Category Archives: Flowers

Workshop Feedback and a Yellow Rose

I’m very pleased with some of the great feedback for the recent Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop. Here’s what some folks said:

  • “Just a fabulous creative presentation for flowers that has so much potential for us to explore. Enjoyed it immensely.”
  • “It was a wonderful workshop, inspirational, much information and tips and tricks a lot.”
  • “Wonderful – very educational for me, nicely organized and inspirational. Thank You Harold! (and Phyllis:) )”
  • “Organized, articulate, creative, in other words fantastic!”

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.

Yellow Rose © Harold Davis

Yellow Rose © Harold Davis

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!

Also posted in Workshops

Upcoming Flower Photography Workshops with Harold Davis

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.

Spring Wreath © Harold Davis

Spring Wreath © Harold Davis

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.

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

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.

Repeating Flower Pattern © Harold Davis

Repeating Flower Pattern © Harold Davis


Photographing FlowersHarold 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!

Painting with Flowers Inverted © Harold Davis

Painting with Flowers Inverted © Harold Davis


2016

  • Photographing Flowers for Transparency, Weekend Workshop in Berkeley, CA, December 3-4, 2016; click here for details and registration (workshop full).
  • Photographing Waves on Point Reyes, Saturday December 10, full-day workshop under the auspices of Point Reyes Field Seminars. Click here for registration and information.
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2016—Free webinar with Harold Davis, sponsored by Topaz Labs, more information and registration link to come.

2017

Clematis on Black © Harold Davis

Clematis on Black © Harold Davis


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.)

Winged Clematis on White © Harold Davis

Winged Clematis on White © Harold Davis

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.

Garden Party © Harold Davis

Garden Party © Harold Davis


What folks have said about Harold Davis workshops and events:

  •  “A great artist and speaker!”—W. Anglin
  •  “Harold is genuine, generous, and gracious – He has a world of knowledge and expertise that he loves to share – his wonderful books show his monumental talents and skill set- his workshops shows the depth of his connecting with others in a very real and personal way.”—P. Borrelli
  • “Awesome! He patiently addressed questions from the audience which contained photographers of all levels , molding his answers to the level of understanding for each of us. His presentations covered a wonderful range of technical knowledge as well as emphasizing the need for images to have an emotional quality. The images he shares are breathtaking and he is generous in sharing many facets of how he captures such beauty.”—J. Phillips
  • “Not all photographers are good verbal communicators. Harold is someone who can DO and TEACH. A rare combination of talents.”—B. Sawyer
  • “Inspiring!”
  • “He was very giving of his talents and time. The course was very organized and thorough. Loved it! Learned so much! … I also wanted to let you know that I have more than paid the cost of the workshops I’ve done with you by selling some photos! I have sold three prints already.”—L. Beck
  • “Very creative and a marvelous instructor.”—Kay S.
Tulip Blast © Harold Davis

Tulip Blast © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography, Workshops

Forever Young

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.

Orchids in Love on Cream © Harold Davis

Orchids in Love on Cream © Harold Davis

Orchids in Love Inversion © Harold Davis

Orchids in Love Inversion © Harold Davis

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.

Orchids in Love on White © Harold Davis

Orchids in Love on White © Harold Davis

Also posted in Workshops

Phalaenopsis Orchid

This one is more colorful than the white-on-white Phalaenopsis I photographed yesterday!

Phalaenopsis Orchid - Variegated © Harold Davis

Phalaenopsis Orchid – Variegated © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Phalaenopsis

Nice to be back to photographing flowers on my light box after so many adventures in the field…starting with this orchid blossom!

Phalaenopsis © Harold Davis

Phalaenopsis © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

The Nietzschian School of Gardening

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.

Bougainvillea Stem © Harold Davis

Bougainvillea Stem © Harold Davis

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.

Autumn Bouquet

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.”

Autumn Bouquet © Harold Davis

Autumn Bouquet © Harold Davis

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.

Purple Dahlia

In what is almost a starfish of the land, this purple Dahlia is wonderfully asymmetric and spiral-like. Related image: Dahlia.

Purple Dahlia © Harold Davis

Purple Dahlia © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Dahlia Petals

Yesterday I photographed my dahlias on a literal table (the term “table-top photography” can sometimes be a bit figurative), using sunlight, a telephoto macro lens, and a low-to-the-ground tripod to make portraits of the petals.

