I had another go at focus stacking this last weekend. This time my subject is botanical, the decaying petals of a hydrangea. They’re all from one flower-head but all at different stages of decay, from the age-spotted pinks through to skeletal lacy remains. The petals were arranged on glass on a black background and lit with a diffused, blue spotlight. After stacking my images in Photoshop and masking in the focused areas, I decided that the image felt more appealing, almost vintage, with some areas left soft and unfocused. I gave the whole piece a hazy, matte finish to accentuate that vintage look that is a mirror to the subject itself. I hope you like it! I’m putting this one forward for both Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenges this week. Good luck to all taking part!
This wasn’t my intended entry for the Fotospeed challenge today but it’s alway good to have a backup plan! It was my hubby, Simon’s birthday on Saturday so I resolved to leave the cameras packed away and refrain from doing any work. We went into Guildford for lunch at Meat The Greek in Castle Street. Wonderful little place with proper gyros and Greek lemonade! Simon dropped me off nearby while he went to park the car, so I went for a little wander through the Castle Grounds. It all seemed rather sombre under the grey skies, with bare flowerbeds and no visitors! Of course when there aren’t any visitors it’s actually a good time to photograph the castle. Well, I still had my phone. I love this pathway through to the dry moat from the arched underpass. The way it reveals and frames the view up to The Keep is like a little bit of magic. So yes, I did sort of work on my husbands birthday! He understands 😉 I took five images with my Sony Xperia Z5 and the sent them to the cloud so I could merge them and process the scene in Photoshop and Nik Software. I really like how it turned out, matching the mood of the scene that day. We did have a lovely lunch and a family meal out later on, saving Simon from having to do any cooking on his birthday! Exactly as it should be 🙂
My Fotospeed challenge entry this week is of the humble garden spider, araneus diadematus. Our garden is almost overflowing with them at the moment! Fortunately I’m not afraid of spiders, they genuinely fascinate me. I’ve been meaning to try focus stacking for macro images for quite a while now. This spider was in a sheltered spot on the back door, keeping nice and still for me to get close with my 30mm and capture 20 frames, handheld, manually adjusting the focus. I combined the images in Photoshop, using masks to brush away the unfocused areas and reveal much more detail of my subject than I would have been able to capture in a single frame. I have a long way to go to get to where I’d like to be in this area of photography and processing techniques, but I feel like I’ve made a relatively good start. Lots to learn and even more equipment to acquire! Any advice would be gratefully received.
It took time and patience, with all the visitors to RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, to get the four images I needed to create this stitched panorama of The Cottage Garden. This is my favourite time of year in these gardens, which are almost overflowing with soft grasses and flowers. It’s a haven for bees, butterflies, birds and visitors alike. I love the view as you enter through the arches, looking across the water feature and through to the rose garden on the other side. It’s such a warm and welcoming design! The blue skies and a brief return to warmer, summer weather completed this quintessentially English country-garden scene. I’m posting this for the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges this week as well as Blue Monday. I hope it brings you all a bit of sunshine wherever you are in the world!
Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor has taken over hosting Blue Monday in Sally’s memory and we’re all still sharing happy blue images in her honour. Today I’m posting the last of the blue butterflies from the Butterflies in The Glasshouse event at RHS Gardens Wisley. This is a Clipper Blue-Subspecies and I will admit to having worked on this beautiful creature in Photoshop to fix some bad tears in those lovely wings! It was more damaged than I’d realised upon seeing it in the Glasshouse. The camera may tell the truth but the eye only sees the beauty 🙂
I often find that the very scenes that I am photographing inspire me to create changes in their appearance that transform the original to something from my dreams.
Visiting Watts Chapel in Compton is always an inspiration! The chapel was created by Mary Watts, an Art & Crafts potter and sculptor, and her husband George F. Watts, the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor and painter. When I visited at the end of summer I wondered how the chapel would look at night. Here is a gallery of the Chapel’s transition through processing:
A week ago Simon and I went to visit his step-daughter, my friend Sam, in Somerset for the day. We drive right past Stonehenge every time we go to see them. This time I asked Simon if we could briefly stop near the henge so that I could capture a few photos. There’s a dirt road near the site itself that is just about okay to drive down in our car. I managed to capture the stones from a few different angles and this one pleased me the most. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions of the area, the scene was busy with people even though heavy rain was forecast and the skies were very threatening! Those fabulous skies inspired me to add a rainbow to my image. It’s the scene that I dream of seeing for real one day! Until that magic finally happens for me, my imagination will have to do. Here is a gallery showing the scene’s transition through processing: