Travel Photo Thursday: Shooting “Plant Life” on Planet Earth

Travel Photo Thursday: Shooting “Plant Life” on Planet Earth

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Purple Iris Miwok TrailWhile it’s still officially winter where I live just north of San Francisco, this January rain has fallen sporadically while skies have been remarkably sunny and bright. The fine weather belies that fact that our spring season is still officially nearly two months away.

When spring finally arrives, Irises will bloom both in home gardens and along the trails and through the meadows where I hike each week.

Here are four ways that I’ve photographed this purple-flowering plant.

The classic Iris shot is like the one above, taken from directly above, with the flower’s petals spread wide. I found this specimen along the Miwok Trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Raindrops On Iris Estero TrailRainy days can make photography problematic. But once the rain stops falling, there are opportunities to take photos that are not possible during dry weather.

Less than three weeks after I shot the Iris along the Miwok Trail, I was out in Point Reyes National Seashore on a cool, damp day in May. Raindrops that had collected on this Iris still remained when I discovered it. (Variations of this same photo appear in “Travel Photo Thursday: Special Effects Can Salvage Photos.”)

Iris CenterAs I explained in that story, a photo doesn’t always come out of the camera with the optimum sharpness. So one way to “make lemonade” out of  such “lemon photos” is by using a photo editing program to apply special or “artistic” effects to the shot. I use Adobe’s Photoshop Elements, the “lite” (less bells and whistles, and less expensive) version of its Photoshop CS program.

I spotted the Iris at left while hiking on Mount Burdell, which rises over 1,500’ above sea level near the city of Novato, about thirty-five miles north of San Sami TattooFrancisco. By enhancing the shadows and applying special effects, the background in the photo nearly disappears and the focus is on the center of the flower.

Flowers sometimes pop up in unexpected places. This Iris was tattooed on the shoulder of a young women from Australia who was a member of my Tuesday hiking group when she was temporarily living and working in the U.S. She had the flower applied to her body as a permanent reminder of the enjoyable times she had spent with us that spring, five years ago.

(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots. Purchases made from through links on this page helps Tales Told From The Road continue to bring you a a wide range of travel-related stories.)

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7 Replies to “Travel Photo Thursday: Shooting “Plant Life” on Planet Earth”

  1. I love your comprehensive Iris selection. How quirky that you had a tattoo iris as well. I always like photographs of raindrops on flowers, it makes me think of the freshness after rain and how thankful the flower would be for it.

  2. Yep I agree with you. I will often “sharpen” up a photo in Photoshop or for that matter “soften” up the look of a flower. It sometimes gives it a sort of ethereal look. I love photographing flowers in the spring and playing around with filters and such. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Beautiful shots–and the extra work in PhotoShop pays off! I love irises. One of my favorite memories is wild irises blooming against ancient gray stones in Greece. Another is a field of irises at a wildflower sanctuary Near Washington Crossing, Delaware.

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