Lens-Artist Challenge #195: Colorful Expressions

Color! It motivates, depresses, and makes us happy. Marketing companies know the effect color can have on our emotions. Just look how it’s used in print and television ads. Bright colors are usually used to get us to buy—now. More subdued colors are used to relax us and encourage us to come in for that spa treatment. How do you react to these subliminal motivators?

Better yet, how does color affect your photography? How we photograph is reflective of how color motivates us. I like bright bold colors, red being my favorite. In fact, as I write this post, I’m wearing a red blouse. I shy away from pastels, and you’ll never see me wear a soft pink! But, back to photography. My personal preferences are carried forth in what I choose to photograph.

If I see red, I’m going to photograph it. These umbrellas are an example. The umbrellas take up most of the image with a large splash of color. It draws attention and, for me, is exciting.

The canopy below is a much smaller representation of red, but it still caught my eye. It is small and in the background. Even though it’s small, it’s bright enough to pull you into the frame.

A photographed color can be soft and light, creating a sense of calm. Or, it can be bright, demanding our attention. These two flowers are an example of this. The soft pick versus the bright yellow and red. Which suits your mood? I know I said I’m not drawn to pink, but flowers are the exception.

Color can also fill the frame, be solid, or lead us through the frame. The orange pumpkin dominates, leaving me feel excited and wanting to bake pumpkin bread. While the soft yellow on the ground and trees accents the branches and glides us along the pathway, having me feel at peace.

Mother nature often paints her landscapes in duotone so the subject can stand out as does this cypress tree against the blue ocean. I could sit a long time watching the waves crash onto the shore, creating a calmness within me.

Or She paints a beautiful expansive vision of color as these poppies drape the hillside. This wild poppy field left me in awe of nature’s work.

I’m also drawn to rust which has a texture of its own, creating its own colorful patina. I can just feel the age of this wheel and admire its beautiful colors.

Before I close this challenge, I had a bit of color fun by processing selective color. This is the first time I’ve done this. Remember this photo, all that’s left in color are the red umbrellas. If you haven’t processed selective color, give it a try. It is fun!

And then there’s the rare “what is that!”  Sometimes color surprises us. Wouldn’t you stop to take a picture of an old pink barn. Yes, even I did!

This week, show us how color affects your photography. What emotions does it bring to the surface? Which ones are you particularly drawn to? When you create your colorful expression, remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Thank you, Sofia, for last week’s challenge that explained what bokeh is and how we use it as we photograph. We enjoyed seeing all your beautiful responses. Our guest host John RH, of John’s Space, will be presenting next week’s challenge. Be sure to visit his site.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Spring is here: My first roses

I don’t like to garden. However, I did inherit a small rose garden when we bought this house. I do like roses and somehow through their growing season, I get out there and trim them.

This post is short and sweet. Here are pictures of the first roses in my garden this year.

I also inherited a small iris garden which bloomed the first year we moved and nothing since–until now 4 years later. I’ve got two plants blooming. I’m wondering if the rest bloom whether I will get different colors like I saw at Horton’s Iris Garden last week.

I’ll be posting the pictures from Horton’s next week. So get ready for more beauty!

Lens Artists Challenge #194: Bokeh

When I began photography, my first goal was to photograph something with a soft blurry background behind it. I had no idea that was called bokeh. Now Sofia is asking us to show our bokeh images, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing I learned how to do it!

Actually, I love photographing flowers with bokeh.

I don’t do usually portraits, but sometimes I can catch one with a bokeh background. This one, of a dog looking up at someone, happened to be taken at Sutter Creek.

Although this one wasn’t candid, it did end up with a slight bokeh. This was taken of my chiropractor, Heather Rosenberg, DC for her monthly newsletter. If you live near Roseville, CA, she’s the best!

Although I prefer to do close ups with a macro lens, whatever lens you have will work. Sometimes a background ends in bokeh even though you’re not intending it to.

Here I was just trying to capture the changing leaf colors with an 18-55mm lens and ended up with a nice background.

In this photo, I was trying to get underneath the mushroom to capture its folds and details with my 18-55mm. (I was too lazy to go back to the car for my macro lens.) Again, I ended up with a nice bokeh.

Sofia mentioned bokeh having a speckled look. I’ve found that water lends itself to that. I think I’ve shown this leaf before. I took the picture after the garden was watered and the drops gave the image a great speckled look.

