Category Archives: Flowers

Falling in Love

It’s hard not to fall in love with a poppy like this Papaver rhoeas ‘Falling in Love’ (a kind of “corn poppy” using the common term). Click here for more recent photos of poppies from our garden!

Falling in Love © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Carpe Papaver

With the poppies (Papavers) blooming like crazy in our garden, I am sure the right thing to do is to “carpe Papaver.” In fact, photographically speaking—and perhaps in life as well—it is most often a good idea to take the opportunities one is offered and embrace them with both arms. 

Hence these three poppy bouquets, and a new close-up of the core of the poppy (at the end of this story). I say these close images of the center of the poppy are like marine creatures in appearance!

Bouquet of Poppies from the Garden © Harold Davis

Papavers in a vase © Harold Davis

Glorious © Harold Davis

 

Papaver hybridium ‘Danebrog’ © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Inside Digitalis

Digitalis purpurea is commonly called the Foxglove, I suppose because a fox could slip the flowers on its fingers, at least in fairy land. In fact, the flower is long associated with the beauty and peril of faerie, and sometimes also called the fairy-bell flower.

Digitalis is known for its medicinal properties. Dried seeds and flowers are a powerful heart stimulant, although note that the plant is also toxic—so don’t try ingesting this at home, kiddos. Vincent van Gogh may have: this beautiful flower appears in a number of van Gogh’s paintings, and van Gogh was certainly no stranger to the psycho-pharmacopoeia.

Inside Digitalis © Harold Davis

The inflorescence of the plant is covered with the eponymous bell-shaped blossoms. Inside, each blossom is really more cone than bell. My photo shows the inside of one of these blossoms, with backlighting from a light box. 

You can clearly see the green flower ovary, rising from the floor of the flower, and the arched gate of stamen leading to the ovary. While the Digitalis spots are wonderfully colorful, we don’t quite get the disco light show that a pollinator would: the round dots are luminescent, emitting colors beyond the human range of perception. It would be a dull pollinator indeed that missed the message of where to go once inside this colorful passage.

Also posted in Photography

Flowers or Sea Creatures on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day 2021, and I present some close-up photographs of flowers. These are images of the core of a poppy (Papaver hybridium), but looked at as abstract forms they could also be, perhaps, sea creatures.

Have you ever looked really close at a flower or plant? Go ahead! There are worlds within.

When beauty makes me cry © Harold Davis

Cupcake Core © Harold Davis

One if by land © Harold Davis

The sequence above is shown from farthest out, to closest in—with the flower core looking most like a marine creature or insect at the highest magnification.

Corn Poppy is a related image, shown here.

Also posted in Photography

Corn Poppy

Sometimes when I photograph a broad composition on my light box I take a break when my primary composition is done. I leave my camera on the tripod. Then after a copy of tea or a wander in the garden I come back and look at portions of the whole, and even examine individual flowers as they appear back lit on the light box. Maybe it is time to get closer! This image of a Corn Poppy, Papaver rhoeas, is one result that I think is pretty special.

Corn Poppy © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Peonies mon amour

This is a version of my Peonies mon amour image with a little space added above the upper flower at the request of the art director at a licensing client.

Peonies mon amour © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Petals on Parade

These two “petal-pushing” images start with a composition of alstroemeria petals, photographed for high-key HDR on a light box. 

Petals on Parade on Black © Harold Davis

Petals on Parade on Black © Harold Davis

The image with a black background (shown above) is an LAB L-channel inversion of the original image on white, shown below.

Petals on Parade © Harold Davis

Petals on Parade © Harold Davis

Generally, with light box compositions, the most important issue is the arrangement, a/k/a the composition. By the way, this is a statement that could be made (and has been made) about photography in general.

Arrangement needs structure. One of the most common structures for light box compositions is the Mandala. Another is the bouquet (click here for an example).

Can you identify the visual structure underlying the Petals on Parade images?

