May 11, 2013

A Personal Photo Challenge - Flowers

It’s time for A Personal Photo Challenge! “Flowers” is the theme this month.

This is going to be a fun challenge! Blog authors and readers can’t help but smile when flowers are featured in blog posts. Colorful and elegant blooms cheer our souls! Consequently, many bloggers want to learn how to improve their flower photography skills.

I prepared two images for this challenge. One of them is a bit quirky. Yeah, I have to mix it up a little bit for myself! The other photo is more traditional in composition, but I transformed it into something extra yummy in the post-processing step. I am unusually content with my final results. It’s such a rare thing, LOL.

The first photo shows one of my beloved daffodil blooms. It was one of the last of the spring season. I wanted to take a little different approach in the composition. The “simplicity” challenge from last month was fresh in my mind when I set up this shot. I wanted it to be as simple as possible, so I fearlessly added a lot of negative space and offset the subject. Also, I pretended to be another flower in the flowerbed! (Yes, I warned you this image was quirky.) What would be my view if I were a daffodil, sitting in the flowerbed? Why, I would have a sibling partially blocking my view!

You may get the impression that I took the shot out in the flowerbed. However, I set it up inside, with the flower in a vase next to my office window. The distant out-of-focus green color in the background is a view through the window of our front yard grass. I used a tripod for the camera and employed a reflector to slightly brighten up the backside of the flower head. A beam of natural, late afternoon light provided the backlighting. I used the Nikon D90 with an 85mm macro lens.

As a result of this little experiment, I happily discovered that there is a lot of beauty in the back of a daffodil bloom. I hope that you agree.

daffodil’s flipside
f/20, 1/125 second, ISO 400

I took the second photo last month when we visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After a leisurely day in Cades Cove, we stopped on the park’s Laurel Creek Road and admired some blooming wildflowers. No hiking was involved because gorgeous blooms were on display just a few feet from the pavement. At that point in the day, I was too tired and lazy to break out the tripod. So I took the image handheld with the Nikon D800. I don’t have a full-frame macro lens for that camera yet, so I used my trusty, all-purpose 28-300mm zoom lens at the 300mm setting.

I took extra care in the post-processing. After making some of my usual adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw, I applied a few of my favorite Nik Color Efex filters, including a soft glow and vignette. Some artful dodging and burning was also performed. I’m very pleased with the end result.

white trillium on Laurel Creek Road
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
f/11, 1/160, ISO 560

Now that you’ve seen my photos and read my post, I hope you will hop over to A Personal Photo Challenge blog and check out the creative efforts of other participants. Thank you so much!


  1. Geeez girl! Absolutely Beautiful! So clear and crisp....I'll Never be able to do this kind of photography but it's fun trying!Hahaaa
    Thanks for hosting the Challenge!!

  2. Loved the descriptions more than the nuts and bolts... I've not noticed the back of a daffodil with any great interest before, but here it is so beautifully set before me and, you're right, God is extravagant with everything! It looks almost whimsical as if it is wearing a little hoodie.

    I could build a room around the last photo...the colors are so rich, the details so fine. Beautiful work, Donna!

  3. Well, the daffodil is lovely - so crisp and all - but the trillium is breathtaking!! You need to give us some tutorials on editing! So far, I'm a straight-out-of-the-camera girl, but this one is just gorgeous!

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! Of course you could probably guess that I would love the Daffodil. Trilliums have always had a special place in my heart. Our woods are full of them in our area. You inspire me - I MUST get PS for my new computer. My 'old' version won't work with Windows 8 so I think I'll head to Costco and 'indulge'!

  5. Hi Donna, Sounds like you had a wonderful trip out west. I caught up on some of your photos --and am anxious to see bunches more.

    Beautiful photos today. I especially love the Trillium.

    We just got home from a week at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Had a fabulous time....

    Happy Mother's Day.

  6. Abosolutly love both but the Trillium shot is breathtaking. I relly need to teach myself more about digital processing. Baby steps...

  7. I agree with Donna, don't know if I will ever be able to do that, but I am sure as heck gonna keep on trying. Thanks for hosting and all the great tips. Love the last photo.

  8. I think flowers ARE a favorite subject in blogging. I love the beautiful trillium. It grows up in the mountains of NC, too...mostly along the creeks where it's moist and shady. Thanks for the fun challenge. You leave such wonderful comments on our photos to help us learn and grow. Sweet hugs my friend!

  9. Thank you Donna for hosting the photo challenges I am enjoying them! Loved the back of your daffodil - It makes me want to save hard and get a dslr.
    Love Leanne

  10. Donna, you're so clever to put yourself in the position of another daffodil in a flowerbed with the view in front of you. Often we don't appreciate the back, or even inside of flowers because they are looked at as a whole. Rather neat to have the grass outside for the background. I do have a bristol board of a blue sky and fluffy clouds that one instructor said to use inside or out for background.
    The modifications of the second photo are all Greek to me, but I can appreciate the gorgeous veining of the leaves, shades of green and a pristine white flower in the middle.
    Thanks for hosting and sharing your tips.

  11. Beautiful creations Donna. I love how you placed the daffodil to the side of the frame, and the trillium, such a sweet flower, is awesome.

    Thanks for the editing tips. I hope to get more close-up use from my Canon 7D when I have more time to learn the and outs. I don't have a dedicated macro lens for this camera and am thinking of getting one - should I?

    Sorry I'm a bit late here - wanted to keep my Mother's Day post at the forefront yesterday - so just posting this one today. I'll be back in the USA June 8 so hope to have time to join in the June challenge - will try.

    Happy Mother's Day - and every day.

  12. Wow these are these shots! Great post!

  13. Wonderful photos once again Donna, and a quirky perspective on the daffodil.
    What would our lives be like without you?
    Fortunately I had put a flower on my blog for Mother's Day.
    Luckily I have deemed it worthy of a Challenge.
    Whew. Been a little busy this month!

  14. Awesome shots Miz Donna! I love your photos.

    I'm sorry to be late but my satellite internet was acting ugly yesterday and wouldn't let me on!


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