Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary

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Dahlias

Dahlia. Nikon D7100. 105 mm Micro Nikkor. ISO 250. 1/80 sec at f/32. Ring flash on lens. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Dahlia. Nikon D7100. 105 mm Micro Nikkor. ISO 250. 1/80 sec at f/32. Ring flash on lens. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

It is high summer – maybe even a bit past, but here in the Northeast, these are usually the warmest days of summer. The dahlias are reigning supreme in the summer garden. Dahlias are the national flower of Mexico. Their natural habitat is limited to Mexico and Central America. Dahlias were discovered by European explorers in Mexico in the 16th Century. Since then there has been extensive hybridization with the development of many new varieties.

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Study in Red (Dahlia)

Study in Red (Dahlia). Nikon D7100. 105 mm Micro Nikkkor. ISO 250. 1/80 sec at f?36. Ring flash on lens. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Study in Red (Dahlia). Nikon D7100. 105 mm Micro Nikkkor. ISO 250. 1/80 sec at f/36. Ring flash on lens. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Can a red dahlia be too red? This one is like a “Hollywood” dahlia – completely uninhibited and glamorous – sheer sensuality. But is there a note of danger on top?

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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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Yellow Iris – 2

Yellow Iris. Nikon D200. 105 mm Nikkkor f/2.8 Macro. ISO 400. 1/25 sec at f/25.0. Digitally Altered. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Yellow Iris. Nikon D200. 105 mm Nikkor f/2.8 Macro. ISO 400. 1/25 sec at f/25.0. Digitally Altered. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

I have posted numerous irises here before, including a yellow iris. (See here.) This image has been newly processed including some digital alteration.

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Rhododendron 2

Rhododendron. Nikon D200. Nikkor 105 mm Macro.  ISO 560. 1/60 sec at f/22. May 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Rhododendron. Nikon D200. Nikkor 105 mm Macro. ISO 560. 1/60 sec at f/22. May 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Today’s Rhododendron. The results of a gorgeous spring afternoon in the park. I think, after months of black-and-white, we’ll do some more of this color botanical work. Stay tuned, more to come.

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