Indoor Simple Setup

I bought these flowers at my local grocery for $4.00.  The background is black foamcore trifold available at office supply stores and others.  The base is a card table. I used the Magic Water Gels (see 2/17/18 post) to keep the flowers steady in the small vase with some HandiTak… a gummy substance you can find with glues at craft or hardware stores.

Natural light was my only light.  I added a light flare to one images, otherwise no real post processing.  You can have fun any time with just a few flowers!

Canon 5D Mark II with Lensbaby Velvet 56.

Many Versions


I enjoy using Smart Photo Editor to come up with new looks for my images. Sometimes I just get an idea by browsing their extensive library of over 6,000 effects and then make my own version in Photoshop… other times I like exactly what it does in their software.

This program operates on its own, so you do not need Photoshop or Lightroom to enjoy it.

The software is $29.95 and you can get an additional 10% with my code of LL1914.

All of these images were photographed with my Canon 5D Mark II and a Tamron 90mm macro lens.

The upper left is the original photo using a background of greenery I photographed defocused to get the blur of color. I printed the image and mounted it on foamcore to use indoors or in the garden.

The flower is a Frizzle Sizzle pansy.  I was buying some plants at a local nursery and they were getting ready to dump a whole flat (18 – 4″ plants).  Lucky me… she gave me the whole flat!  The plants needed a some cleaning up but it didn’t take me long and they now surround my mailbox.  Love the ruffly edge.


Water Fountain Processing

I found an old water fountain this weekend with all kinds of neat colors in the mineral deposits. Had great fun playing around with the composition. The lip of the basin is seen blured in the lower left. Circular subjects can sometimes be challenging as the corners often have distracting elements.

The RAW file is shown below… flat in contrast and color.  A RAW file needs processing!  I used Curves in Photoshop to add contrast and added Vibrance.

Vibrance:  Vibrance changes the saturation of all lower-saturated colors with less effect on the higher-saturated colors.  This minimizes clipping as colors approach full saturation.  Vibrance also prevents skin tones from becoming oversaturated. In this image the darker gray colors would have gotten more muddy with Saturation.

Then I opened NIK’s Color Efex Pro 4 and added Detail Extractor to give sharpness to the texutred areas of mineral deposits.

Then I used the NIK Color Efex Pro 4 Reflector > Soft Gold > and clicked on Brush to just brush in the gold on the drain hole ringed area.

Original Image:

‘In Your Dreams’

The name of this particular iris in ‘In Your Dreams’… very appropriate.

This is the most beautiful iris that I’ve ever seen. It is a tall bearded iris located near the education building at the Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC. After the recent cold nights, two of the blooms were laying on the ground but many are still standing tall and beautiful. Irises need a lot of depth-of-field for sharp focus… and ideally no wind.

I used a large diffuser to block the sun and wind, and a silver reflector on this one to add light.

For this shot I was down on the ground, tripod legs spread wide, ISO increased to 8OO to get f/20 on my Tamron 90mm macro lens.  Well worth the effort.

Cape Fear Botanical Gardens

I heard of the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens a couple of years ago but didn’t think there was much there.. certainly not enough to make the trip to Fayetteville.  Then two of our CNPA members mentioned it  recently and said what a great place it was.  So, today I ventured down there with a friend and we had a great time. They have a Visitor Center that is about a year old… absolutely beautiful building and ready for weddings and special events.

Since the concept of a botanical garden started in 1989, “Cape Fear Botanical Garden has flourished.  Today, over twenty years later, the Garden encompasses 77 acres of pine and hardwood forest, and boasts meticulously preserved natural areas of the region’s indigenous plants, trees and wildlife.  The cultivated garden areas showcase more than 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants, and include our renowned Daylily, Camellia and Hosta gardens.”

The Heritage Garden includes an old homestead, Smoke House and other interesting buildings.  It also has a large vegetable garden.

Take time to check it out… well worth the visit!

Sarah P Duke Gardens in Bloom

The Sarah P Duke Gardens in Durham is beginning to really glow with color.  If you go early in the morning (they open at 8am)… there is beautiful light in the tiered gardens.  Another advantage of going early is normally less wind and people!  Many of their tulips are up along with a multitude of other flowers. I spent a couple of hours just enjoying all the color and springtime feel.

Here is a tulip bud almost ready to bloom and covered with tiny dewdrops.

I noticed this orange tulip by itself.  The morning sun gave it a nice glow.

Mike Moats was at Duke Gardens too and found this flower with beautiful swirling petals.  Sometimes the best flowers are the ones who are not at their best!