Dahlia Petals Purple © Harold Davis

Dahlia Petals Purple © Harold Davis

Dahlia Petals Red Yellow © Harold Davis

Dahlia Petals Red Yellow © Harold Davis

Dance of the Seven Dahlia Petals © Harold Davis

Dance of the Seven Dahlia Petals © Harold Davis

Are you an experienced photographer who enjoys photographing flowers? If so, you might consider my Flower Photography Intensive: 4-Day Masterclass in Flower Photography, scheduled for June 2017 in Berkeley, CA. We will explore some of the advanced nuances of light box photography for floral transparency, and work on flower photography in the field and studio. Click here for more information and registration.

Also posted in Photography

Dahlia

It’s great to be home and back with my family. I got back late last night, and spent the day catching up with correspondence and projects, and getting reacquainted with some deadlines. But I did take a little time out to photograph some beautiful dahlias.

Dahlia © Harold Davis

Dahlia © Harold Davis

The flower shown here was photographed on a black velvet background with my Nikon D810, the 85mm f/1.4 Zeiss Otus with a 12mm extension tube, at one second, f/16, ISO 64, using a tripod. The flower was illuminated with natural light, meaning cloudy but bright sunlight. I processed the image in Adobe Camera RAW, and made a few adjustments in Photoshop.

Iris Trilogy

Sometimes simple is best!

Iris Trilogy © Harold Davis

Iris Trilogy © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Flores Pano on Black, and on White

Et chorus sinit ire cum flores (black) © Harold Davis

Et chorus sinit ire cum flores (black) © Harold Davis

I’ve been doing a great deal of black and white work for my forthcoming book from Monacelli Press, so its nice to take a color break with a color image, even though the color is on black, and also on white—so color and black and white!

In times of trouble, both personal and for the world, what better to turn to than flowers? There’s nothing like spending time arranging, photographing, and processing a floral panorama to help with serenity and steady the nerves.

Roughly speaking, the image title translates from the Latin to “Let’s take flowers with us and dance!” If you check out the exposure and processing info below, you’ll see this is one floral dance that took a great deal of work. To quote the American poet Randall Jarrell, “Art being bartender is never drunk.”

Et chorus sinit ire cum flores (white) © Harold Davis

Et chorus sinit ire cum flores (white) © Harold Davis

Related image: Garden Party.

Exposure and processing info: Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2, photographed on a light box, eighteen exposures (photographed in two panels, left and right, each panel nine exposures with shutter speeds from 1/8 of a second to 15 seconds), each exposure at f/16 and ISO 64, tripod mounted; exposures converted from RAW using Adobe Camera RAW and Nik HDR Efex Pro, and combined in Photoshop; processed in Photoshop with help from Nik Color Efex Pro, Topaz Adjust, Topaz Simplify, and Topaz Glow; black version created using an LAB L-channel inversion in Photoshop.

Also posted in Photography

Sunflower

Sunflower on White in Black and White © Harold Davis

Sunflower on White in Black and White © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome

Eschew the Routine

Yesterday was going to be a day of routine and mundane tasks: bookkeeping, workflow management, writing business emails, and so on. As a professional photographer and artist, this stuff has to get done! But looking out at the garden, I saw a fresh crop of red poppies and some blue clematis. I knew they were doomed as the day warmed-up, so making art with the floral material was a now-or-never proposition!

Clematis, Poppies, and Butterflies © Harold Davis

Clematis, Poppies, and Butterflies © Harold Davis

With Phyllis and the kids over at the Karate Dojo, in the cool air of the morning, I cranked the music up, and arranged and photographed the flowers on my light box. I do like to play in Photoshop as well as the camera! As the day got warmer and the kids came home filling the house with laughter and chatter and happy noise, I used LAB color to invert the image, and added some butterflies and a textured background. Altogether a happy day of play at home for me!

Also posted in Photography

Light Box Floral Fun with My iPhone

Here are two new floral images shot and processed with my iPhone. Both were initially processed in Snapseed. The upper image was then put through Plastic Bullet and Lo-Mob, with the frame added in Snapseed. The bottom image is a Waterlogue.

Floral Fun © Harold Davis

Floral Fun © Harold Davis

iPhone Light Box #3 © Harold Davis

iPhone Light Box #3 © Harold Davis

Also posted in iPhone