Flowers of Days Past

I had a hankering to try out a bit more macro photography, and also play around with Photoshop and Lightroom.  Specifically, I wanted to do more with Blended Layers, and to play with the High Pass Filter method of sharpening photos.

I have used Blended Layers before.  Most notably, I was very pleased with the Grandfather Binoculars effort (look at the last picture on that post, preferably clicking it to go to and view it in SmugMug).

Speaking of SmugMug, the gallery for this post is HERE, but you can also click on any of the pictures to be taken to the corresponding picture in the gallery.  I know I am wasting my breath for all but a few, but if you like these pictures, you should really, really, really go look at them in SmugMug.  Enough said.

So, first up are the Cone Flowers.

The remnant of a Cone Flower

Last Fall I read one should leave seed flowers uncut for the Winter.  Apparently, birds would eat the seeds, helping them make it through the the Winter.

Some seeds are definitively missing . . .

. . . but most still have all their seeds.

At no time this Winter did I see any birds feasting on these plants.  Still, they offered up many photo opportunities.  They were a good contrast to the snow, and I will be leaving them uncut this Fall so that I may once again use them in my photos.

Of course, just like this 2011 flower, the 2012 batch will also be photographed in their prime.

I tend to do long posts, so I offer up a break  . . . of course, it just makes the post even longer, but them’s the breaks.

This fine woodified monster is a piece of driftwood from San Leon (TX).  It too survived the winter.

In keeping with the rest of the post, here is a shot of the same piece of driftwood from last year

Next up we have these beauties.  By the way, all of these (except the ones from last year) were shot just before the sun dropped below the horizon.  Some I shot outside, others I brought into the house so I could take multiple shots without them being moved by the wind.  Natural light only, using the D7000, the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro lens, and for the blended layer shots, a tripod.

The Three Kings . . . and the Bastard Son in the background.

Here is a close-up of one of the dried remnants of . . .

. . . one of last year's Balloon Flowers.

OK, one more break before the run to the finish . . . I did not bother to learn the name of these flowers.  I will, but for now suffice it to say they are the first of all the flowers in my yard showing buds  . . . 

They just looked so cute, I just had to photograph them

Here is a close-up for them who will not go to the SmugMug album to look at the full-size photos.

And now, the main attraction . . . 

The following are all Blended Layers composites using 5 to 7 shots each.  Each shot focused on a different part of the dried flower, and then were all blended into a (hopefully) full-focus photograph.  This was then sharpened using the High Pass Filter option in Photoshop.

Each was then treated to different processing in Lightroom.  The sequence will go as follows:  first, the actual Blended Layers shots, then three Black and White processed copies of the same photo, and then one processed like I processed the Maori canoe shots from my PATH 006 post.

There are three different photographs, so fifteen pictures in all.  Not much point me commenting on them, so here they are.

Blended Layers Original

High-contrast B&W

Muted B&W

Regular B&W

My favorite - the burnt look

Second composition - Blended Layers as shot

High Contrast B&W

Muted B&W

Regular B&W

My Favorite - The Burnt Look

Third Composition - Blended Layers Original

High Contrast B&W - interestingly, although processed the same as the others, this seems less bright.

Muted B&W

Regular B&W - does not look that much different from the muted.  I'm thinking the light was fading when I took these originals, and they ended up darker to begin with.

Once again, my favorite "look" - The Burnt Look

For those who did not go to the SmugMug album, and are wondering what flowers I photographed, they are . . . 

. . . the dried version of this beauty . . . the Bluebeard Shrub flower.  This specimen from my 2011 flowers gallery.

And, that’s it.  I will likely be silent for the next few days as I once again return to the duties and obligations of the real world.

Thanks for dropping by to share in my escape from reality.  I hope you, the gentle reader, enjoyed both my words and pictures.

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