Pink Mallow

Flowers, Lightroom, Macro, Photoshop

(1/250, f/7.1, ISO 100)

I was given a pink mallow not knowing when I planted it what it is was or would eventually look like. It started to bloom in July and instantly became a bee magnet. When it wasn’t full of insects seeking its pollen, it became a great model for test photography. I used it to learn more about aperture settings, flash use, Lightroom adjustments, and Photoshop editing.

(1/125, f/32, ISO 400)

The mallow produces many clusters of four- or five-petal flowers. It looks decent from distance but the closeups of the individual flowers were more interesting.

(1/125, f/13, ISO 250)

(1/320, f/2.8, ISO 100)

They don’t all unfold like this. In fact this was the only flower I saw that opened up this symmetrically. You probably wouldn’t recognize it as a mallow. I returned later to take more shots but it had already completed its debut.

(1/250, f/5, ISO 100)

(1/250, f/5, ISO 100)

Presence > Clarity > -60

I usually move the clarity to a positive number (20-30), but in the negative numbers, it softens the image and makes it sort of misty.

(1/320, f/5.6, ISO 100)

The shape of the flower and the way the light caught it made this one stand out.

(1/200, f/4, ISO 160)

(1/200, f/22, ISO 4000)

A light rain created small water drops, the ideal effect for the subject. Additional extra effects were produced in Photoshop by Gaussian Blur on the background plus Layer Effects on the flowers to make the glow. ISO 4000 was an issue, so the flowers were rephotographed three hours later using a flash.

(1/200, f/25, ISO 200)

Soft drop shadow and new background color in Photoshop, followed by editing in Lightroom to brighten the center and replace brown spots with off white.

Cluster of three with water drops (1/200, f/22, ISO 200)

The flash on the camera didn’t create very bad shadows of the central parts. One of the advantages of flash besides making the subject brighter is making the background darker. Flash exposure had to be maxed out at 2 on my T5i for the higher apertures (f/22 and f/25); it struggled to get enough light at f/32.

Some of the drop shots were taken in the rain. If you wait too long after it has started raining, the water gets absorbed into the petals, and leaves a dark mark there that weakens the image. Several were removed in Lightroom.

Be There: The Story Behind the Robin Family Photo After First Baby Robin’s First Flight

Birds, Nature, Robins

Date: July 12, 2013
Location: Ontario, Canada

Camera: Canon EOS 30D
Lens: EF100mm/2.8 Macro USM

Exposure: 1/320 at f/2.8
ISO Speed Rating: ISO 400

I didn’t expect to see this, let alone capture it. I didn’t even know both male and female robins share feeding responsibilities.

A robin built a nest on top of the outdoor speaker just outside my back door. I followed the development from nest construction to egg laying, hatching, and feeding of the baby robins. As they grew larger, I decided I wanted to capture a first flight, starting with the moment it took the leap of faith.

One night in July, I watched as a fledgling robin looked agitated and restless in the nest, sitting up near the edge, chirping. I guessed it wanted to leave, so I parked myself nearby, waiting for it to jump and fly.

I waited and waited and waited. But it wouldn’t jump. After 7 pm, I didn’t want to wait any longer, thinking I should try again the next day. But something gave me pause, and I waited longer.

The little bird jumped when I took my eyes off him. My heart sank. I had waited patiently but missed the moment. Even though I didn’t see the jump, and wasn’t ready with my camera, I saw the flight. The robin flapped a lot but moved very slowly. However, it was a smooth flight, so he had a soft landing.

Next he hopped onto the fence.

One parent came over to him with a worm to feed him; and then the second parent arrived, also with a worm, ready to feed him.

At 7:21 pm, we end up with a picture of the baby in the middle, one parent on one side turned towards him with a worm, the other parent on the other side turned towards him, also with a worm.

I don’t know if I could have staged the scene better than it turned out.