Search Results for: mallow

Mallow and Friends

I like the way this light box image, never before blogged, shows the translucency of the rose petals with the mallow coming through, diffracted but loud and clear!

Mallow and Friends © Harold Davis

Mallow and Friends © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers

Matilija Poppies and Mallows

You got to love the Matilija Poppy, a California native, with its wonderful huge yellow center and puffy white petals. The poppies are of the Romneya genus (so are neither Papaver nor Eschscholzia), and grow on bushes from mid-California south into Mexico. In this image, I combined a central Matilija Poppy with some humble mallows, arranged in a crescent shape to create a subconscious sense of a circular sweep in the photo.

Matilija Poppy and Mallows © Harold Davis

Related stories: Design for a Stained Glass Window Made of Flowers; Mallows.

Posted in Flowers, Photography


Like Clematis this is a single blossom, photographed on a light box, inverted to black in LAB, and then converted to monochrome using a virtual Infrared filter. The steps are shown here in inverted order (last is first, and first is last).

Mallow in IR © Harold Davis

Mallow in IR © Harold Davis

Mallow on Black © Harold Davis

Mallow on Black © Harold Davis

Mallow on White © Harold Davis

Mallow on White © Harold Davis

Post-production is so much part of my photographic art that I felt desolated when my production machine gave up the ghost last week. Admittedly, I’ve lived with it for many years, and made it mine. But it has taken me quite some time to get my new computer configured the way I like it—probably worth it, as it is up to handling the enormous files and sizes that I find myself often editing deploying.

Posted in Flowers, Monochrome, Photography

Mallow into Fabric

Mallow Unfurling © Harold Davis

Mallow Unfurling © Harold Davis

Briefly noted: Photographing this mallow blossom unfurling, I was reminded of fabric. Ignoring issues of scale and context, this flower could be the bottom portion of an elaborate and stylish dress!

Posted in Flowers, Photography


This is a mallow flower from a minature bush mallow that I planted in our garden. Here are other mallow images, and my mallow set on Flickr.

When I first started cross-processing this photogram in Photoshop, I was mainly attempting to get a transparent effect with the flower petals. But as I went along, I became more interested in the colors themselves, with the issue of transparency strictly secondary.

Posted in Flowers, Photograms, Photography

A Weakness for Mallows

I have a weakness for mallows. Not because the plant supplies the mucilage in marshmallows—or, it least, did before the dawn of this synthetic age—and marshmallows are so sweet. Although marshmallows toasted on an open fire on a fragrant Pacific beach on a windy night would be a good reason, come to think of it.

No, I’ve come to love the variety of the mallow flower, its wonderful colors, translucency, and complex center a/k/a the flower’s sexual organs.

The photo above is handheld using a Vibration Reduction zoom lens with an extension tube. The closer-in macro below I took roughly a month ago with a conventional tripod and macro setup.


View this photograph larger. Here’s the original story about this photo.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Heart Like a Mallow

Mallows are annuals or perennials of the Malvaceae family. Spreading from their origins in Southern Europe, they’ve given us fiber and marshmallows.

Often considered a weed, a number of the varieties of mallows are grown in gardens for their wonderful flowers. I’ve come to appreciate the wonderful baroque shapes and curliques made by the pistils, stamen, and anthers of this flower, as well as the transulence of the flower itself.

Bush Mallow

View this photograph larger.

I photographed the mallows shown here using a handheld vibration reduction lens and a short, low depth-of-field exposure in sunny, bright conditions.

Here’s an earlier photo of a mallow spiral using a more classical technique that I like.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

White Mallow

I was caught up in photographing the spiral deep inside a pink mallow. Then I looked up and noticed this white mallow nearby. I took the extension tube and close-up filter off my 200mm macro lens, and exposed a couple of further-back versions of the white flower.

I like the luminous quality of the sun coming through the flower.

You can see the pink mallow peeking around at the upper left.

Posted in Flickr, Photography

Spiral in a Mallow

This is a photograph at fairly high magnification (about 8:1) of an annual Mallow flower, Lavatera trimestris. I photographed it today at Blake Garden, which is near my home, because I like the spiral inside the flower. I think it is well worth looking at larger.

