Thanks for all of the nice compliments on the photos I shared yesterday. My husband is the gardener - I occasionally do a little outdoor work but the garden is his domain! First, I asked him to identify the flowers in the photos.
|Daphne "Carol Mackie"|
|Dwarf Fothergilla "Bottle Brush"|
|??? Yellow Flower "volunteer" that just grew!|
Here is one view of the side yard. We have a fairly steep slope between our house and our neighbor and there is a short retaining wall. The entire slope is planted with perennials and shrubs.
A number of people asked about the camera I use. I have a nearly five year old Nikon D40. I use the "kit lens" (18-55mm) and I usually am lazy and just leave it on automatic. Sometimes I use the "close up" setting (the one that looks like a little flower) and I turn off the flash for nearly all of my photos. I think this is a great camera - it was the "starter" DSLR camera in the Nikon line when I bought it.
I took this photo back in 2007, a week or two after I bought the camera. I got as close as I could and there was bright sunlight in the garden when we were visiting our old town of Chatham, New Jersey.
The program also has some special functions for scrapbookers. I can record the story behind a photo (up to 5,000 characters) and keep it associated with the photo. It also will let me plan out an album and resize my photos to fit several types of albums. I can even create custom journaling boxes within the program.
The original of each photo is preserved no matter how many edits I make and I can tag a photo and place it in many folders without duplicating the photo and taking up too much space on my computer. I can also sort very quickly to find all of the photos with certain combinations of people (father with both sons, kids with grandparents, etc.).
Back to the photo editing...
Here is the image of the bleeding heart straight from the camera. I try to take photos from an angle that gives a nice viewpoint - I moved a bit to be sure that the second flower would show as a full heart with at least a touch of green at the edges. For my blog, I generally change the images to squares by cropping.
You can make a lot of photos more interesting with careful cropping.
I also make some color adjustments, sharpen the photo if it seems slightly fuzzy and sometimes increase the saturation of the colors to make the image more dramatic. The "go back" button (undo) is a big help as you try different edits to create the final image that you like the best.
Here are a few more examples - photo of a rhododendron - before...
...and after cropping and editing.
A very close crop can be very dramatic.
One more - before...
The other tip I have is to take lots and lots of photos. One of my favorite things about digital photography is that I can take dozens of photos and reject all but a few at no cost (after the initial purchase of the memory card). Someone mentioned that the breeze always moves her flowers when she tries to photograph them. I have a "sport mode" on my camera that allows me to keep the shutter release button pressed down and take multiple photos. One of them usually will catch the subject clearly even if a lot of the photos are blurry.
Sometimes you can hold the stem of the flower with one hand and shoot the photo with the other - a helper might be a better idea.
Some people feel that an image that has been manipulated is not "as good" as a great shot straight from the camera that has not been edited. I think if you have tools that help you make your photos look better - you should use them!
If you'd like me to do a more detailed post showing all of the steps I take in editing a photo, just let me know. In the meanwhile, I have lots of new crafty projects to share this week.
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