Also posted in Abstractions

Piles of Petals Are Performative

Piles of flower petals are performative (and alliterative). I’ve fallen into the habit of keeping piles of natural objects, specifically bowls of flower petals in my work area. Gradually, they curl, and ultimately obtain the patina and wrinkles of flower-petal senescence. 

Flowers are Multitudes Inversion © Harold Davis

Flowers are Multitudes Inversion © Harold Davis

To make these images, I started with a conventional structure (like a flower bed with a row of stems) in a garden. After this version was complete, I entered the “Jackson Pollack” phase: spreading dried petals to some extent randomly, and taking advantage of serendipity.

The version below on white is what came out of the camera in the original set of exposures, and the version above on black is an LAB L-channel inversion of the original, white version.

Flowers are Multitudes © Harold Davis

Flowers are Multitudes © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Sunflowers on Blue Velvet

It’s nice to pair a bouquet of yellow sunflowers with lush, blue velvet. The sunflower petals have been touched slightly with the Photoshop Oil Painting filter to add a little “van Gogh.” Is the subject of the photo the sunflowers or the blue velvet background? As is often the case, both are important.

Sunflowers on Blue Velvet © Harold Davis

Dahlia. Just Dahlia. Dahlia, darling!

Here are three version of a light box image of a white dahlia from my cutting garden, photographed back in June. The simple monochromatic conversion is shown on top. Next, you’ll see an L-channel LAB inversion of the black & white light box version. The color version of my image is shown at the bottom.

White Dahlia Inversion © Harold Davis

White Dahlia Inversion © Harold Davis

White Dahlia © Harold Davis

White Dahlia © Harold Davis

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Related story: Dahlia Solos.

Also posted in Photography

New Light Box Work

Happy to have fun playing with flowers on my light box. These recent compositions are partly made from”store bought” flowers, and partly from my garden’s flowers. We’re beginning to enter autumn here in coastal California, and it is looking like (at least in this location) we may be okay in terms of smoke and fire for the remainder of the season. Knock wood, of course—and since I have a little time this coming week I am looking forward to enjoying myself in the garden, and photographing on my light box.

Autumn Bouquet on Scanned Paper © Harold Davis

Autumn Bouquet on Scanned Paper © Harold Davis

Flowers of Autumn © Harold Davis

Flowers of Autumn © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Up Close and Personal Flowers

For me, photographing flowers is a form of worship, and a way to be in touch with my own spirituality. This has ed to fairly straightforward photography. I use (carefully observed) morning sunlight. The camera is tripod mounted. I use a macro lens and extension tube, with the lens stropped down. Nearer my flower to thee!

Let the sunshine in © Harold Davis

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Orange

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Orange © Harold Davis

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Purple © Harold Davis

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Purple © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

X-Ray Bouquet

The upper photo is an X-Ray of a bouquet of dahlias, nemesia, and kangaroo paw flowers. It was made in May, 2019 using medical x-ray equipment, and processed yesterday while waiting out the foul air in the Bay area in Photoshop from the DICOM file. More x-rays can be found here, and I’ve also posted a photo of a recent print of one of my favorite x-rays, of a sunflower, below.

X-Ray Bouquet of Dahlias, Nemesias, and Kangaroo Paw © Harold Davis

X-Ray Bouquet of Dahlias, Nemesias, and Kangaroo Paw Flowers © Harold Davis

Print of ‘Sunflower X-Ray’ © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome, Photography, X-Ray

Dried Blossoms

I arranged these dried blossoms on my light box in a pattern with an eye towards complementary colors. The background blue blossoms are Nemesias. interlaced with almost-orange-yellow Gaillardia petals, and thin crimson fringes from a flowering Monarda supplying an accent.

Dried Blossoms © Harold Davis

Dried Blossoms © Harold Davis

Dahlia Solos

My Dahlia bed is starting to bloom, providing some very sweet subjects for solo flower portraits!

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Dahlia 'Southern Belle' © Harold Davis

Dahlia ‘Southern Belle’ © Harold Davis

Dahlia 'Flip-Flop' © Harold Davis

Dahlia ‘Flip-Flop’ © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography