May 162014
 

Crabapple Tree ©2014 April Siegfried

Spring has finally arrived in Chicago, after a long and unusually harsh winter.

Yes, these are “flowers”—so difficult to see and photograph in a way that is fresh, that’s not similar to the thousands of images already housed in the data banks of our mind’s eye. Their abundant beauty is so welcome, however, that I can’t help but try to express that experience.

Click on any image above to view large as slide show (with 5 second pause between each.)

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Crabapple Tree
Panasonic DMC-FZ40; 1/25 sec @ f7.1, ISO 100 (handheld);
Focal length: 8.5mm (47mm EFL)

Crabapple Flowers
Nikon D300 ; 1/125 sec (handheld);
AF-S Nikkor 18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 G ED plus
Canon 500D Close-Up Lens

Jun 042013
 

Crabapple Blossoms ©2013 by April Siegfried

When I started practicing Miksang three years ago, we were instructed to “boycott your default position”. Sometimes, however, I just have to capture classic beauty in a traditional way. The light on these flowers was perfect, and the raw file needed very little post-processing. I love when that happens!

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f11, ISO 400 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 240mm (360mm EFL); focus distance 1.78m

Jun 052012
 

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Pretty flowers I couldn’t resist! The violet blossoms in the foreground are campanula, or “Bellflower”.  🙂

Nikon D300; 1/60 sec @ f5.6, ISO 3200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 92mm (138mm EFL); focus distance 2.11m

May 152012
 

Gardenfall №4
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Panasonic DMC-FZ40; f5 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 80 (handheld);
Focal length: 26.8mm (155mm EFL)

Gardenfall №3
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Panasonic DMC-FZ40; f5 @ 1/160sec, ISO 80 (handheld);
Focal length: 26.8mm (155mm EFL)

As in the previous post, these were photographed through a glass “waterfall wall” at our local garden center.

May 132012
 

Gardenfall №1
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Panasonic DMC-FZ40; f4.5 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 100 (handheld);
Focal length: 26.3mm (159mm EFL)

Gardenfall №1
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Panasonic DMC-FZ40; f4 @ 1/125sec, ISO 100 (handheld);
Focal length: 23.8mm (144mm EFL)

Just the other day…I had great fun at our local garden center. These images were photographed through a “wall of water” fountain, capturing flowers in the background. There’s no manipulation involved, other than typical enhancement of the RAW file during post-processing.

At a price of $1,900 we won’t be buying one of those fountains! But maybe I can rig a hose on a storm window in our own garden… 🙂

May 092012
 

Spring Light
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Nikon D300; f11 @ 1/350 sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 220mm (330mm EFL); focus distance 1.68m

Prairie Fire
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Nikon D300; f9.5 @ 1/125sec, ISO 3200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 165mm (247m EFL); focus distance 1.68m

“Dappled light” sounds pretty, doesn’t it? But high contrast and hard shadows have led me to dismiss it in favor of photographing subjects under soft, even lighting…

Until last month, during the Callway Gardens workshop, when a participant opened my eyes to possibilities I’d been ignoring. She was photographing the color and reflections of azaleas along a riverbank, playing with impressionist ripples in the water. What especially struck me, however, was the way she’d been drawn to one particular mound of blossoms spotlit by sunshine through a break in the surrounding trees. Ah-hah.

Thank you, for showing me the light!

Mar 222012
 

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Narcissus, squill, forsythia, azaleas, vinca, tulips, dogwood, magnolias, serviceberry, viburnum and crabapples—all are blooming together in Chicago right now.

“Slow down so we can enjoy it longer,” I wish! Yet this rare spring is incredibly lush.

Nikon D300; f8 @ 1/250 sec, ISO 640 (handheld);
105 mm f/2.8 (157mm EFL); focus distance 1.19m