Techniques for Blooming, Young, Photographers

Rigg The Game In Your Favor!

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You can’t improve upon perfection.  The only thing you CAN do, is accentuate features…  These Pansies are from Leslie’s garden.  That’s usless to you.  What you do need to know, is that all of her flowers are in pots!  That means I can transport them from outside, to inside, on a table near a window, to catch some outside light.  There, the plant is free from the swaying effect that wind can have on flowers.

If you’re taking a macro shot like the one above, any movement is greatly magnified, often resulting in blurry images.  Too much color can be bad for jpgs. over time, causing uneven, and unsightly discoloration.  In the case of flowers, the field is shallow, so depth of field is not so important.  This is an excellent opportunity to use: ‘contrast’ to bring out color instead!  I sometimes use a little spray bottle before I take the shot, to add interest.  Perks up the flower too!  And since pansies are small, and the droplets are big, they make a good candidate for that: ‘Fresh rain’ feeling…

Go for Lens Effects!

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Here are some pansies, using a 24 mm wide angle lens from about 5 feet away…

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Look at what happens to the perspective when you are only 1 foot away…  All proportions are exaggerated!  Now, they look like an angry mob!  Even if you’re out standing in your field because: ‘There’s a Nuke Hid in Town!’, if you love what you’re doing, and are willing to experiment, the results are bound to be good! 

A Labor of Love:

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You would not believe how small this flower is.  However, at full size, the picture is a foot by a foot and a half.  So this little guy looks enormous at that size.  And it came covered in dirt specs less than a pin head in size, so quite invisable in the sun: where I was standing when I took this shot.

All you can do, is find the larges clear spot, and adjust your clone tool to that size, and start clicking away…  It took me a full hour to get it all!  I look at it this way.  Though the task seems enormous, with patience, it can be accomplished!  Some of the others were just as bad.  Like I always say: ‘It’s what you don’t see that brings on the perfection flowers so richly deserve! 

See how this leaves a clear space on the left for peoples icons: a good idea to keep in mind, if you like desktop pictures.  Some peole do and some don’t.  So, once in a while is all that’s necessary.  These shots would all still be clear at 18″ x 24″.  If you intend to make any hard copies, be sure and convert the file from RGB to CMYK.

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Here’s the orchid from afar…  Beautiful isn’t it?  Orchids are very fussy and hard to grow!  Most people just over water them and they die from root rot.  You should water them once every three weeks, give them indirect sun, and never spray them!  This does well as an indoor plant.  Expensive though.  This one cost me $22, plus thumb tax!

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Be sure and view all these at full size!  They are perfect macros: I’m using a half life size, Canon 50 mm. lens in conjuction with tubing, to give me up to twice life size, which is pretty close!  I prefere tubbing because having no added glass between you and your subject, hence means, no degregation in quality.  Enjoy!

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Playing with Fractals

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Fractals aren’t what they used to be.  I imagined the old, ‘Mandelbrot’ images of spiraling flower shapes of long ago.  They were very colorful, but boring because no matter how far you’s submerge into the Mandelbrot matrix, everything looked basically the same.  So I was given to wonder how and if things had changed from 20 years ago?  I was not disappointed!

I will show you now, not only where to get a free generator for making all different kinds of fractals, but where to get a mirror filter for any CS virgin of Photoshop that will produce beautiful spiral renditions of the results.  The fractal program is called ‘ChaosPro’ and is the best one you can get for free…  I did check the others out…  Here is the address for that:

http://www.chaospro.de/download.php?PHPSESSID=85cf912fbf28523a7acce647f2b2f2ea

Not only can you get resolution specific fractals for printing, but you can make them any size you want.  Though I’ll warn you in advance, high precision fractals take a long time to render, even using a lot of ram!  I have 8 gigs of ram and a 1024 x 768, high resolution picture takes about 20 minutes.  That’s why, to save you the time, I have provided a Gallery having done all the work for you.  If you want a big one to frame however, you’ll have to get the program.  It has a ‘custom’ size box for bigger renditions.  Also, you can zoom in to any portion of the image, making an already versatile program even more so!  Here are just a few examples of what you can do…

