Spring Daffodils

Its bursting out Spring all over the place DownUnder and we have had some stunningly lovely days.  Blossom trees are appearing all over the city, birds are waking up at 5am and it definately is warmer.

Some genius also planted these lovely fancy daffodils and narcissus in my garden several months ago, and they have been popping up over the past few weeks.

My new Lensbaby Velvet56 was a fun lens to play with shooting these flowers – I like it around f4 – – f2.8 to give nice softness and lovely blurred background.

This is Replete – one of my favourite Daffodils.  It has many layers of ruffled apricot petals in the middle of the flower.

Getting up really close with the Lensbaby allows us to see the intricate detail in the edges of the petals.

Shot at 2.8 on the Velvet56 which gives this very soft focus effect which shows off the edges of the petals nicely against the background.

Anyone else have a Lensbaby?  This is my first one and it is an interesting learning experience.

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Its spring downunder here in NZ, a little earlier than usual.  Bulbs are sprouting, trees are in blossom and the magnolia are making a grand display all over the city.

Today was a very calm overcast day – perfect for flower photography so I made the effort to wander into town with my camera to hunt the elusive magnolia.

They can grow to be quite big trees and often the blossoms are too high for me to get a nice side on view, but there were a few that I found well within range of the tripod.

I am trying a different editing style with these image, a slightly muted faded vintage look which I quite like with flowers.

Specifically shot with a fairly open aperture – ranging from 2.8 to 4 to soften the background and blur it nicely.  Some of these shots are taken with my new Lensbaby Velvet56 which does a great job with the soft background.

Anyone else using a Lensbaby?

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Time Experiment

I’ve finally got around to watching the Brooke Shaden Masterclass that I bought at Xmas when it was on special.  There is a LOT of information in there – much of it covered in her other classes but gone into with a different perspective and level of depth in this one.

So far I am enjoying it and it has inspired me to have a go at compositing an image.  She has one done on a clock and I have a similar clock face in my mixed media art supplies…..

Suitably decorated, the clock is shot and my hand is also shot and I try and composite.


– I thought if I shot it on a black background it would blend relatively seamlessly – NO NO NO NO it didnt.  The black was not dark enough and even with tweaking contrast etc in PS, it affected the other non black elements in the shot and didnt blend properly as a result.

Eventually after beating at PS with a stick and many layers blended and tweaked together I kinda made it work

– Used chia seeds instead of sand which was the original ide – but I still ended up having to mask around all the edges and gaps to make it look fully blended.

– I had originally gone with the idea of blood pouring from my wrist but thought that would be a little too obvious – it would have been a LOT easier to mask around tho 😦

– In blending all the layers on the hand, I blew out the highlights and lost detail

– There arent the right shadows on the hand and under the seeds so they look a bit pasted on

– The clock is slightly out of focus cos it warped while it was cooling down from being on the fire to dry the paint

-I still completely suck at adjusting colour tones on layers so that they are equally vibrant and saturated and look the same – this is the thing I struggle with the most

All that being said I still like this – I conceptualised the shoot, made the shoot happen, had a go at compositing the images, and either way learned a LOT.

Not sure how I’m going to solve many of these problems, but I know that having another go is the best way to try 🙂

Regardless of the fact that this full of issues and mistakes, does the concept work?

When you see this image what does it make you think of? Feel?

Have any tips on how to solve my problems?

EDIT – shortly afterwards I realised that some of the issues could be reduced a bit if I applied a Topaz Impression paint filter over it…

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Difference Between Aesthetic and Style

Over on DPS I recently had this article published where I discuss the difference between Aesthetic and Style.

Lots of photographers get to the stage where they wonder if they have a style or if they are going to develop one.

My article looks at style in a deeper way, differentiating how you shoot your images and the way they look, and each has an impact on the final outcome.

A different way of thinking about your own style perhaps?

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Misty Morning Sunrise over Lake Pearson

While I was editing my images from my Cass trip last week, I was mucking around with some presets and I got this as a result and really liked it.

Was it what I saw when I was there?


Does it instantly transport me back to how cold and misty and magical and still that morning was, watching the sun rise on the snow covered mountain peaks?


The creative choices available to us in digital imagery mean we can edit our images in so many different ways.  Some people argue that a realistic version of a landscape scene is the only true way to do that – and I see their point.

When a landscape is heavily edited or even composited, it could be considered false advertising.  If you are posting images like that and people *without* full disclosure that its edited well beyond natural limits, then there are consequences as a result.

I always advise that my images have been edited when I share them, and if its creatively so, beyond what could be expected in nature, I would note that.

Nature is however, a wonderful thing, and I have seen light like this – even scarlet crimson skies.

So while it isn’t what I saw when I was there, it *could* have naturally happened.

Its an interesting topic, the definition of “true” representation in a digital image.

I used to be a purist until I got better and understood the capabilities of what editing can do.

How do you feel on the subject?  Is creative editing OK so long as its disclosed?

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Winter Landscapes

My camera club goes up to Cass in the mountains at Mid Winter – usually due to work commitments I miss out but this year I made the attempt.

Three weeks out there was snow all over the place but it was mostly gone from low ground when we were there.  Still plenty on the peaks and it was cold enough that the hoar frost was still around in patches too.

Minus 6 when I got up before sunrise!

Lake Pearson was covered in fog and ice crystals decorate everything, it was perfectly still, very cold and stunningly beautiful.

At the head of the lake as the sun started to burn off the mist, everything was covered in white sparkling ice crystals

Close up of snow crystals on a bank at Arthurs Pass – taken handheld with 100mm macro lens lying flat out in the snow.  I took hundreds of these 🙂

As the rising sun cleared the mountains it lit up this peak and was visible through the lake mist – a perfectly still lake make for a lovely reflection

Playing with long exposures as Bushy Stream – all the rocks are covered in ice and frost and long icicles hang of the sides of the rocks by the water as well.

A little bit of winter from DownUnder!

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Faded Antique Glory

A different angle this time and a more faded antique style edit – this is using my Elegant Fade presets – for a quite desaturated matte effect.

Then a texture to add some framing and a bit of vignette, and another texture to tone it all a bit more evenly.

I love how the map details look really interesting – especially as I have just realised the tissue is so thin its been put it down wrong way up!

This is a slightly heavier texture edit than I normally do – was aiming for an old faded stained vintage photo effect – did I get there?

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