Sometimes I carry a water bottle with me sprinkle the flowers before I photograph them to get a speckled effect. I didn’t have to do that with this image.

Thank you Sofia for a fun challenge that is dear to me. Again, I love closeup and macro photography. Thanks again to John for inviting us to celebrate his birthday with him last week. I will be leading next week’s challenge. Remember to link Sophia’s challenge to your reply post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #189: Odds and Ends

This challenge is a challenge for me because I don’t typically keep photos that don’t make it into my blog posts. Maybe I’m too good of a housekeeper! But, I do have one, only because I did a post, forgetting that I hadn’t finished editing. So for Tina’s challenge this week, here is a macro image of an orchid from Green Acres Nursery.

And I did find this one of a flamingo’s rear that I don’t think made it into a Sacramento Zoo post. Let’s just call it “art!”

And here are some true odds and ends I did find in my archives. First the lumber jack from the LumberJacks restaurant and a metal chicken sculpture nearby. These were taken while out with my friend Marlene. We were looking for a metal horse sculpture. Never found it.

I must include these photos from 2020 just before the pandemic hit because I haven’t been able to get good photographs of almond blossom trees since. In 2021 we had a BIG wind storm before we were supposed to go out to photograph an orchard, and all the blossoms were blown off the trees. This year we were one week too late.

I’ll end with an iris from my garden. The plant bloomed one year in 2020 and never again!

Thanks Tina, from now on I’ll leave some Odds and Ends as I process.

Thank you all for participating in Karina’s (Murtagh’s Meadows) Special Places challenge last week. It was interesting to visit your special places. Next week Patti will host the challenge.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

In need of photo penicillin: Green Acres Nursery

I’ve not been feeling well, but I wanted to get our with my camera. Where to go that’s close? Maybe somewhere I can do macro photography. Of course, Green Acres Nursery in Citrus Heights! And it’s about 10 minutes from my home. I met Marlene there and we set out for some photo penicillin.

I like this particular Green Acres because their flowers are under shade and easier to photograph. We stayed about an hour and then went out for lunch. A short but sweet visit. Here are some images from that trip.

It’s great to have such a wonderful garden nursery nearby that allows photographers to take photos. Thanks Green Acres!

In search of red buds: U.C. Davis Arboretum

Sometimes the spirit is more willing than Mother Nature wants to give us. Recently Laura and I went to the U.C. Davis Arboretum, in Davis, to photograph the red buds and the wildlife it attracts. Yes, our spirits were willing to take the images, but there were hardly any red buds and birds. We did find some.

I’m guessing there might be more now. But we did find some nice scenery. I had my 55 – 200 mm lens on my Fujifilm XT3 so I did a lot of stepping back for some of these landscape shots.

We did come across a group of cormorants sitting on the shore of the creek. I focused on this one.

And, I couldn’t resist photographing flowers and more in close up.

When I needed to rest, Laura went further while I sat on a bench and people (and dog) watched.

So, our red bud search gave us a beautiful walk and a lot of photo opportunities even if we didn’t see many red buds on the trees.

Lens Artists Challenge #162: It’s all about the light

While I would like to take photos when the light is just right, sometimes I can’t. Then I go with what I’ve got! Yes, photography is all about the light or maybe the absence of it. This week, Tina has given us the challenge to share images that show the power of light.

I’ll start this post with a shot from Yosemite at first light in the Valley.

As the sun rises throughout the day, we get shadows depending on how high the sun is. Of course, when it’s directly overhead, that’s not the best time to take photos. The next two were taken in Locke California in the partial morning sun.

We can see how colors become dramatic when the sun hits them. Sedona, Arizona.

I think when the sun shines on even a mushroom it adds dimension and helps the picture pop. Here are two examples of sun and shade.

I love to take photos of flowers. This tulip almost looks as if it has a candle glowing inside because of the way the sun is hitting it. Taken at Ananda Village.

As the sun sets objects seem to have a glow. Taken at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert.

And finally the sun goes below the horizon and we have darkness–no light except man made. The Tower Bridge in Old Sacramento.

Controlling the light is another challenge for me. I bought diffusers, but haven’t used them yet. I guess I need to get started! Thanks Tina for this insightful challenge!

Macro practice: Green Acres Nursery

If you want to photograph macro, go to your local nursery. Most owners don’t mind you walking around with your camera. So, whenever I want to take my macro lens out and aim it at flowers, I go to Green Acres Nursery. And they recently opened a new nursery in Citrus Heights not far from where I live.

If that wasn’t enough incentive, Ray wanted to practice with his new lens that does macro images. So off we went. I was more than pleased. Not only did I find a great spinner for my front yard, the flowers were under a net covering so they were not getting direct sunlight! Wonderful!!

In addition to flowers, plants and trees, they have many yard ornaments, fountains and other garden supplies.

We had a nice morning photographing beauty. We will be back!

Lens Artists Challenge #156: Black and White

I am delighted to be your guest host for this week’s LAPC. Thank you John for getting us into/onto the water last week.

As much as I enjoy photographing water, I also love black and white photography! I don’t process a lot of it, but when I do I enjoy the texture and depth it gives a scene. It reaches a place in your soul that color can’t. Some images cry out for black and white.

This post is not a “how to” or history lesson, but a vehicle to get you excited about processing in black and white. As photographers, we all have our own unique way of doing that. Some shoot in black and white while others shoot in color and process in black and white.

I’ve watched many videos and attended workshops on black and white photography only to realize there is no set way to create a good black and white image. I have, however, settled on a workflow that produces the results I like. This is my workflow.

First, I always shoot in RAW and in color. That gives me more flexibility and more tonal range to work with. Very rarely do I see the image in black and white before I shoot it. I mostly see color until I get it into Lightroom.

This fog landscape I saw in black and white as I shot it. One of my rare moments.

Once I get my images into Lightroom, I process them in color. If I see an image with a lot of contrast, texture, and tonal quality, I finish the color processing and then look at it in black and white in Lightroom. If I see a possibility for a good black and white, I transfer the color image into Nik Silver Efex. This is where the fun begins.

Here’s a lily in color and black and white. Look at how the various colors, contrast and lighting transfer in tonal quality to the black and white.

Although Photoshop and Lightroom have improved in their ability to process black and white, I still prefer Nik’s Silver Efex. I guess I’m just used to it and I like their presets. Better yet, I need their presets! I’m not an artist. I choose a preset and work on it from there. Nik also has the ability to use more than one preset on a single image. You can use the control points to dodge and burn (darken and lighten). I rarely do this but work more with the contrast and tone of the image. If you like different film effects, there are many film types and tones from which you can choose. Honestly, I don’t change film types but, sometimes, will give an image a different tone color.

This is the color version of Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. A foggy day and not much color.

The same image processed in black and white. Adding texture and contrast, created a more inviting image.

While in Silver Efex you can also add texture and do other editing that I prefer to do in Lightroom.

Sometimes the venue calls for black and white photography. One of my earlier black and white images taken while at Bodie a ghost town in Northeastern California.

Here’s another where I think the black and white conversion accents the splash of the wave on the platform. Taken in Pacifica.

Once I’m done in Silver Efex, I then export the image back into Lightroom for the finishing touches. I sometimes continue working on the contrast and light. I love how Lightroom’s tone curve helps with that. For me I like images to have some “pop!”

Also figures in shadow are accented in black and white. This image was taken at the Marin Headlands during one of my first Meetup outings.

Back to the present, my latest black and white conversion is a lotus in the William Land Park pond. It’s beautiful in color, but how do you feel (Yes, feel it not think it!) about it in black and white? For me, the curves, contrast and lighting are accented.

So, this is my method for processing an image to black and white. I’m sure you have your own workflow for black and white photography, and I’d like to know what it is and see your images. This week’s challenge invites you to dig through your archives for black and white images or process color images in black and white. You can also take new pictures and process them in black and white.

As you post them, please explain how you processed them. This will help all of us learn new ways of doing what we’ve been doing for a long time. I hope you are now ready to see the black and white possibilities as you shoot and/or process.

Thank you, Tina, Amy, Ann-Christine and Patti, for giving me this opportunity. I do appreciate it!

Remember to link this post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week’s challenge will be presented by Rusha Sams of Oh The Places We See: Getting Away.

She will be followed by:

July 24: Beth Smith of Wandering Dawgs: TBD

July 31: Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery: Postcards