Death in the Summer

Death of the Bird

It had been my plan to do a tutorial today, but I was having a hard time working out what I was going to do, and time is short today.  I have to do a few things.  I went out this morning, and I was going to buy some flowers and photograph them, but nothing caught my eye.  Then as I was coming back into my drive, I saw the Bird of Paradise plant and noticed that all the flowers on it were all dead.  They are all drying up, so I thought I might do those.

You can see the one up there.  I still love how they look after they have died.  When you look at them closely there seems to be so much more detail and so much more to them than there is when they first open.  I should try photographing them one day when they have just opened.

The flower takes on another meaning with the black backdrop and I can’t help thinking that it reminds me of something in the deep depths of the sea that you get to see when someone sends something down to photograph them.

Death of the Bird - Color EfexThis has been processed in Color Efex and was put into it twice so I could use two different presets.  I like the softness of it and the colours.  The sepia tones have given it another feeling from the first.

Death of a Bird - Silver EfexSilver Efex was used to give it black and white tonings.  I changed the structure quite a bit and tried to make it less harsh.

I have picked some others and had planned on photographing them all, but with all the hot weather we have been having I have had to pull down the awning on the outside of the house and the house has become quite dark.  I might have to wait to do some still lifes like these once the summer has passed.  The Australian light in summer can be so harsh, so it is best to be careful with photography at this time of the year.


I have been thinking of starting a newsletter for people to subscribe to, there will be a small subscription fee for it.  It will start fairly soon.  I just need to iron out some details, the newsletter will have more information, more tutorials and hopefully people who want to learn about photography will get a lot more out of them.  I hope some of you will consider subscribing to it.


      • J Riley Johnson says

        Same here. I even went so far as to think you had accidentally posted the wrong shots. But I love that kind of art. It’s great to look, see one thing – then realize you’ve missed the important stuff. Great photos.

      • It seems everyone, including myself, thought this was a bug. When I saw the post, I was like what kind of weird bug is that. It looks like a bug you would find in a sci-fi movie :lol:

  1. I love these images–very abstract. And I really appreciate your explanations of how you are processing your photos–it really helps me a lot–thank you!

  2. gailkav says

    These are stunning images – but sadly all my plants are dying from the heat!

  3. When I first saw it I thought it was a bug and I freaked out, because I’m a whimp lol! I was so much happier when I noticed it was a flower haha! I love the dead flower shots you post :-) I will definitely subscribe to you’re newspaper :-)

    • Thanks Amanda, it is a strange image, I think the thing that makes it weirder is that the flower sort of turned upside down as it was dying. :) I am hoping it will start next month.

  4. I love images like this showing beauty in every stage of a plants life. I thought it was a cricket to begin with…only for a second! : )

  5. janeggg says

    love the first one the most! How lovely your photography is! I brought a cannon last feb (first real camera) as i visited the Ukraine to stay in an institution with orphans with sn and wanted to document my time to help these children, but i am still so clueless! thank you so much for stopping by, i am now following. xxxx

  6. That’s kinda cool~ You’re right that there’s a lot of complexity to it. I can imagine that there are things inside the flower that you can’t really see or appreciate until the flower is wilted and falling apart.

    It kinda almost looks like the husk of an insect.

  7. Yes, I can see the deep-sea creature there, (and also a flea, I think) – beautiful shot and treatment, Leanne.

  8. Hi Leanne,
    That is quite a plant. Sometimes dried flowers are the best! At first I thought it was an injured bird – silly early morning eyes!!! I think I like the first one best this time. The black and white on the black background is harder for me to process. I’m looking forward to your newsletter!!! :)

  9. These are so very GORGEOUS, Leanne–but then, you know I see an awful lot of beauty in drying/dying flowers! Love the details and textures…and the ‘force’ of the B/W versus the ‘tenderness’ of the sepia–ALL very worthy of being printed LARGE, framed simply, and hung in a gallery!

    KUDOS on this one…yet, it is a shame it’s been so hot and dry there that these beautiful ‘Birds’ are dying a premature death. It must be wonderful to be able to see them growing outdoors, as Nature intended, not in a Conservatory under glass!