You may have noticed a new design for my photo blog. I hope you like it. Here’s the full story behind the change.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Mallow, Mucilage, and Bokeh

I’ve been watching my neighbor Brett’s mallow tree with great interest. Not because I covet a mallow tree, or his mallow tree. Not because of the mallow’s supposed medicinal properties. Which actually boil down to having high concentrations of mucilage, as in the marshmallow.

It’s a total tangent, but if you don’t know, here’s the defintion of mucilage from the Wikipedia:

Mucilage is a thick gluey substance produced by most plants and some microorganisms. Mucilage is an exopolysaccharide—a polymer composed of sugar residues and secreted by a microorganism into the surrounding environment.

Mucilage is what’s used by carnivorous plants to trap their prey, and we happen to have a couple of new carnivourous plants to the great delight of the kids.

Anyhow, to get back to the mallow, the thing that atracted me over the past couple of weeks is that about 5PM the afternoon sun is just at the right angle over Brett’s house to backlight the flowers on the trees.

My Nikon 18-200 vibration reduction lens with an extension tube and close-up filter makes an excellent way to get macros with a sharp center of focus and a nicely blurred background. Particularly into bright light (here’s another example).

An attractive blurred effect (usually combined with fully sharp image elements) is now fashionably called bokeh—I plan to write more about bokeh later.

The point for me of this mallow photo, which is perhaps best viewed larger, is the contrast between the sharp curliques of the flower center and the elegant angel wings of the less-focused flower itself.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Mallow Star

More close-ups from Blake Garden (here’s my first post about these photos).

I took a break from writing this afternoon. Phyllis, Julian, and I had a picnic in Blake Garden.

Here’s a photo of water lilies from today:

Water Lilies IV

And a the heart of an Icelandic poppy:

Heart of the Poppy I

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Save the Last Dance

For this image, I framed essentially a portrait view of the mallow (upper left) and the poppy (along the right, purple and red).

For some reason, the Save the Last Dance song, melody and lyrics, went through my head as I composed and honed the image. So I used the song as the name for my image. Perhaps the poppy is addressing the mallow? Flowers are so ephemeral.

Save the Last Dance for Me © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Photographing Flowers for Transparency with Harold Davis | Weekend Workshop

Photographing Flowers for Transparency with Harold Davis (Weekend Workshop) 

Where: Berkeley, CA. (Workshop room location TBD)

When: Saturday August 6 – Sunday August 7, 2022

Tuition: $1,195; Register on Meetup (RSVP YES and pay tuition) or contact us to pay tuition by check or credit card.

Special Feature: We will follow-up with a Zoom webinar approximately two weeks from the workshop to showcase and critique participant work (and to help with any problems).

Workshop size: Maximum of 14 photographers.

Photographing Flowers for Transparency with Harold Davis

Master photographer Harold Davis is well-known for his often imitated—but seldom equaled—digital images of luscious transparent and translucent flowers.

In this unique workshop offering, Harold Davis shows the techniques he uses to create his floral masterpieces. Arrangement, composition, photography, post-production will all be covered, as will Harold’s special techniques for shooting on a light box.

Poppies from our Garden Path © Harold Davis

Poppies from our Garden Path © Harold Davis

Who is this workshop for?

The workshop is intended for photographers of all levels with an interest in flower photography.

There is no better way to learn the floral transparency techniques that Harold Davis has pioneered. The multi-day format will give participants the chance to complete their imagery using the techniques that Harold will demonstrate, with input and help from “the master”. We will follow up with an online Zoom session for further critique and help with work.

The Right to Assemble © Harold Davis

Curriculum – Subject to modification

Saturday August 6, 2022

9:30AM – Workshop orientation

10:30 – Glory of the translucent petal (understanding translucency and transparency)

11:30 – Introduction to Floral arrangement and composition

12:30 – Lunch break

1:30 – Advanced floral composition

2:30 – Shooting on a light box

3:30 – Understanding high-key hand HDR post-production

4:30 – Advanced HDR topics

5:00 – Review, wrap-up and Q&A

Sunday August 7, 2022

10:00AM – Day 1 recap

10:30 – Individual post-production guided practice

11:30 – Backgrounds and Textures

12:30 – Lunch break

1:30 – LAB Color effects

2:15 – Individual practice

4:00 – Fine art botanical prints

4:30 – Review, wrap-up and Q&A

Hydrangea Relativity © Harold Davis

Hydrangea Relativity © Harold Davis

Here are some comments from previous Floral Transparency Workshops:

“Loved the pace, in-depth instruction and generous sharing.”


“Harold, thank you for the time, expense and effort it took to put on a great workshop….You are a wealth of information and share it so graciously.”

“Outstanding workshop!”

“A very packed weekend! Harold is very clear and organized; an outstanding photographer who is also an outstanding teacher.”

What to bring: Your creative imagination and sense of fun, a love of flowers, your camera (preferably capable of shooting in RAW and with a manual exposure mode), camera manual, tripod, and a way to make notes!

If you’d like to follow the post-production examples please bring a laptop loaded with Photoshop, and HDR Efex Pro from Nik Software (trial versions of this software are available for free download).

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is an artist, photographer, educator, and the  bestselling author of many books, including most recently Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook. He is the developer of a unique technique for photographing flowers for transparency, a Moab Master, and a Zeiss Ambassador. He is an internationally known photographer and a sought-after workshop leader. His website is

“Harold Davis’s Creative Photography series is a great way to start a photography library”—Daniel Fealko, PhotoFidelity.

“Harold Davis’s ethereal floral arrangements have a purity and translucence that borders on spiritual.”—Popular Photo Magazine

“Harold Davis is a force of nature—a man of astonishing eclectic skills and accomplishments.”—Rangefinder Magazine

Refund & Covid Policy: Refunds are available up to 90 days before the workshop (less a $100 cancellation fee). After that, no refunds unless we are forced to cancel the workshop. Please protect your investment in the workshop by buying travel insurance to cover the workshop fee and travel expenses. Covid vaccination is required to attend. We follow all health protocols in place at the time of the workshop.

Matilija Poppy and Mallows © Harold Davis

Matilija Poppies

The Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) is native to California, with a range from Mexico through northern California. This is a drought tolerant species that can be somewhat invasive once established—but, lordy, does one love being invaded by the Matilija with its big, translucent white flower petals, and yellow stamen cores that have been likened to a hard-boiled egg yolk.

Two other fun Matilija facts: the sap of the Matilija is highly poisonous, and the flower (genus Romneya) was named in the Linaean taxonomic system for Irish astronomer John Thomas Romney Robinson (1792-1882). There’s clearly an interesting tangent here, because Robinson was a good friend of Charles Babbage, and there is some evidence that a conversation between the two of them may have helped to spark the idea for Babbage’s Difference Engine (a forerunner of the modern computer).

Tangents aside, I love to create images on my light box that overlay the translucent Matilija with more colorful flowers, as you can see from the sequence below, and also in Matilija Poppies and Mallows and Matilija Poppies and Friends (among many others).

The Right to Assemble © Harold Davis

Matilija Poppy © Harold Davis

Let Poppies Reign Forever © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Spring of our Discontent

White Papaver Nudicaule Inversion © Harold Davis

White Papaver Nudicaule Inversion © Harold Davis

This is the spring of our discontent. Or at least the spring of isolating in place. As long as we are on Shakespeare near-quotations, “Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”

In that spirit, keeping to our quarantined state has given me time to pursue projects I have long been putting off, like mastering video creation and leading remote webinars.

My garden is in glorious April bloom, and I have flowers to photograph. Like the white Papaver nudicaule (Icelandic poppy) shown in this story.

White Papaver Nudicaule © Harold Davis

White Papaver Nudicaule © Harold Davis

To make the image on white, I cut the flower and placed it on my light box. Making the exposure, I decided not to use a macro lens. I picked a great piece of glass, my Zeiss 135mm f/2 moderate telephoto lens. I have used this lens for this kind of composition with success before, for example in Matilija Poppies and Mallows. I added a 12mm extension tube between the lens and camera so I could focus closer.

I made six exposures with the camera on the tripod at shutter speeds between 1/13 of a second and 2.5 seconds. Each exposure was at f/22 and ISO 64. I processing the captures as a high-key layer stack in Photoshop.

With the final version on white processed, I decided to see what would happen using creative LAB color techniques, specifically an L-channel inversion. Since the L-channel inversion swaps white for blacks and black for whites, to some extent it will leave a fairly neutral mid-gray (such as this flower’s petals) close to untouched, while swapping the background colors.

I was pleasantly surprised at the results of the LAB L-channel swap (shown at the top of this story), followed by a few additional Photoshop tweaks.

Enjoy this time, and use it for staying creative!

Posted in Flowers, Photography