02/2/17
spring and roses

Spring and Roses Are Coming

Spring and Roses Are Coming!

Spring and roses are coming, as this current warm spell reminds us. Although it is tempting to prune roses now, it is far too early. However, this is a great time to do some clean-up in the garden. The last cooler spell, along with the wind, removed most of the remaining leaves on my rose bushes. I can see crossing canes better now, and ones that need to be removed. I did a lot of that yesterday, but not pruning.

While waiting for this year’s roses, as well as other flowers and plants, I’m going to share some from prior years. I’m ready for spring:

spring and roses

Ambridge Rose, a David Austin Shrub Rose

spring and roses

Miniature rose, ‘Climbing Earthquake’

spring and roses

Old Garden Rose, Hybrid bracteata 1918
Mermaid

spring and roses

Miniature Rose ‘Marriotta.’

spring and roses

Rose ‘Gold Medal’ with Hair Streak Butterfly. Winner of the Judges Class, 2015 ARS American Rose Photography Competition.

I had multiple winners in the 2014 Fall National, but I’ll show two here, Queen and King.

spring and roses

Spray of ‘Dream Weaver,’ Queen of Show in Photography at the 2014 ARS Fall National

Spring and roses

“Gemini” – Creative Interpretation
King of Show in Photography, ARS 2014 Fall National Convention
Best of Show in Photography, Albuquerque Spring 2014 Rose Show

For those of you planning to enter photographs in ARS sanctioned rose shows with the requirement for images matted and mounted to 11×14 specifications, I have prepared a short “how to do it inexpensively and quickly” in Kindle format, which can be read on any device with the free Kindle app. It costs $0.99, the lowest price Amazon would allow me to offer it.

I’m looking forward to Spring and Roses!

09/9/16

Rose Blooms Not of Exhibition Quality

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Rose Photography for Rose Shows

Rose Blooms Not of Exhibition Quality – Can Photographers Do Anything with Them?

rose blooms

Great Form! Major color faults and not disbudded!

Rose blooms of less than exhibition quality sometimes have some features that photographers enjoy and/or find challenging. Photographs of such rose blooms are not a problem outside of ARS (American Rose Society) shows. However, in the horticultural photography classes in ARS shows, photographs of imperfect specimens are no more welcome than the actual specimen would be. Does this mean the photographer should just “walk on by” and not “stop to smell the roses?” Each person has to answer that question for him/herself. I would like to suggest some ways to enjoy these roses, and perhaps also create an image people enjoy and can be entered in ARS shows.

First and foremost, photographing any and all rose blooms is one way to work on photography skills. You can try different camera settings, explore different lighting conditions, learn if you personally prefer photographing cut specimens or specimens growing in the garden. For entry in ARS shows, all specimens must be outdoor garden grown. Photographs for shows may be of either cut specimens or specimens still growing in the garden. The more you photograph roses, the better you will become as a photographer and the more you will know your own preferences. You will develop your own “style.” Other people may recognize it before you do.

First Example

ARS members may access the Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography here.

One Class is

One Spray: Two or more blooms, any type of rose of Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, Miniature, Miniflora, or
Floribunda classifications of roses. This class does NOT include collections.

Photography judges not infrequently encounter collections of roses, rather than sprays. When detected, these are not judged.

When I plan to show a photograph of a rose spray, I usually try to show the origin of the entire spray. That is personal preference and certainly not required. For illustration, this is a spray of ‘Dream Weaver.’

Spray of Rose Dream Weaver

Spray of ‘Dream Weaver’

Not too long ago I was photographing Veterans’ Honor. At first glance, what I took to be a spray, turned out to be a spray of two blooms and a stem with one bloom. I liked the flow and the rhythm of the collection but could not enter it as a “Spray.”

One of my favorite Classes is

Creative Interpretation
The photograph should evoke a sense of originality and a new and different way of imagining the rose or roses with the mind’s eye. This may include processes used to alter the original image such as colorizing, texturing, dodging, burning, dithering, painting, shadowing, blurring, layering, cloning, filtering, merging, cropping. Color, Black & White, Sepia, or combinations of these are permitted in this class. Photo enhancement software is permitted in this class.

In this class, pretty much anything goes, which is one reason I like it. The collection of Veterans’ Honor could be shown in this class, no problem. My personal preference in my own work is to try to maintain the beauty of the rose when I make alterations using software. That is by no means a requirement for this class, but it is what I personally try to do.

I decided to create a black and white image. Those of you who work with digital black and white know that there is no single “Black and White.” I wanted something soft and gentle, almost with an old fashioned look. Although the roses may appear to be in a vase, I photographed them on the bush, growing close to the back wall of my house. I was satisfied with the outcome.

rose blooms

A Collection, Not a Spray

Second Example

Another Class is

One bloom.
One bloom, no side buds, of Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, Miniature, Miniflora, or Floribunda classifications of roses.

These are the exhibition form roses people tend to think of when they think of “rose.” Judges have specific guidelines for judging specimens in the horticultural portion of a rose show, and those same judging points count for 40% of the score of a photograph of one bloom of a rose. Form is extremely important in this class. This is a rose with great form, but it has just a few problems. 🙂

Roses are on the market that are visually similar to the one at the top of this post. However, this bloom should be solid red. The pink/white is a color fault, a major color fault. Judges would severely penalize this bloom. As if that were not enough, this rose has not been disbudded. You can clearly see the side bud in the lower left. The color fault and side bud are the two biggest problems here, but some judges would also deduct points for the rain drops. Rain drops personally do not bother me, but knowing how some judges view them, I tend not to enter in ARS shows images of roses with rain drops on them. In spite of all of those problems, it is a beautiful rose with great form. But, you wouldn’t show the specimen in a rose show, and if you want to show it photographically, you need to get a little creative.

As I have mentioned before, I am not fond of one-click photo editing filters that detract from the beauty of the rose. Creative Interpretation is the only class in which this image could be entered. But, I would have to change it in some way.

I spent a significant amount of time working with this image to achieve an effect I liked. I settled on this crimson/silver, which made the raindrops look like ice. This may be my Christmas card.

rose blooms

Digitally Altered for Creative Interpretation Class

Summary

If you see something visually interesting in a rose that you ordinarily would not enter as a specimen in a rose show, photograph what you find visually interesting. Then consider what you can do with it to be able to share it with others. The Creative Interpretation class allows plenty of options for showing the beauty in a bloom or rose blooms that otherwise might never be seen.

Post Script

Will I show these images as entries in a rose show? Probably not, given that I am showing them here for teaching and illustration purposes. But I would like to add that when working with rose images, I nearly always begin by cropping the digital image from the most usual digital camera ratio of 3:2 to a ratio for an 8×10 print, a 5:4 ratio. Prints ranging from 5×7 up to 8×10 are allowed by the Guidelines. For me, the 8×10 is large enough for the details to be seen the way I like for them to be seen.

Additionally, as I have pointed out previously, mounting and matting per the requirements of the Guidelines can be done by purchasing sets for this purpose in multiples of ten or more. These are available in a variety of places, but these are the ones I use:

I print my own images, and the cost to prepare an image for entry is around $3.00. Cost should not be a prohibiting factor for exhibiting your images in a rose show.

I have explained elsewhere how to easily and quickly mount and mat your images to meet specifications. For those who would like that info handy on a mobile device, it is available in Kindle form for $0.99. That is the lowest price Amazon would allow me to charge and still offer it there for convenience.

Above all, when you see something visually interesting in rose blooms, photograph them. Then consider what you might be able to do to share that with others through a photograph. And, enjoy the process!

06/9/16

Rose Gold Medal with Butterfly

Rose Gold Medal with Hair Streak Butterfly

The rose ‘Gold Medal’ has long been one of my mother’s favorites. I photographed the rose in her garden near sunset. The hair streak butterfly is from a macro shot taken in friends’ garden on a wonderful day. This image is a composite that brings together people important in my life and two gardens I love.