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You can use any of these any way you’d like…  It’s much more fun to go get the filter though because you can use it on any idea you can come up with…  Here’s where you may retrieve that:

http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/kaleidoscope.htm

Choose the filter: ‘Kaleidoscope 2.1’…  To add the filters, unzip them to the ‘Filters’ folder under ‘Plugins’, where Photoshop is situated on your drive. The filter will be in the: ‘Mehdi’ fly-out, under your ‘Filters’ menu.  There were a few other filters I found useful from that page.  They are: Julia-world, Gradient-smithy, Melt, Sorting Tiles, Wavy Lab and Weaver.  Follow the same procedure to use those.  I don’t have to unzip them on my computer.  I can just drop them in the appropriate spot from the folder they come in.  Have fun!  They’re a real hoot!

Foot Note (with extra toes):  To save a file at its original size, just pause the slide-show at the file you like, right click it and choose: ‘save as’ from the context menu.  I guess I should have saved the Gallery as a media file instead of an attachment page, so you could view them at their original size.  More mind blowing that way.  Oh well…  You still get the picture :O)

Finding The Bee

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Will you stop moving around?

It’s when things go wrong that you go home and think.  In this case, I was already at home,  so I didn’t have to go far.  These are all pictures of Leslie’s Garden.  And she tends to it meticulously, every day, spraying the leaves, moving the ones out of the sun that don’t do well there, even though the stupid tag says they do great in the sun.  OH YOU!!!  Well anyway, this stupid bee (actually, there were a pair of stupid bees), wouldn’t stand still and pose for my picture!  I took about 10 pictures, and in each and every one, the flowers were clear, yet the bee was always blurry.  Why?  It moves in all directions, like a helicopter; very unpredictable flight patterns.  I’d need a tracking device of some kind, just to keep up with one!  Even when they landed, they didn’t stop moving!

So what’s the problem white man?

Nothing I tried worked.  That’s the problem!  I opened the lens, I upped The ISO!  I set the silly thing for 8000th. of a sec.  I tried focusing manually.  I even ask God for a freak of nature!  There is one where the bee is partially hidden, yet the focus was almost clear.  If you belittle the file to your screen size, I’m sure it will come out clear; use bicubic reduction and choose sharpen.  You’ll know it when you see it…  It kind of figures because I have a portrait camera.  And what do you tell people to do when taking pictures of their portrait?  Run around the room?  Of corpse not!  We tell them not to move, and to try not to look frightened,  LOL!  Still, I should be able to get a clear picture of a bee if pocket cameras can do it.  It’s got to be in the settings somewhere.  I must research this one a widow further…

Where did all our bees go?

Apparently, there was some kind of virus that infected nearly all our cultured bee hives in North America.  The bee population was nearly wiped out!  That would be bad;  bees don’t just give us honey and wax.  They pollinate approx. one-third of all our crops!  This would cause a severe shortage of many foods we enjoy today!  So help the bee; plant lots of different varieties of flowers (Set up a hive in your living room why don’t you?) and research what’s being done about the problem today.  I have an obvious contusion that bee keepers are not cleaning the hives well enough.  Two new queens don’t always battle for supremacy of the hive.  Sometimes, when the old Queen dies, they relocate and build a new hive somewhere else.  Are they aware of something we’re not…  Anyway, support your local bee…

What else can we do?

Blow smoke on them until they get drowsy.  Then, stick them on balsa wood planes, with crazy glue and give them a better sucking apparatus for storing extra nectar, and build them some tiny airports with luxury Hotels…  Shape them like connected pentagrams.  They’ll love it…  Give them tiny brooms for better house cleaning and arm them with real machine guns to better protect their communities…  LOL!  Here’s our garden: