Poison oak is dangerously seductive. Good thing the photos of it are safe.
A hike in San Jose’s Quicksilver park has several trees with these nice little clusters of red berries. This one worked rather nice with the soft bokeh.
There were a few almond (amond for those of you without your “l’s” ) trees on the photowalk. I am not sure if they were wild or not. These are not quite ripe yet, but when they are, I’m sure they will be tasty.
There were lots and lots of dry things on our walk. It is after all, California in the summer. Thistles in general are pretty interesting to look at regardless if they are green or brown. The sun was high overhead which made these pretty challenging to shoot and get the interesting detail out of. This is a three exposure HDR image to bring out some of the detail in the center of the front thistle.
Lets take a break from the California coast and once again revisit our (well maybe just my) favorite gigantic dandelion, the Salsify plant and its softball-sized seed ball. Before this year, I had never heard or seen one before. Now they are all over the place. It must have something to do with the abnormally cold weather we’ve been subject to.
To get these images, attempted to pick the seed head off the plant to give it a proper backdrop. Unlike a regular dandelion where this is a trivial task, salsify required me to resort to more aggressive tactics like such as employing a pair of scissors because breaking the fibrous stem by hand was difficult and risked disrupting the seeds.
On the hike last Sunday with the togalongs, I noticed these little yellow flowers growing on the high bank of the lake. I didn’t stop to shoot them on the way out, but I knew on the way back they would end up a target. It took some work to get something that I liked, but in the end, I like the yellow against the blue water and seeing both sides of the lake. Also, I tried the recommended technique of underexposing the shot to bring out the detail in the yellow. Overall I think it worked quite nice. The brightness of the yellow is still a bit lacking, but I think the detail more than makes up for it.
The kids and I went hiking around Anderson Lake in Morgan Hill on Sunday. The sky was playing very nice and the views were gorgeous. I really liked how the brown grass interacted with the blue sky, orchards, mountain and puffy white clouds. I took this at 28mm f13 to get the background just slightly out of focus. It was a bit breezy so it was really tough to get this with a super-sharp grass in the foreground.
What are these little iridescent pearl flower buds? I have no idea. I found them in the local hills on a bush and are very cool. I have no idea what they look like in bloom. If you know what they are, let me know, I was unable to identify them online.
What do you do when you don’t have a macro lens and you want to get on the Dandelion Bandwagon (1, 2, 3)? Get a bigger dandelion! Again, we have Salsify seeds setup in my ‘studio’. In the afternoon, the sun comes through a window in my house and has served as my back-lighting system for awhile. I think it worked well here. The one thing I don’t have and need is a black backdrop to make something like this stand out even better.
The details in the fibers are wonderful. Click through to see them in good detail.
Broom bush from the front yard. These things smell wonderful when in bloom. Sadly this is almost done blooming for the year.
There are some gigantic dandelion-like seed pods out here that caught my eye. It turns out they are Salsify. Also known as oyster root. I have a couple of these growing in my back yard that sprung up on their own, of which I’ll have to try and eat once they mature. This image was taken out in Rancho San Antonio Park and was a bit rushed, but cool nonetheless.
I find yellow flowers extremely challenging to photograph. I’m not sure why they always lose their detail and appear so flat. No matter how I work the camera and the post-processing I always struggle with a attaining rich looking image. I’d love to hear pointers on how to make yellows feel as sharp and deep as other colors.
This image was taken in a very vibrant field of yellow mustard. The colors were fantastic. While this is nice and I like this image quite a bit, It doesn’t capture what I saw. It was all much more vibrant and had more texture in the petals.
More from the walk to the farm. This time we have a happy little sunflower with some definite personality. This flower was just begging to be photographed. It was in a challenging location and it was tough to get an angle on it, let alone one where the camera would be still. I love the wide range of colors in this shot.
At Deer Hollow Farm in the park on Sunday, there was a small garden with this Papaver poppy growing. The delicate red paper-thin wrinkled petals and how they catch the light are just wonderful. The white anthers and purple filaments combined with the bright yellow pistil that looks like a fancy pat of butter work so well for this large flower.
One of my new recent favorites! Today, I took the kids hiking through the hills in San Antonio Park with some friends to visit Deer Hollow Farm. The flowering thistles were drawing my attention but not delivering in any shots, no matter how much I encouraged them. Along the hike, my friend mentioned the bee on a nearby thistle. Needless to say, that was followed by several clicking sounds coming from my camera.
