Related image: Daffodil on a Bed of Roses.
It’s a little early for Valentine’s Day, but I though this yellow daffy on a bed of mauve roses says it in a kind of understated way!
I pulled these pretty images of a field of chrysanthemums on a light box from my files, and processed it the other day. Did you know that “Odour of Chrysanthemums” was D.H. Lawrence’s first published prose fiction, accepted by Ford Maddox Ford, the then editor of The English Review, partly on the basis of the subtlety of the title—chrysanthemums in fact only smell faintly.
Related story: Digital Pop Art.
Which of these versions of my first floral tondo do you like better? My favorite is Flower Tondo 1 Variation Inversion, shown immediately below on black, without the fancy curvilinear “virtual” framing of the original version (and the bottom variation). What do you think? Comment or write and let me know if you have a choice!
Tondo is a Renaissance term for a circular painting. To create my floral tondo, I started with a circular pattern on my light box. I arranged an array of petals—mostly alstromeria but also some rose petals and Agapanthus blossoms—around the central core of a rose. I then photographed the composition for transparency (see my FAQ for more info on this technique).
In post-production, after processing my high-key layer stack, I added a black background to emphasize the tondo effect, and used the Warp transform in Photoshop to make the flowers seem to slightly wrap around the white space created by the circular background.
I am a great fan of artistic calligraphy, particularly as seen in Japan and in historic Islamic cultures. So when I arranged these flowers on my light box I tried to very loosely emulate the appearance of the graceful form of the Bismillah. Nature is the language of the divine, and surely whatever one’s culture one can say it using flowers.
This image was made as an in-class demo of light box flower arrangement and post-production. I called on each workshop participant to choose a stem, then arranged them one-by-one on my light box. The top image is an LAB inversion of the composition, the middle image is placed on a scanned background using my background placement blending mode algorithm, and the bottom image is shown as photographing for high-key HDR on a white background.
I’m very pleased with some of the great feedback for the recent Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop. Here’s what some folks said:
Thanks to a really great creative and energetic group! We couldn’t do it without you, and I am so grateful. You can check out some of the floral art made by participants in this workshop in the Meetup album.
I have two upcoming flower photography workshops scheduled in 2017: Photographing Flowers for Transparency (March 11-12) and Flower Photography Masterclass 4-Day Intensive (June 22-23). If you love flower photography and flowers, please consider joining us for one of these celebrations of floral beauty!
I’m very pleased and excited to be leading a sold-out session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency next weekend here in Berkeley, CA. If this topic interests you, we are running a session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency in March, 2017 (also in Berkeley). I expect this to be the only session of my acclaimed Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop that I will lead in 2017.
I will be leading a 4-day Flower Photography Intensive Masterclass in June, 2017 hosted in the Bay area. The Flower Masterclass will include field sessions, studio work, and post-production techniques. This workshop is filling up quickly. It is open to folks who have taken Photographing Flowers for Transparency, or by portfolio review.
Once your portfolio has been reviewed, and you are approved for the Flower Masterclass (or if you have attended a previous Photographing Flowers for Transparency), you can register on Meetup, or directly with us, with tuition payment by check or credit card. Note that a payment plan is available, and that a $50 discount applies until the end of 2016. We are holding some spaces for folks who have expressed interest, and as these fill expect to be starting a waiting list soon.
On a personal note, I have a great deal to be thankful for—and some of that is you! Thanks for being part of my photographic community! It is great to be around people who enjoy photographing flowers as much as I do. Bringing beauty into the world is one way we can combat the evils of our times, and is a small contribution towards making life worth living.
Harold Davis’s Photographing Flowers (published by Focal Press) has been called “the most comprehensive guidebook to flower photography ever written” by Rangefinder Magazine, rated the Best Guide to Flower Photography by Digital Photography Magazine, and was the subject of rave reviews in the Photographic Society of America Journal, the San Francisco Review of Books, and elsewhere.
“In this book Davis offers his knowledge and experience in the art of floral photography, presenting not only the results of his beautiful creations, but explanations of how each photograph was captured: the set up, the equipment and even the camera settings used for each brilliant image. The author takes you beyond the point of capture and discusses processing, both in a lab environment and digital post processing, as well as offers side-trips through history to learn a bit from the masters of art and photography, such as Van Gogh and O’Keeffe. Davis even goes so far as to share affordable and easy use studio setups which he has designed over the years. Using his techniques wonderfully artistic images can be created! For any photographer interested in floral photography – whether amateur or pro – this book will not only tutor them, but will inspire them.”–San Francisco Book Review
Click here for Photographing Flowers on Amazon!
Harold’s workshops are often sold-out, and fill up quickly. To avoid disappointment, please register early. Feel free to contact Harold Davis if you have any questions about our workshops! Please also consider Harold’s online webinar recordings and his Photographing Flowers course with Craftsy. This course is rated 5.0 stars, with 25 out of 26 5-star reviews, and literally thousands of satisfied students. (Save 50% off the full retail price of my course using this link. Cannot be combined with other coupons or discounts. Link and offer expires January 15, 2017.)
We arrange many of our workshops and events using the Photography with Harold Davis Meetup group. Click here for Group and Workshop reviews on Meetup. Please subscribe to our list and/or blog feed for early notification about new workshop offerings.
What folks have said about Harold Davis workshops and events:
I’ve been listening to a Nobel prize play-list of Bob Dylan—both his own voice and cover versions of his songs—while photographing and processing my White Phalaenopsis Orchid and Variegated Phalaenopsis Orchid images. In the versions here, the two plants of come together for photography on my light box. The orchids are shown first placed in Photoshop on a scanned paper background, next inverted via LAB color on a black background, and at the bottom on white they way they were photographed. There’s something wonderful and at the same time a little disorienting about Dylan receiving the Nobel prize in literature. Listening to the vast oeuvre of his work in this way, one thing that becomes a little clearer to me is the incredible variety in his poetics, and his long-term integrity as an artist—an integrity that is rare and probably was hard to maintain in face of the success he had so early.
Want to learn how to invert an image like this (and more!)? My Advanced LAB Seminar is coming up next weekend (Saturday, November 12, 2016). Note that the location has been moved (to the DoubleTree Berkeley Marina Hotel), and that we have a few places left. Click here for details.
This one is more colorful than the white-on-white Phalaenopsis I photographed yesterday!
Nice to be back to photographing flowers on my light box after so many adventures in the field…starting with this orchid blossom!
Eons ago, when we first moved to California, we bought our house. Built in 1924, we bought it from the sixty-something kids of the original owners, the mom having recently passed away. Maintenance and yard work had been neglected for decades. This gave me the opportunity to start fresh with the garden.
After fencing the front yard, which was being used as a neighborhood dog dump, I went down to the local big box home improvement store. The garden section practiced what I think of as the Nietzschian School of Gardening—after the somewhat repugnant German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who said, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”
In the case of the somewhat shriveled and definitely neglected bougainvillea vine I bought at Home Depot, Nietzsche definitely had a point. I’ve neglected it in the twenty years since I planted it at the southwest corner of our house, and our only concern has been to prune it back when it threatens to overrun the entire neighborhood.
To make this image, I clipped a stem from the bougainvillea, brought it inside to photograph it on my light box, and converted the result to LAB color for manipulations, finally converting the image back to RGB to create the master file.
Related image: Bougainvillea Variations.
Dahlias are not an autumn flower, although they come towards the end of summer riotous display of floral colorification. It’s actually the autumnal hues of these particular Dahlias that makes me call this an “Autumn Bouquet.”
It was great fun to photograph it on my light box, process it for translucency to a white background, and add it in Photoshop to a scanned paper background.
Related story and some images: Persistence of Personal Vision.