This image was chosen as the winner in the Judges Class of the 2015 American Rose Society Digital Photography Contest. I thank the special selection committee for that honor of an image that was already important to me for so many reasons.

rose Gold Medal ARS Photo Winner

Rose ‘Gold Medal’ with Hair Streak Butterfly

08/19/15

Green Rose

Green Rose, a Hybrid China

Green Rose really is a rose. It is a sport, or a mutation, made up of sepals. Its official American Rose Society color is “white,” something of a trick question on some of the practical exams to become an ARS Accredited Horticulture Judge. I have never seen this white part, but it doesn’t matter. I enjoy having this rose in my garden.

green rose

Green Rose, a China rose, discovery in US dated circa 1827

Not only is it interesting just to look at, but rose arrangers find it useful as line material in rose arrangements.

In a previous post I mentioned the discussion among friends regarding editing of images, and the use of jpg versus raw files. Here I would like to briefly mention composition. Rule of Thirds can be a very useful composition guideline in floral photography. Those of you who read here frequently know that it is a guideline I use in a wide variety of my photography. When photographing rose sprays, however, my personal preference for my own photography is symmetry and balance. I like to show the structure of the spray, and tend to photograph sprays from that perspective, rather than from the top down. To my eye, symmetry and balance is a good way to show both the structure and beauty of rose sprays, at least in many instances. This image of the Green Rose uses symmetry and balance.

Another example is my image of Dream Weaver:

Spray of Rose Dream Weaver

Spray of rose, ‘Dream Weaver.’ Image awarded ‘Queen’ (Photography) at the ARS Fall 2014 National Convention.

Green Rose, one of the unique roses in the roses in the rose world.

Happy World Photography Day! #worldphotoday

08/2/15

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos is an annual I grow every year, not only for the beauty of the flowers, but also because the goldfinches and hummingbirds like them. When the seeds develop, the goldfinches prefer them to the nyger seeds I usually provide. For that reason, I do not deadhead these flowers, even though I would get more blooms if I did. I grow them, enjoy them, and then enjoy watching the birds feed on them.

Several days ago I posted some images from my garden, images with no editing (to say nothing of enhancements!) except for cropping and placement of a watermark. That was something of a photography exercise for me. Although I was not unhappy with the outcome, I personally found the exercise itself to lack the “fun” I find in digital photography. Last evening, for the first time in some time, I had a couple of hours to do what I enjoy – manipulate a photograph to create an image that reflected something more (to me, at least) than “a real flower captured by the camera.” What you see is the result.

I firmly believe that developing a raw file is something absolutely necessary to realize the full potential of digital photography, and should always be allowed.

“Enhancing” a photo through the use of many techniques, as this image has been enhanced, is very different from editing a raw file to develop it. I think any discussion of what should be allowed for any given use of an image should clearly distinguish between “editing” to develop a raw file, and “enhancing” to create an image not captured on a sensor.

Back to cosmos – a wonderful annual for its inherent beauty, and as a natural “feeder” for birds. A good flower for the garden in the desert southwest.

07/30/15

Photo Challenge

Photo Challenge

Photo challenge to myself – go photograph some things you frequently photograph, the way you frequently photograph them. But, use only the jpg, with no editing other than cropping and applying a copyright watermark.

Recently some photographer friends and I had one of the very common discussions floating around since the advent of digital photography. Is editing a raw file (digital negative) kind of “cheating,” or absolutely necessary to realize the full potential of digital photography? Anyone who knows me at all knows that developing my own raw files is something I do as part of my standard workflow, and overall will continue to do. It is one of the things I really love about digital photography!

The discussion with friends, however, made me want to go out and see what I would get with jpg rather than raw files, with the only editing being cropping to an 8×10 ratio rather than an 8×12 ratio, and the application of a watermark.

These are the results.

photo challenge

Miniature rose, ‘Climbing Earthquake’

photo challenge

Cosmos, with “imperfect beauty”

photo challenge

Green bee with pollen, on cosmos

The challenge to myself was a fun exercise, but I am a confirmed “photograph in raw” person, just because I truly enjoy the editing process.

LightStalking has a good discussion of the benefits of using raw files rather than jpgs.