I love the pollen on this bee, the colors, clarity, aphids and spider web.
Okay, I found one more image that worked from yesterday’s rose garden outing. Also, there is an image I had high hopes for, but in the end doesn’t work for me. The more interesting part to me is the action that happened where i wasn’t looking (or focused for that matter). Oh I wish I had seen it when it was going down! That is the one drawback to the remote shutter release.
Today’s capture comes with pain, frustration, and a bit of misery. I wanted to jet off to get some photos in the evening light at the Heritage Rose Garden in San Jose. The kids wanted to come along to take flower pictures of their own. Sounds good. I get the nice light, they get to hang out, my wife gets a break.
That is where things went wrong. The rose garden isn’t really too close to anything. As in, it’s not setup like a regular park. So when my older daughter said, “I need to go potty really really bad,” just after I setup for my first photo after we drove out there; I had to figure out how to deal with the situation. We worked around the issue, and I won’t go into detail how, but lets just say, timing was critical.
Back to shooting. Of course, it’s quite windy so every shot takes tons of patience. At least I have my tripod and remote shutter release. Until I hear. “She fell! She fell and hurt herself!” Apparently the kids were playing on a hill and my youngest one fell on the concrete and cut the inside of her lip, poor thing (she’s fine now). That marked the end of the photo trip. 40 minutes of total driving, and 20 minutes of highly distracted shooting. I wasn’t really happy with any of the shots, so here is the best of the outing. Oh, in 30 more minutes, this one would have been so sweet.
This was a rushed shot as we were heading out today. I could have spent another 30 minutes on it, but what are you going to do if you have places to be? This ant, and one other were climbing around in the Gazania flower. Once again, using the reverse-lens macro, this time dropped down to 28mm, I was able to get quite close. There are still focus issues since it was breezy and everything was handheld. I do however, like this little guy, especially since he’s just a tiny black ant and shows up decently here.
Today I bought a circular polarizing filter. So naturally, what is the first thing I do to break it in? Take it off the camera and do some reverse-lens macro shots. It’s what you would have done, right? That’s what I thought.
What we’re looking at here is a little daisy that was growing in the grass field of a local school. This was taken at 135mm focal length. Isn’t this shot one that is required of anyone taking flower photos? I thought it was, so I made my attempt at it.
I haven’t been out shooting recently since my schedule has been pretty impacted. You know, late nights at work and all. I have a couple of images that I have been sitting on. Both of which I was happy with while I was shooting, and neither of which did anything for me once I got them on the computer. They made my “don’t delete” cut, but I didn’t post them. Since I haven posted in a couple days, and I’m not really doing a 365 project, I wonder, is it better to post something than nothing? Probably.
The first image is from my last time shooting which was last Sunday. In the same little flower garden that the last posts have come from. The second image is from my outing a few weeks ago in San Francisco.
This is not my photograph. It’s my six-year-old daughter’s! On Sunday, during our walk to farmer’s market, she was very interested in shooting her flowers. This is one of the images. I think she chose a great subject and a killer background for it. It almost looks like a studio setup. Rather, it was in someone’s yard. I better look out, that kid will be passing me up soon enough.
I love being close enough to walk to farmer’s market. When the weather is nice it makes for a good Sunday morning event. One house along the way has a wonderful flower garden in the front yard. I stopped to take a few shots, and let my girls try their hand at some as well.
These Alyssum Flowers are my work but it won’t be long until I’m featuring the kids stuff. They love taking flower pictures. But the rule apparently is, one photo per flower please. No more. No duplicates, no matter if it is from one location or another. That means one poppy photo, one daisy photo. I guess this means we either need a bigger garden or we’ll have to start traveling soon.
The “other” decent image from my photo-walk last night. I’m a fan of the translucent petals and reflective tips. While I was taking these, the ower of the the house was leaving in the car. I always wonder how people feel when I’m camped out shooting their flowers. They never said a word before they drove off into the sunset (and cast a brief shadow on the roses).
The title says it all. This was taken back in February while taking a weekend break to South Lake Tahoe. This shot hasn’t sat well with me (why it hasn’t gone on the site until May), but has gone over well with the family (which is why it’s here at all). Usually it is the opposite, they don’t like it and I do. Let me know what works and what doesn’t. Maybe I’m missing something.