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Posts tagged ‘Bird of Paradise’

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.

No Longer Alive

It’s Wednesday and I usually do a still life of some sort.  I try to get my daughter to bake something and then use it in a still life of some sort, but today I thought I would try something different.

I spent the morning painting a canvas.  I use the canvas normally in its white state as a backdrop for my still life’s, but I really don’t like the stark white of the canvas.  So I took the canvas out to my studio and painted it.  I think it looks so much better and was exactly what I needed for todays subject.

I picked some flowers from the garden that are definitely past their use by dates.  Some would say past their attractiveness.  I, however, disagree with those people and think the flowers from my Bird of Paradise look even more extraordinary when they have dried out.

For you today some photos that I took with my new backdrop and my dead bird of paradise flowers.  The image above is a straight image, and one of the first I took.  I wanted to restrict the light quite a bit, so I set up the still life so the light was coming from the right and sort of from behind. I also opened up the aperture to give it a smaller depth of field.  With this first image I think the flower was too close to the backdrop and so I got too much detail from it.

I moved it further away and took several shots, I stayed with the open aperture again.  I took a series of bracketed shots so I could merge them for a HDR image.  This is the result.  I quite like these.

This image is basically the same as the one before but I zoomed in more.  You can see more detail and the flower fills the frame more.

This one is quite strange, it is like the feathers/petals have gone crazy and gone in every direction.    Very wild bird of paradise flower.  I love it.   Check out the next image.

I like this one, I like the wildness of it.  I also like the first one.  I am really happy with how my backdrop turned out as well.  I have another canvas, so I think I will paint that one as well, but in different colours for different still life paintings.

Moving the object further away from the background really worked here, and I have to keep remembering that I need to do that.  I also think I should remember to shorten my depth of field more often and really pin point what my centre of focus really is.

Beauty in Death

The Bird of Paradise has flowered and now the flowers start a new type of beauty.  They die, shrivel,  yet they remain beautiful.

This is the first year this plant has flowered, and now that time has passed.

As one flower has died, another behind is still looking beautiful, though will join the death cycle soon.

I love Birds of Paradise, and I love them before they flower, as they flower and after they die.  They are such a beautiful, graceful plant.