Papery poppies

We have a selection of ornamental poppies self seeded around the garden. I prefer my poppies red. These ones are pale pale orange, and within minutes, it seems, of them flowering, they fade, and look like bleached orange paper.

But I discovered that close up they’re quite striking.

You may need to tilt your head.

poppy perspective

And with a teeny bit of editing

poppy close up

I’m not actually sure which one I prefer. The editing is problematic at times, I’d like to get the shots without having to worry too much. No cropping on either of these, and only a little enhancement on the brightness, reduction on the contrast. Or was it the other way around?

Anyway, I’ve decided I quite like them close up. What do you think?

Getting technical with seedheads.

In a friend’s garden the other day, now really beginning to experiment with the settings. So, pretty much full sun, mid to late afternoon, lying on the floor taking repeated pictures of seedheads, just tweaking one setting in between.

We’re at F/3.5 ISO80 and we’re keeping those unchanged. The only change between these three pictures is exposure time.

So this one got 1/1000 second.
fluff 1000th

This one 1/800 second
fluff 800th

And finally, 1/640 second.
fluff 640th

Interesting to see what the differences are. Otherwise unedited, as what I’m looking at here is what the different camera settings can do. I *think* all of this was completely manual, although I get to edit exposure time in Av too, and have been playing around.

Which one do you prefer?

*A note. I’ve added Flattr as a sharing option. It’s not quite a sharing option, it’s a social microdonations site. You load up your account with as little as you like per month, and go round clicking the flattr button. At the end of the month (or whatever the cycle is) what money you had in your account, is divvied out between your clicks. A way to give back to content creators. 🙂

Playing with light

So I went out in the back garden yesterday, just as the sun was dropping, and visited my tulip.

And there was a bit of this going on.

tulips evening light

Which I thought was rather good. And I scrambled around and shot it from some slightly different angles, and only gradually realised that I was shooting on manual instead of Av.

Which probably doesn’t seem like an awful lot to you photographers out there, but given a week ago, I couldn’t do the depth of field trick to save my life, I was feeling quite impressed with it.

Now, my Canon Powershot is quite friendly – it has a display on the side that shows you how well you’re balancing everything up. And at the moment, I’m being really technical – keeping the F as low as it will go (which is around F2.8, although sometimes it bottoms out higher – no, I haven’t figured out why yet) and balancing it out with a bit of ISO fiddling and some spinning of the other number. Yeah, like I said, really technical 😉

Anyway, I also took this.

tulips untouched

Which is quite nice, but isn’t quite the right colour balance for what I saw – I guess I wasn’t compensating well enough with my settings for that evening glare. So I’ve had a little fiddle in and now I have this.

tulips touched up

What do we think? Am I getting there?

I don’t want to be doing massive amounts of playing about in editing software, but at the moment everything is a balancing act. I’ll get better yet I think at balancing things on the camera, and maybe I won’t need to touch up too much. But all in all, I’m quite happy with the joint effect there.

Explosions of colour.

Yesterday on a walk to the library we saw all sorts of fascinating things along the roadside.

I loved this explosion of colour.

roadside flowers

I did spend a little time in the editing software on this, tweaking brightness and so on. Which led to a discussion about where I want to spend my time and money. Not on software. I *know* that you can do awesome things in photoshop, but I’m much more interested in doing awesome things with the camera. I don’t have the time or money to go on a training course right now (sad really, as I got a press release this morning about Jessops offering courses, such as this one, ah well!) But I *keep* looking at slightly better cameras. Ones with dedicated batteries. Sigh.

Anyway, more about colour.

Or in this case, more about contrast.

light and shadow

The shadows here were fascinating. I don’t think I’ve quite got the focus where I wanted it, but it’s not far off.

And finally, the queen of flowers. The rose. They are just so glorious.

rose pre flowering

The colour and feel of this one evokes velvet, don’t you think?

Young and old

Something a little different today, reflecting a pensive state of mind.

old and new

Nature is glorious, but matter of fact. New growth alongside, replacing the old. It’s more difficult to come to terms with that in relation to human life. A small part of my childhood, and my children’s childhoods, died this week. And it has caused me to turn inside, to consider relationships, to think about mortality.

And also the fleeting nature of beauty.

I don’t have the skills to capture the blossom falling in the wind yet. (I suspect I need a different setting to Av for that, and I don’t know what it is!) But it was so beautiful. This will remind me.


Morning flowers.

Morning light is a little different isn’t it? I went out in search of dew, but I was too late for that, no festooned spider webs to be found. Perhaps if I’d tried the very first time the small child woke me, but never mind.

I did find flowers, just beginning to wake and show their glory.

morning daisy

And just the daisy head.

daisy head

I’m starting to quite like some of the pictures I’m getting – I was ambitious enough this morning to drift off the Av setting and try some full manual. I find the manual focus window on the SX110IS a little difficult to work with, but I’m beginning to think that’s partly my eyesight. And on my wishlist for the perfect camera, along with batteries that last a little longer (although the twice charged 2500 Tronic NiMh from Lidl seem to be working better than previously this morning) is a viewfinder, instead of just a screen.

My shots into the light just didn’t really work at all, and I think that was mainly because I couldn’t see what on earth I was doing!

Although, now I’ve had a bit of a play with this one in a photo editor, it’s growing on me. What do you think?




This isn’t the daisy picture I wanted. The one I was taking had the in focus daisy in the bottom right, and then an out of focus one behind it to the top left. Nearly this picture, but not quite. 

But as I focussed on the daisy, a little hand came down. And even though I told him not to, the toddler picked the background daisy. And crawl around as I might on the damp lawn, I couldn’t find another two positioned as beautifully. 

Sigh. So it’s not only weather, light, wind and failing batteries that conspire against me. Two year olds get in on the act too. 

The batteries thing is one of the biggest reasons that I look at other cameras. (Other than all the complaints previously stated about whether I can do what I want to do with this camera.) My Canon Powershot SX110 takes AA batteries. And no matter how expensive a rechargeable I try, they last single figure shots if any. A decent set of non rechargeables might do me a day. But often they struggle to do that if I’m being particularly experimental. If I get around to upgrading, it will be to a camera with a dedicated battery. And a spare. 

Flowers in the sun

More photography in Av mode. My head is beginning to swim with what feels like contradictory advice – move in close, move back and zoom. I’m sure this is mainly me misunderstanding the advice rather than actually been told to do it differently.

I quite like this tulip in full sun – I can’t quite get the shadow clear though.

tulip in sunshine

And it turns out that flowers are beautiful from the back.

from the back

Would probably have been even better fully focussed.

Ah well, guess I’ll just keep on trying.