Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary

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Floral Light

Floral Light. Nikon D7100. Nikon 105mm Macro. ISO 200. 1/60 sec at f/10. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Floral Light. Nikon D7100. Nikon 105mm Macro. ISO 200. 1/60 sec at f/10. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Flowers, of course, naturally turn toward the sun. I believe that in addition, properly viewed, flowers radiate light. Sometimes the light is intense. This image started as a tulip (same tulips shot a few days ago). But it emanates a powerful light, life, energy. The bloom is permeated with light. (A very modest amount of post-capture processing. Click image for larger.)

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Tulips

(All: Nikon 7100 with Nikon 105 mm Macro lens. ISO 200. 1/60 sec at f/36. Ring flash. Click any image for larger.)

Tulips have become a ubiquitous and glorious sign of spring. There are now over 3,000 varieties cultivated. Tulips grow wild across Asia, but the cultivation on tulips is relatively recent in history. The first cultivated tulips originated in Persia around the 11th Century, and then in what is now Turkey. (The name “tulip” came from the flower’s resemblance to a turban.) One of the greatest works of Persian literature, the poem “Gulistan” from the 13th Century, describes a garden paradise,

The murmur of a cool stream
bird song, ripe fruit in plenty
bright multicoloured tulips and fragrant roses

Tulips came to Europe around the 16th Century. Today the center of the tulip world is the Netherlands where billions of tulips are grown every year. In the late 17th Century, tulips became so prized – and expensive – in Europe that they became the subject of a trading mania. Tulip bulbs actually became a form of currency. The period is known as the “Tulip Mania.”

For me, the greatest attraction of tulips is the incredible range of exotic color combinations and flowers. In these closeup photographs, the petals often look (to me) a bit like wings, courtly and elegant yet at the same time carefree. If spring itself is not enough to lift one’s spirits, the wild abandon with which the tulip flower welcomes in spring year after year is sure to do the job.

 

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Ranunculus

Ranunculus. Nikon D7100. 105 mm (Nikon 105 mm Macro). ISO 200. 1/60 sec at f/4.2. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Ranunculus. Nikon D7100. 105 mm (Nikon 105 mm Macro). ISO 200. 1/60 sec at f/4.2. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Another Ranunculus. The soft focus impact of the delicate almost-floating pink petals – How many shades in this single image! – is inspiring.

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Ranunculus

Ranunculus. Nikon D7100. 105 mm (Nikon Macro). ISO 200. 1/3 sec at f/4. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Ranunculus. Nikon D7100. 105 mm (Nikon Macro). ISO 200. 1/3 sec at f/4. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Here’s another new Ranunculus image. This was photographed with the Nikon 105 mm f/2.8 macro lens and deliberately shot and processed soft focus. The earlier ranunculus images I have done were in brighter colors (reds, mostly) and bolder images. These are softer, more dreamy in appearance. Interesting that the same flower comes not only in different colors but such different moods.

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New Ranunculus

Ranunculus. Nikon D7100. 105 mm (Nikon Macro). ISO 200. 1/30 sec at f/16. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Ranunculus. Nikon D7100. 105 mm (Nikon Macro). ISO 200. 1/30 sec at f/16. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

This post is “New” Ranunculus because I have shot ranunculus flowers before – A great subject for flower photography – and posted images here. This is a completely new series of images (more to come). I like the soft color and texture, perhaps a little dreamy or angelic, and yet dynamic and emphatic, in many ranunculus blossoms. Along with the densely petaled flowers like the above that we think of most often as ranunculus, ranunculus actually encompasses over 600 specials, including flowers as common as the yellow buttercup.

This image was arranged and shot indoors. I have been striving frequently for a Chiaroscuro effect – often referred to as “Rembrandt lighting” – with emphatic patterns of light and dark. The detailed yet fine appearance of the petals adds to this effect in this image, I think.

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Larch Bough

Larch Bough. Nikon D200. Micro-Nikkor 105mm Macro. ISO 200. 1/125 sec at f/11. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Larch Bough. Nikon D200. Micro-Nikkor 105mm Macro. ISO 200. 1/125 sec at f/11. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

The larch tree is a deciduous conifer. Though a cone-bearning tree with needles, it loses it’s needles in the fall. I’m fond of larches. The needles are relatively short and born densely. The result is a fine and delicate appearance.

Although at first glance, this image looks almost like a winter scene, in fact the image was shot in summer against a dense green background. Infrared processing allows concentrating on the single bough and its branches and cones. (An earlier version of this image is here.)

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