Monthly Archives: May 2009

Variegated Gladiolas

Variegated Gladiolas

Variegated Gladiolas, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

There’s a lovely clump of variegated gladolias in the garden. Partly shaded by a climbing rose, water drops cling to them in the early morning. A single drop reflects the world of these flowers.

I used my 200mm f/4 macro lens, a 36mm extension tube, and a +4 close-up filter. I exposed at ISO 200 for 1/4 of a second at f/36.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Water Drops

Papaver Drops

Papaver Drops

Papaver Drops, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

In the garden, water drops hang from a poppy bud, swinging at the end of its stem. Reflected in the drops, the flowers themselves are upright. You can see the poppies in the drops on the stem itself, as well.


View this image larger.

Both photos are tripod mounted. I used my 200mm f/4 macro lens, 36mm extension tube, and a +4 close-up filter.

In other words, these are very, very close, and magnified several times life size.

I stopped down for maximum depth-of-field at f/32. Using a setting of ISO 200, I exposed the top image at 1/60 of second and the bottom at 1/80 of second. While I was exposing for the bright water drops and not the darker background, I still intentionally underexposed so I could get a faster shutter speed, and so the bright areas wouldn’t “blow out.”

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Water Drops

Expecting the Unexpected

Fiber Optik

Fiber Optik, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Expecting the Unexpected, the first in my series of articles on Becoming a More Creative Photographer, is now up on Photo.Net. Enjoy!

For the origins of the unexpected and colorful poppy pod above, check out Poppy Core. From the original color image, I used LAB color channels. These channels had inversions and equalizations applied to them. The technique is explained in detail in a case study in my new book coming out from Focal Press, The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing.

Posted in Photography, Writing

Poppy Core

Poppy Core

Poppy Core, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I photographed this poppy core handheld in my garden in the late afternoon. I used my 100mm macro lens at ISO 200, 1/320 of a second, and f/5.6. I took care to hold the camera parallel to the flower, and to focus very precisely. I’ve learned to be patient in this kind of situation, and wait for the moment in which the subject is almost still.

I converted the color version (below) to black and white using the techniques I explain in The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing, published by Focal Press, and due out later this year. I like both the color and black & white versions.


View this image larger.

Related image: Nautilus in Black and White.

Posted in Flowers, Monochrome, Photography

Wheels within Wheels

Wheels within Wheels

Wheels within Wheels, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I tend to like to photograph flowers deliberately with my camera on a tripod, stopped down for lots of depth-of-field. So late yesterday afternoon it was relaxing and interesting to experiment with some wide-opened, handheld poppy photos, with a water-color-like effect in mind. Of course, a photo like this doesn’t work if the central element (the poppy’s core) isn’t in focus.

Photographed using my 100mm Carl Zeiss macro lens at f/2, ISO 200, and 1/800 of a second (handheld as noted).

Posted in Flowers, Photography



Pinhole, photo by Harold Davis.

I took this photo of the Golden Gate with the pinhole plate attachment that is part of the Lensbaby Composer Optic Swap System. The effective aperture was f/177 (well, a pinhole is a very little thing!), and the exposure time at ISO 200 was 6/10 of a second, tripod mounted. Here’s the color version:

Golden Gate through a Pinhole

View this image larger.

It’s amusing to think that I went to some trouble to turn my relatively expensive DSLR into a toy camera with literally no optics—a pinhole is just that, a hole the size of a pin. But having interesting and unusual choices to play with, like those provided by the Lensbaby Composer and its Optic Swap System, is fun and a spur to creative visual thinking.

Other recent Lensbaby Composer images: Absence of Color; Calypso Orchids; Zebra & Jaguar; Portrait of Nicky; Hello, World.

Posted in Bemusements, Lensbaby, Monochrome, Photography, San Francisco Area


The other night was Open House at Nicky’s school. Diep, one of Nicky’s ex-teachers, snapped this photo of the six of us.

Davis Family

It’s still surprising to me to have four kids. So here is my family: all of us.

Posted in Kids



Backside, photo by Harold Davis.

Poppy backside transparent
in the morning sun:
nature’s stained glass.

Posted in Photography

Katie’s PDA Has Gone Away

Katie's PDA Has Gone Away

Katie’s PDA Has Gone Away, photo by Harold Davis.

Katie Rose turned one last week, and yesterday we brought her into the pediatric cardiology clinic at Children’s Hospital, following up on her PDA.

Now, when you hear the acronym PDA you may be tempted to think “Personal Digital Assitant” or “Public Display of Affection”. For us this past year, PDA has meant Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a congenital heart defect common in preemies.

We had a great sonographer, who imaged Katie’s heart extensively and carefully. For once, Katie Rose actually cooperated with the process.

Our great good news: Hey, hey, Katie Rose’s PDA has gone away. As in, vanished, disappeared, taken care of itself without intervention. As in, no further follow up care. As in, no further visits to the somewhat grim cardiology clinic at Children’s Hospital. Yeah!

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids

Poppy Duet

Poppy Duet

Poppy Duet, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I cut these poppies from my garden and photographed them on a lightbox. I used my 85mm PC macro lens and five exposures at f/48 between one second and ten seconds.

Starting with the lightest exposure (ten seconds), I dragged the other exposures on top in Photoshop using hand-HDR layer masking to create the transparent effect.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photoshop Techniques

1959 Jaguar XK150

1959 Jaguar XK150

1959 Jaguar XK150, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I was lucky the other day to get to photograph Victor Garlin’s magnificent vintage 1959 Jaguar XK150 Convertible. I’m looking forward to working on some abstractions and macro views of this wonderful machine when I get the chance.

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Storm Surge

Storm Surge

Storm Surge, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This photo composite comes from LAB inversions of a channel of Poppy Medley, LAB inversion of a channel of Breaking Wave that was a by-product of the black and white conversion, and Sunset.

I often file and save channels that look interesting to me as I do my LAB channel operations. If these are not immediately useful, I find that they can be great fun to play with later on.

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Absence of Color

White Tulips

White Tulips, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I photographed these white tulips in a crystal vase with a Lensbaby Composer. I shot it in RAW, and (obviously) came back with a color image. Looking at the thumbnail in Adobe Bridge I decided that presenting the image in black and white (grayscale), with a theoretical absence of color, would actually remind the viewer of more color than it would have been had it been in color (if you know what I mean).

Related stories: Breaking Wave; Golden Gate in Black and White.

Posted in Flowers, Lensbaby, Monochrome, Photography

Poppies en Masse

Poppies on Black

Poppies on Black, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I created the image of poppies on black by inverting the L (Luminance) channel of the white version (below) using LAB color in Photoshop.

The white version of the Poppy Medley is a hand HDR combination of five tripod captures with the flowers resting on a lightbox. I used my 85mm PC macro lens, stopped down to f/51, with five exposures at times ranging from 1/2 of a second to eight seconds.

With the five exposures, I created a layer stack in Photoshop, and used masking and the Brush Tool to “paint” in selective transparency.

Poppy Medley

View this image larger.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photoshop Techniques

Happy Birthday, Katie Rose

First Birthday

First Birthday, photo by Harold Davis.

Katie Rose was one year old today. Chronologically, that is. Meaning that she was literally born one year ago. Her “corrected” age, which is an indication of where she is developmentally, is between eight and nine months. This corresponds to the age she would be if she had made it to full term. (Parse that sentence for verb tense!)

We had a small first birthday party with a single candle with the boys and Grandma Barbara. The guest of honor presided on the table. She didn’t know what to make of the candle, but enjoyed all the attention. The boys enjoyed the cake, and Julian enjoyed holding his sister. Katie Rose has come a long way in a year.

Julian Holds Katie Rose

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids