Rose Bouquet from Above

This is a subsequent photo of the bouquet of roses, with the buds a bit more open, and angled from above rather then showing the full bouquet in profile. As compared with the first photo, I also lit the flowers for more softness of color.

This is one of those photos that appears fairly effortless. As indeed it should. But in fact, the image took a great deal of work.

The most difficult problem was caused by an issue of lens focal length. I wanted to be able to see the entire circumference of the bouquet of roses; at the same time I didn’t want the photo to capture tripod legs, lighting apparatus, or the edge of the black velvet background. With my tripod fully extended (three legs plus center column), approximately 40mm (60mm in 35mm terms) would have done the trick.

This would seem to have indicated my Nikon 18-200mm VR zoom lens, which I enjoy using as an all-round lens, and certainly includes the desired focal length in its range. Unfortunately, however, when you point this lens straight down, the zoom “slips” out to its longest setting, so I couldn’t use the lens for this purpose.

I ended up raising the height of the tripod by putting each foot on a chair and climbing a short ladder myself. With a little cropping in the post-processing, my 50mm Sigma macro lens (75mm in 35mm terms) was now just right.

This whole setup was truly pretty jerry-rigged and rickety, and not at all the kind of slick shooting situation you’d expect of a pro photographer. You can see a somewhat similar set of circumstances that involved a diaper box as a platform when I photographed this wasp. In both cases, the point is that it worked, and that I didn’t break my keister, not the slickness of the setup.

So that the white roses didn’t blow out, and the orange and pink roses on the left remained vivid, I combined three different exposures to get the final result.

[Nikon D300, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro lens (75mm in 35mm terms), three exposures (1.6 second, 2.5 seconds, and 4 seconds), all at f/32 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Pine Mountain

On Wednesday, Julian and I hiked to Pine Mountain, which is officially part of the Marin Municipal Water District and topographically part of the ridge that circles round and up Mount Tamalpais.

The weather was cloudy, drizzly, and frankly–for the Bay area–somewhat chilly. It’s about a five mile hike (round trip) with close to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. As you can see in the photo, we had some breaks in the grey weather.

This view is looking northwards, you can see the beginnings of Tamales Bay and Point Reyes in the upper center. We saw one other walker during our hike. The astounding thing is that so much solitude in such a vast and apparently empty landscape is to be found so near to a major city.

Posted in Landscape, Photography

Wall of Fire

The sunset colors of the clouds behind the Golden Gate Bridge make it look to me like the bridge is positioned against a wall of fire. The bridge and clouds are isolated in this capture (and the one below) by a telephoto lens; here’s what the scene looked like from further back!

Red Bridge Sunset

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Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Glad in Pink

This is a photogram, cross-processed in two different ways (above and below) from the original capture. Clearly, the bulk of the work is in Photoshop, not the camera. (Here’s an earlier capture of a gladiolus, post-processed but not a photogram.)

With Julian doing well, we have a great deal to be thankful this year. And I’d like to wish everyone reading my blog a very, very happy Thanksgiving as well!

Pink Gladiolus 1

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Posted in Flowers, Photograms, Photography