California poppies

This year the California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) have been particularly striking. We have had a hot dry May, which seems to have encouraged a range of glorious yellows, oranges, reds and dusky pinks.

The emphasis in this set of images is on colour, and range of tones between yellow and red. Most of the images make use of Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). I set the flowers in a tall glass of water against a plain white background. I used an ISO of 160, apertures between f11 and f18 and exposures in the range 1.3–2 seconds. The photographs were made indoors and in natural window light, which I controlled by opening and closing the curtains. In this way I could control the amount of light entering the room and did not have to change the camera settings too much.

For this kind of image it is easier to compose using the rear screen. I made about 150 images from which I selected these twelve. I did the usual post production work in Lightroom. In some cases I enhanced detail and colour in Photoshop. I duplicated the background layer and then used different blend options: overlay, hard light, or soft light. For a few of the images I also edited in Nik Collection Color Efex Pro 4 Detail Extractor.

My intention was to avoid straightforward still life style images (although the sequence begins with a ‘straight’ picture of this type). Instead I wanted to celebrate the range of colours these beautiful flowers offer us in summer.

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