    • They actually died quite some time ago. I just picked them now. They are a lovely plant and they can get quite large. I will have to remember to photograph them flowering next spring.

  10. I think the newsletters a great idea. Hopefully you’ll have tutorials and programs we might consider getting or how to find them. I never would have thought to photograph this. How do you make the background totally black? I’m sure it’s something simple, but it would be nice to know how to control the background color. Love your work Leanne… I can’t decide which I like better, the sepia or the black and white. they both give such different feelings. :D

    • Thanks Keli, I hope people will do the newsletter. All my tutorials will be on it once I start. It will be like the learning part of the blog.
      The background was done with layers, I did do a tutorial on it once.

  11. love this Leanne…I’m a huge fan of life in every form…I particularly love the silhouette of trees once they have lost their leaves, I find something so appealing about the trees this way…you can see all the scraggly, gnarled, mangled branches reaching who knows where….
    keep cool…I’ve another friend in Australia and she has also mentioned the difficulty with the intense heat!
    a newsletter would be great…I’ll watch for it!

  12. Interesting how your viewers have read into the image aspects you probably didn’t intend. I’m always amazed how once a photographer lets an image go it takes on a life of its own.

  13. You really did something fabulous with that flower. I’ve only seen one of those flowers in real life when I was on a trip to California, I seen it and immediately knew what it was even though we never have any of those in my area. I’m learning so much from you already and I will definitely subscribe to your newsletter, make sure to post about it so we see it. Have a wonderful day

    • They are everywhere here, a lot of people have them in their gardens. I have two.
      I will post about it, I just need to start sorting stuff out, it should be ready next month.

  14. Amazing – like the rest I thought it was a insect too – fantastic photos both them – you have made death soft and gentle here. Bird of Paradise is a colorful and stunning flower.

  15. Leanne: I always appreciate your stopping by Elm Drive Images and the fact that you follow me. Your images are always, spot on!

  16. Like others, at first, I thought this was a close-up of a bug. Another cool capture and treatment. May be you should let us guess next time. I’m sure we can come up with some good guesses.

  17. Yup … I agree with many folks have already observed … I thought it was a mosquito at first! I guess I don’t have a very good knowledge of what a Bird of Paradise plant looks like. Also … what is the future of this blog site once the newletter begins? Is this the beginning of the end Leanne Cole Photography @ WordPress ? I hope not!

    • That is an interesting question Dave, I love doing this blog, but it does take up a lot of my time, and my husband wants us to pay of our mortgage so he can retire one day. That is fair enough. So my options, I can go out and just get a job, or I can try and make this blog earn enough for me, along with other photography jobs, which will allow me to continue it. I haven’t decided exactly how things will work, I probably will continue showing my images and talking about how I process them, as you are all used to. The newsletter will be more of a teaching tool. So in depth tutorials, reviews, access to the video tutorials, that sort of thing. Though,having said that, nothing I try seems to work, so the newsletter will probably be another fizzer, am I allowed to say that? So if it is, then the blog is bound to change regardless. If I have to go and work in a normal job, then I won’t have the time for it. It will suffer. I hope that answers your question, but nothing has been decided yet.

  18. Hi Leanne, the first ting I would do is pray about the job situation and tell God what you need, then let Him do it and provide for you, however that may be. After all, the “hows” are His business…the fact that you are showing the beauty of the world that He has created through your photography is reason enough for Him to provide you with paying jobs; after all, you are glorifying Him by doing so.
    The image, being an abstract image, certainly captured everyone’s attention so you were successful in creating impact. The sepia toned image was the one I really liked and yes, I felt it could be an image from the deep.
    Since I am new to blogging, I look into various blogs by photographers to get new insights into how they view the world. It is a wonderful thing that you are a photographer who shares knowledge with others freely. After all, we are all here to help each other. Kudos to you for sharing so others can learn and improve their skills. Keep the faith and keep photographing! Your work is beautiful!

  19. The Bird of Paradise flowers morph into the most beautiful, odd and exciting shapes as they decay. No two are alike. When the seeds develop they become even stranger. Your photos are a tribute to them!

  20. very unique thing to think about.and very well covered in this article…thanks for liking my post..I really appreciate it…

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