Category Archives: Flowers

Announcing a new session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency—June 23-24, 2018

We’re pleased to announce by popular demand a new session of Harold’s acclaimed Photographing Flowers for Transparency weekend workshop, to be held in Berkeley, CA Saturday and Sunday June 23 and 24, 2018. Enrollment is limited. Registration opens Jan 1, 2018 on a first-come-first-served basis.

Click here for more information about this workshop, here for the Photographing Flowers for Transparency FAQ, and here for Harold’s upcoming event, workshop, and destination photo tour schedule. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

The Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop is a great deal of fun, and covers Harold’s light box techniques as well as related topics (see the partial list below). If you are interested in Harold’s unique approaches, this is the best way to learn. Each participant will produce their own fully processed images following Harold’s lectures and demonstrations, and with Harold’s personal hands-on supervision.

Flowering Dogwood & Friends © Harold Davis

Topics covered in the Photographing Flowers for Transparency Workshop include:

  • Floral arrangement and composition
  • Botanical art in the digital era
  • Shooting on a light box
  • Understanding high-key post-production
  • Working with Photoshop layers
  • High-key HDR
  • LAB color effects
  • Backgrounds and textures
  • Preparing to make floral pigment prints
  • Tips & techniques from Harold Davis
  • Implementing one’s own vision

Flowers at School © Harold Davis

Here are what some participants in Harold’s recent Photographing Flowers for Transparency 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… “

Floral Composition © Harold Davis

From Harold’s introductory 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 floral subject matter, and are really applicable to many kinds of photography.

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

Click here for more information about this workshop, here for the Photographing Flowers for Transparency FAQ, and here for Harold’s upcoming event, workshop, and destination photo tour schedule. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

Also posted in Workshops

A Tale of Two Flowers

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Some flowers were naughty and some were nice. The question was, would the naughty flowers find their inner goodness and be willing to wilt to save the innocent blossom? Would the madness of the revolting peasants—truly deplorable this time—prevail, or would society pull back from the brink of chaos? Stay tuned, and put your money on the Dahlia or the Sunflower. 

These are the kinds of fantasies we amuse ourselves with as we wait for sixty second exposure to conclude, camera on tripod, hardly daring to breath!

Sunflower Central © Harold Davis

 

Dahlia in Scarlet © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Light Box Floral Composition with Sunflowers, Irises, Alstromerias, and Glads

I’ve been taking advantage of my interlude at home (being at home for me has become increasingly rare in recent years and hence an unexpected pleasure) to photograph flowers on the light box. It’s fun doing this surrounded by family, as in “Don’t move, Daddy’s exposing!”

I photographed this relatively complex composition using my Photographing Flowers for Transparency set of techniques in two panels, with six exposures each. In post-production, first I combined the exposures, then I put the two panels together to create the composition.

Floral Composition © Harold Davis

I used an LAB color invert adjustment, and some fairly simple LAB tweaks, to created an inverted version of the original composition, on a black background rather than on white.

Floral Composition Inversion © Harold Davis

What do I do when I am at home fooling around with flowers? Here are some other recent stories: Black Dahlia; Rose Rose in Rose and Black and White; Pretty in Pink; and Flowers for Kwangsik. Also check out Of Beauty and Art, The Long and Winding Road Takes the Path Less Traveled; and an announcement of an upcoming exhibition of my work (opening November 9, 2017).

Black Dahlia

Two Dahlias in black and white, photographed on the light box (above) and as an extreme macro (below).

Black Dahlia © Harold Davis

 

Dahlia Doodles © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome, Photography

Rose Rose in Rose and in Black and White

Patterns in these roses intrigued me, and I decide to photograph up close. My “Georgia O’Keeffe” red rose was something of a stylistic inspiration.

Rose Rose © Harold Davis

I started with a macro lens and an extension tube. This worked pretty well, but I soon decided I wanted a little more flexibility, of the sort you can can get with a focusing bellows. Who knew that my old Nikon PB-6 bellows on a rail still worked just fine? There’s nothing really changed about this photographic appliance with the advent of digital, and I have kept mine all these years.

White Rose with a Pink Blush © Harold Davis

I found the PB-6 bellows in a box named “Macro Things”—a surprisingly accurate categorization. After cleaning a little dust from the flanges, I attached  the bellows to a tripod, a macro lens to the front, and my D810 to the rear.

By the Light of the Rose © Harold Davis

This session with my roses was so much fun! I couldn’t resist converting some of the images to black and white!

Rose Rose in Black and White © Harold Davis

 

By the Light of the Rose in Black & White © Harold Davis

Which rose do you like best?

Also posted in Monochrome, Photography

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