Category Archives: Flowers

Pretty in Pink

The upper image shows Anemones and Alstromerias (“Peruvian lilies”) from my garden, both pink flowers, and if you look carefully, two butterflies as well. I used a slightly modified technique for Pretty in Pink when I photographed it the other day, compared to my orthodox Photographing Flowers for Transparency approach, because I photographed the composition in three separate batches (anemones, alstromerias, and butterflies) and then combined the sections in post-production—which is also the approach I took with Practicum Perluciditatem, shown at the bottom of this story, although the visual point of the image (made back in 2015) is quite different since it is really about translucency.

Pretty in Pink © Harold Davis


Practicum Perluciditatem © Harold Davis

Flowers for Kwangsik

Kwangsik came from Korea to attend our San Francisco in Black & White workshop this past weekend. On Friday, by special arrangement, he spent some time with me going over my Photographing Flowers for Transparency technique. This is the composition I set up for him on the light box to use as an exposure and processing demonstration.

Flowers for Kwangsik © Harold Davis

Welcome Home Flowers

It’s great to come home to tulips and lobelias from the garden to photograph. Thank you Phyllis! Not to mention such a lovely, warm, and wonderful family.

I photographed the tulips and lobelias on a white light box, then added the virtual antique frame and panel effect in post-production.

Tulips and Lobelias © Harold Davis

Here are some other flower compositions I’ve done this year. In the press of travel excitements and engagements—Vietnam, France, Malta, Romania, and more so far—it has been hard to find the time to post them up until now. Please let me know which is your favorite and what you think of the treatments! Prints of these images are available by request, please let me know if you are interested.

Shrub Mallow © Harold Davis

Bouquet of Neighborhood Flowers © Harold Davis

Garland © Harold Davis

One quarter (un-rotated) of the Garland image is shown in Tulips and a Clematis Vine. Here’s the top image I made today on white without the virtual frame:

Tulips and Lobelias on White © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Demonstration Flower Projects

Here are two of the images I used to demonstrate capture and post-production at my recent Photographing Flowers for Transparency course at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine.

Fan of Irises and Daffodils © Harold Davis

When I give the Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop, I start by explaining the theory and practice of this kind of light box photography. I usually note that floral arrangement is a key issue. When we get down to the actual work, I ask each participant to pick a flower in turn, which I then arrange in a composition for us all practice photographing and processing—which is the genesis of the composition below!

Class Demo Maine Media © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

White Rose

I love to photograph white roses from my garden. This one is a John F. Kennedy Hybrid Tea Rose. For me, the white rose represents peace and simplicity. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the white rose was the emblem of a group that resisted the Nazis. Perhaps it would be a good time to revive this symbolism. Here are some other photos of the white rose on my blog: White Rose Blushing and White Rose.

White Rose © Harold Davis

I Heart Dahlias

Today my class went to photograph a Dahlia Farm. I love these flowers because each one is unique, and because they are so colorful (even when I do convert to monochrome, see the image below!).

Pink Dahlia © Harold Davis

Variegated Dahlia © Harold Davis

White Dahlia © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Flowers from My Garden; Off to Maine

I’m off to Maine tomorrow morning to teach flower photography in the coming week. With departure looming before me once again, of course I feel the need to take advantage of the glorious California summer, and to photograph some of the flowers from our garden. The two below started as seedlings from Annie’s—you can find some really unusual flowering plants at Annie’s so it is a great local resource for gardeners.

Eschscholzia californica ‘Purple Gleam’ on Black © Harold Davis

Eschscholzia californica ‘Purple Gleam’ © Harold Davis

Centaurea gymnocarpa ‘Velvet Centaurea’ © Harold Davis

Centaurea gymnocarpa ‘Velvet Centaurea’ on Black © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography, Workshops

Beep! Beep!

Some days it’s fun just to play! In that spirit, this morning I made this motorcycle (or car) from flowers on my light box. It’s complete with headlamps and exhaust. I think the effect, particularly in the “on Black” version, is a little like a whimsical Paul Klee.

Easy Flower Rider on Black © Harold Davis

Easy Flower Rider © Harold Davis

Summer Experiment

Following up on Summer Experiment 1, here is another version!

Summer Experiment 2 © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Flower Photography Workshop in Maine Coming Up Soon

Please consider joining me July 31 – August 5, 2017 at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine for a week of intensive flower photography—both on the light box and in the field. There’s nothing like a week of intensive photography at Maine Media on mid-coast Maine eating lobster with a group of fellow photographers, and eating, breathing, and living photography.

