Monthly Archives: June 2021

Have you ever seen a poppy seed up really close and personal?

By way of background, check out Poppy Dancer and All Along the Watchtowers and the Papapver pod bouquet in Recent Images.

Looking at the close-up of the top of a Papaver pod in Crown of Papavers (below), I’d like to point a few things out. The ring of arches just below the “crown” is where fertilized poppy seeds come out once the pod is “ripe.” Somewhat like curtains, the “entrances” to the passages to the inside curl down. You can see these as curved pads below each opening.

The amazing part are the highly-magnified poppy seeds themselves. If you look at them closely (click the image on your computer to enlarge it, or use “haptic” motions on a phone or iPad to view the seeds more closely) you’ll see that these are not just the simple little black dots we associate with the poppy seed. At this intense magnification, they are patterned and almost honeycombed. There’s amazing detail and structure even in the smallest things in the natural world.

Crown of Papavers © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Poppy Dancer and All Along the Watchtowers

Lately, I’ve been photographing poppy pods, dried poppies from our garden. In a few instances, these remains-of-the-day poppies look like fantastic figurines, as in Poppy Dancer, immediately below. 

Poppy Dancer © Harold Davis

For me, this image of a dried poppy resembles a lithe dancer, in a tutu and with a hat. Ironically, I once used in-camera multiple exposures to photograph a human dancer with “poppy” in her name as a model.

Many of the poppy pods are architectural, in the way of sculpture or pottery, when you look at them highly magnified—architectural forms from nature, like those used by Antonin Gaudi. Or perhaps All Along the Watchtowers (below) most resembles a portion of a Southeast Asia Opium Warlord’s palace.

All Along the Watchtowers © Harold Davis

Gear and post-production stuff: I photographed on a velvet background using my Nikon D850 on a heavy-duty tripod. The lens was the Nikkor 200mm f/4 macro, with a 50mm Nikon PN-11 extension tube between the lens and camera. For the images that resembled architecture, the biggest problem was to angle the perspective so the viewer can see the “arcades” and “arches.” To help with this, I added a +4 close-up lens. 

Exposure and processing were using a sequence of low-key HDR captures, as explained in my webinar video recordings Photography on Black and The Blossfeldt Effect.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Recent Images

I’m pleased with my images from the last week or so, and am having trouble keeping up with my photography in post-production, and also as a blogger. But here are three of my recent images (below). There’s just so much going on the real world and with family…

On the Workshop front, the early-bird discount on Photography Flowers for Transparency ends soon. And, I’m off to Iceland for photography in two weeks!

Papaver Pods © Harold Davis

I never promised you a rose garden © Harold Davis

Gaillardia © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Workshops

The Blossfeldt Effect webinar video recording

We’ve posted The Blossfeldt Effect video webinar recording. Here’s the description:

In this unique and creative webinar, Harold starts with a look at the characteristics of a Blossfeldian composition. What kinds of subjects did Blossfeldt choose to photograph, and why? What makes a particular botanical specimen visually exciting?

Next, Harold explores two possible places to start with Blossfeldian botanical compositions: the black background and the light box.

To cap it off, Harold demonstrates how he processes his Blossfeldt-like images using some surprisingly simple yet tricky steps.

I think you’ll enjoy this one, it is one of our best!

Click here for The Blossfeldt Effect video, here for a catalog listing of our video webinar recordings, here for my YouTube channel, and here for upcoming Workshops & Events.

California Live Oak © Harold Davis

Posted in Monochrome, Photography, Workshops

A white poppy and a mandala

White Poppy © Harold Davis

Please keep in mind our in-person Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop the weekend of September 25-26 located in Berkeley, California. There’s a $200 early-bird discount until the end of June. Click here for more information.

Full Nelson (Mandala) Black version © Harold Davis

Full Nelson (Mandala) © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Some blasts from the past!

Saigon Fine Art Museum Stair (Down) © Harold Davis

Museum Stair, Saigon © Harold Davis

Some blasts from the past: A back staircase in the Fine Arts Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon, 2017) above;  geometric patterns in the arches, shadows, reflections of the Pont Valentré, spanning the Lot River (Cahors, France, 2018). 

Geometry © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

The Blossfeldt Effect Webinar coming up on Saturday June 12

Karl Blossfeldt (1866-1932) began his career at a decorative ironwork manufacturer. He was assigned the task of creating reference botanical photographs to use for wrought iron designs. Eventually, his iconic botanical images became celebrated in their own right, and today he is known as one of history’s foremost botanical photographers.

I’ve long been fascinated by Blossfeldt’s botanical imagery and have developed a set of techniques for emulating the beautiful photographs of this master.

Some of my work in homage to Blossfeldt has even been mistaken for the real thing on a certain art consolidation website that shall not be named!

You can check out a portfolio of my (genuine, authorized Harold Davis) prints after Blossfeldt on Saatchi Art

Click here to read more, and here to register for this webinar!

Queen Anne's Lace © Harold Davis

Queen Anne’s Lace © Harold Davis

Posted in Monochrome, Photography, Workshops

Some flowers from our garden

The Way Things Were © Harold Davis

Papaver rhoeas © Harold Davis

Click here for our upcoming (September) Photographing Flowers for Transparency in-person workshop!

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Splitting up my Long Exposure Waves workshop

I’ve been contemplating a Long Exposure Waves workshop, and trying to see where this would fit into my schedule. My idea has been to combine a webinar prep session with an in-person session at the ocean, followed by another webinar to review results.

Long Exposure Wave Study, South Beach © Harold Davis

The request I’ve received from several photographers is to split the workshop up for separate enrollment, by doing the before and after webinars separately from the in-person session. Pro: Folks who just signed up for one or both of the webinars could practice on beaches anywhere. Con: In the past, when I’ve done this as a live workshop I’ve had before and after classes. My idea of the webinars is to replace these classroom sessions. It would be harder for me to keep a tightly focused group if the registrations were decoupled, and I might worry that some participants didn’t have adequate preparation.

As you can see, I am still thinking this through. In our new normal world, there are certainly uses for remote learning and Zoom as a way to make learning more available and flexible, and it is not entirely clear how to best take advantage of this capability.

Exposure data: +4ND, Circular Polarizer, five minutes at f/16 and ISO 64. Check out Five Minute Wave Exposures.

Posted in Workshops