Thistle while you work


Things have been getting a little thorny around here as we come in on the final design, editing, and production tasks involving my new book from Focal Press, Photographing Flowers.

Speaking of thorny, photographing this thistle was definitely a matter of handling with care. I went up to the median strip of Arlington Avenue with my pruning sheers to cut a few stalks, and the thorns drew blood all the way through my gardening gloves. Ah, but one must suffer for one’s art!

After arranging the thistle stalks on my light box—another opportunity to give my blood for my work—I shot eight exposures, bracketing the shutter speed always to the high-key side of things in a hand-HDR approach explained in Papaver and Iridaceae. After processing the image, I placed it on a textured background.

I think the finished result, while obviously formidable, is also beautiful—and shows that not all lovely flowers are soft and cuddly.

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