Some comments from participants in my recent flower photography workshop follow below, as well as a note on my workshop philosophy and the content of this specific workshop.

There are still a few spaces left in the Harold Davis Maine Media Workshop week of flower photography, but to avoid disappointment please consider registering right away (click here for more info and for registration). I don’t get to the east coast of the United States that often, and do not expect to be giving this workshop again anytime soon.

Flowers at School © Harold Davis

Here are what some participants in my recent flower photography workshops have said:

  • “Harold is unmatchable! An honor to be able to be able to have him as a mentor…. for photography and for life.”
  • “AWESOME!!! Harold has a great teaching style, and it was great to learn some new shooting and post-processing techniques.”
  • “Excellent!!! Recommend to anyone who wants to take their flower art to the next level.”
  • “Amazing teacher! Patient, knowledgeable, thoughtful and sharing, easy to learn from. Looking forward to many more workshops with Harold! What a total gem… “

Mallow © Harold Davis

From my welcome note to workshop participants:

My belief is that folks learn most when they are hands-on, and having fun. So we will be doing a great deal of flower arrangement and flower photography—and I think along with new ways of seeing, you will learn some techniques, and ways of using your camera, that may not have occurred to you before. These new approaches are great with flower photography, but also go way beyond subject matter, and are really applicable to almost any kind of photography.

Besides floral photography, floral arrangement, working on a light box, and various kinds of special lighting effects, we will be exploring macro photography, field flower photography, high-key HDR, post-production in Photoshop, backgrounds and textures, and LAB color, and more. As you can see, it will be a very special, busy, and creative week!

There are still a few spaces left in the Harold Davis Maine Media Workshop week of flower photography, but to avoid disappointment please consider registering right away (click here for more info and for registration).

Clematis and Poppies © Harold Davis

There are still a few spaces left in the Harold Davis Maine Media Workshop week of flower photography, but to avoid disappointment please consider registering right away (click here for more info and for registration).

Also posted in Workshops

Matilija Poppies and Mallows

You got to love the Matilija Poppy, a California native, with its wonderful huge yellow center and puffy white petals. The poppies are of the Romneya genus (so are neither Papaver nor Eschscholzia), and grow on bushes from mid-California south into Mexico. In this image, I combined a central Matilija Poppy with some humble mallows, arranged in a crescent shape to create a subconscious sense of a circular sweep in the photo.

Matilija Poppy and Mallows © Harold Davis

Related stories: Design for a Stained Glass Window Made of Flowers; Mallows.

Also posted in Photography

Ladybird Poppy

Yesterday was a cool Father’s Day. I woke to freshly brewed coffee and cards from the kids. Then I went with Phyllis, my own wonder woman, to see the new Wonder Woman movie in 3-D. When we got home, this Ladybird Poppy from our garden had a new blossom, and I photographed it while listening to the Beatles. 

Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

A Quartet of Peonies

Peony Core © Harold Davis


Peony Sunrise © Harold Davis


Pink Peony © Harold Davis


White Peony © Harold Davis

Design for a Stained Glass Window Made of Flowers

To create this design for a stained glass window, I started by laying down a series of mallow blossoms in a loose spiral (the magenta flowers). Next, I filled in the reverse portion of the spiral with “two-week” iris blossoms, using the three-pronged stamen of the flower as a radial sub-pattern. Finally, I filled in most of the white spaces with “tiger-striped” petals from the alstromerias in our garden. Other than the alstromerias (“Peruvian Lilies”), the pattern is made up of California natives!

Design for a Stained Glass Window Made of Flowers © Harold Davis

To reverse the pattern on a black background (below), I inverted the L-channel in LAB. As I’ll teach in my upcoming Flower Photography Intensive here in Berkeley and in Maine the first week of August, my technique is to then apply a curve adjustment to bring up the petals selectively. Next, I convert back to RGB, and selectively paste in the LAB three-channel inversion using the Exclusion blending mode.

Design for a Stained Glass Window Made of Flowers (on Black) © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photoshop Techniques

The Amazing World of Flowers

One of the things I love most about flower photography is that it compels one to look closely at flowers. The more you look, the more you see! What a wild world of beauty and diversity, with shapes, colors, forms that rival the world at large in light, rhythm, variety, harmony, and tumult.

Flower Petals © Harold Davis

Related story: Recent Flower Photos.

Rose Central © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography