to take advantage of the different effects this lens has depending upon how wide open or shut down it is. The exposure at f/1.6 yielded the bright sunlit areas on the upper right, the exposure at f/4 covers most of the mid-tones, and the exposure at f/16 sharpened the inner unfurling.

Posted in Flowers, Monochrome, Photography

Mottled-leaf Paphiopedilum

This is an image of an orchid I made today with a new lens, the 85mm f/1.8 Lensbaby Velvet. This is a lens designed to create a glowing effect in the center, hence it has applications for portraiture. Since the lens is also fairly capable in terms of close-ups (it focuses to 1/2 life size), it also seems like an optic that has potential with botanical art. In any case, it is quite a bit of fun to play with!

Mottled-leaf Paphiopedilum © Harold Davis

I haven’t had fun with anything Lensbaby in quite a while (since 2010), but back in the day I used older Lensbaby optics quite a bit. You can check some of these out by clicking here.

Posted in Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

Dahlia

It’s great to be home and back with my family. I got back late last night, and spent the day catching up with correspondence and projects, and getting reacquainted with some deadlines. But I did take a little time out to photograph some beautiful dahlias.

Dahlia © Harold Davis

Dahlia © Harold Davis

The flower shown here was photographed on a black velvet background with my Nikon D810, the 85mm f/1.4 Zeiss Otus with a 12mm extension tube, at one second, f/16, ISO 64, using a tripod. The flower was illuminated with natural light, meaning cloudy but bright sunlight. I processed the image in Adobe Camera RAW, and made a few adjustments in Photoshop.

Posted in Flowers

Succulent from our Garden

Succulent from our Garden © Harold Davis

Succulent from our Garden © Harold Davis

Fortunately, this succulent was in a planter so I could bring it indoors and out of the wind to photograph. 85mm macro, nine exposures at shutter speeds from 1/4 of a second to 2 minutes, each exposure at f/64 and ISO 100; tripod mounted; processed and converted to black and white in Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, Nik HDR Efex Pro, and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Posted in Monochrome

Floral Fantasies

These floral fantasies are created and photographed as collages on the light box, then processing in Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop, Nik, Topaz, and using LAB color adjustments. What fun!

Bright As a Summer's Day © Harold Davis

Bright As a Summer’s Day © Harold Davis

Photographed with my Zeiss Otus 85mm at f/16 and ISO 64 in two panels, each panel with eight exposures ranging from 1/15 of a second to 15 seconds. First I combine the captures in each panel using the techniques explained in my Photographing Flowers for Transparency FAQ. Then I use Photoshop to combine the left and right sides of this floral panorama, for an extremely high resolution file.

Shadow of the Solarized Moon © Harold Davis

Shadow of the Solarized Moon © Harold Davis

The workflow for processing these images is laborious but a great deal of fun. Learn more via my books, my online webinar recordings, or in a Harold Davis workshop (there are only a few spaces left in my Flower workshop in Maine this August).

Flowers Will Reach the Black Empire © Harold Davis

Flowers Will Reach the Black Empire © Harold Davis

 

Posted in Flowers, Photography

We are not afraid of color

I photographed these flowers on my light box using the bright and sharp Zeiss Otus 85mm lens, then created a number of variations in Photoshop. The colors in flowers give me a palette to experiment with saturation and contrast, and I herewith proclaim: Bring it on! I love color!

We are not afraid of color © Harold Davis

We are not afraid of color © Harold Davis

Patterns in the Zeitgeist © Harold Davis

Patterns in the Zeitgeist © Harold Davis

Flowers are the jungle © Harold Davis

Flowers are the jungle © Harold Davis

Beyond the blue light  © Harold Davis

Beyond the blue light © Harold Davis

Solarized Flowers © Harold Davis

Solarized Flowers © Harold Davis

If you are interested in my flower photography techniques both in the camera and in post-production, there are still a few spots left in my Creative Flower Photography workshop at Maine Media in Rockport, Maine this coming August (2015). This is a five-day workshop that will cover light box photography, creative field flower photography, and Photoshop techniques.

Related story: An Amazing Amalgamation of Anemones.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photoshop Techniques, Workshops

Peter

Peter is a neighbor and a good man. These days, he mostly takes care of his disabled adult son.

Peter © Harold Davis

Peter © Harold Davis

Photographed hand-held with my Zeiss Otus 85mm lens at 1/3200 of a second and ISO 500, wide open at f/1.4. The Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 is a masterful portrait lens.

Posted in Monochrome, Photography

An Amazing Amalgamation of Anemones

Over the past few days I’ve had some amazing tulips as well as an amalgamation of anemones to play with. I have to admit to some inspirational thoughts looking through Georgia O’Keeffe paintings as research, although the reference isn’t clear in this image, the first I’ve processed from the many I’ve made. More work will follow as I have the time to process it.

Amazing Anemones © Harold Davis

Amazing Anemones © Harold Davis

To make Amazing Anemones, I used a Nikon D810, my Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4, Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop processing using LAB color, and shot on a light box using a tripod. As opposed to many of my light box images, with this one I limited the light on the front of the flowers, so that essentially all illumination was coming from behind—through the flowers. Back lighting emphasizes the translucency of the petals, and the transparent colors that are reminiscent of stained-glass.

Posted in Flowers, Photography