June 30 — Halfway through my year in flowers

descanso 0428-9104-Edit

Today I’m halfway through my yearlong project documenting flowers through the seasons at Descanso Gardens in La Canada and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.

To my surprise, this was the most-viewed photo out of 134 posts. This California poppy was shot at Descanso Gardens in April. I don’t think I could pick one favorite image, but this photo probably wouldn’t make my top 10, though I had a lot of fun making it. It was an experiment in focus-stacking. I was shooting at 2.8 with my 70-200mm lens, focusing from back to front. With the extremely shallow depth of field, only part of the poppy was in focus in each shot. I stitched multiple images together in Photoshop, using the auto-align and auto-blend functions, to get the flower mostly in focus.

The most surprising thing I’ve learned by going to the gardens every weekend is how much they change from week to week. (I’m not a gardener or especially knowledgeable about flowers.) Every time I go I see new things. I somehow thought that the gardens would look basically the same for longer periods of time, but some plants were done blooming by my next visit. If I had only visited the gardens occasionally, I would have missed seeing some amazing flowers.

I can say I have a deeper appreciation of the beauty of flowers, of their colors, textures and shapes. Making pictures of them has given me the chance to look at them really closely, and spending so much time with them has given me a lot of pleasure.

Thank you all for visiting my blog, I have enjoyed sharing these photos with you.

And here’s a special shout-out to two bloggers who have frequently helped me identify flowers: Kenneth McMillan of Visual Montage and Hard-to-Come-By Lifestyle and Jude of Earth Laughs in Flowers. They both have wonderful blogs and help make WordPress feel like a community.


11 thoughts on “June 30 — Halfway through my year in flowers

  1. [*blush*] thanks for the mention Pat, and thank you for six months of gorgeous flower portraits. I look forward to seeing what beauties you find over the coming six months! Choosing a favourite is never easy, but I must say this one of the Californian poppy is a lovely contender – perhaps try cropping out that foliage on the right hand side?
    Jude xx

  2. Congrats on sticking with it. Half way, huh? Time flies.

    I’m glad that you gave a short tutorial on how you had to stitch these images together. I always wondered how to shoot with a very high depth of field, and still keep the entire subject in focus. Makes sense now. 🙂

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