My first visit to the great State of California was in December 1968 for Christmas.
I was the passenger in a car driven from Kingsville, Texas (down south near Corpus Christi) to Chatsworth, California, (San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles) by my wise old grandmother (MWOG) and one of her friends. Chatsworth was where MWOG’s oldest living son (my dad was the oldest son, but he had died in 1961) and his family lived. We’ll call MWOG’s oldest living son “Charles” since that’s his name.
We stopped at roadside parks to sleep at night. Smile if you remember being able to stop at roadside parks without concern.
My wise old grandmother was a master gardener before there was such a thing, and Charles was no different. When we got out of the car at his home in Chatsworth, the first thing I said was something along the lines of, “This is the most beautiful yard I’ve ever seen!” He had flowers blooming in December! Of course, now that I’ve lived in San Diego for twenty years, I know that it has something to do with the weather.
The flower that really caught my breath was the bird of paradise (Strelitzia sp.), and ever since my visit to Charles in 1968, I was on a mission to capture the most beautiful bird of paradise with my camera. The flower is long-lasting, and it takes many days for it to fully bloom. That often means that by the time the flower is in full bloom, the oldest parts of the flower look a little ragged…. nothing that Photoshop can’t fix, of course……….
Up until recently, this was my best bird of paradise picture:
See all of those pointy tips? Those are what usually look pretty ragged by the time the flower reaches full bloom like in that picture. The pointy tips on the two bluest/purple doohickeys are starting to turn brown.
In a worst case scenario, the flower looks like this:
You don’t know how long I’ve been trying to find a way to use that picture of the dead flowers! I’ll tell you, so you’ll know. According to the picture’s EXIF data, I took that picture on March 3, 2012!
Okay. Back to being serious (me?)….
Recently I found not one beautiful flower, but two beautiful flowers, both right next to each other…. like twins:
Of course, having a picture like that means that I’m going to make some Photographic Art out of it.
Since I recently bought the whole collection of Topaz software (it was on sale), I decided that this would be a great picture to use to explore that Topaz software collection.
Following are some (some?) of my favorites. I haven’t decided on an absolute favorite yet—they all speak to me—but I really like flower paintings, so #6 might turn out to be the winner. Which is your favorite?
I remember when I saw my first color negative film. I thought they were so cool. #3 is a color negative created by Topaz:
It’s difficult to take such a beautiful and colorful flower and turn it into black and white, but sometimes the lack of color allows you to focus on the texture, as in #5.
#8 takes texture to an extreme.
#9 is in my top two or three, I’m sure. The simplicity and soft focus of the flower without the distraction of the texture, especially the background texture of the stucco building, seems amazingly beautiful.
#12 is neon light art. Ah, neon. How I love neon. I remember my first neon Coors beer sign. I paid something like $30 for it in 1976 at one of those mall stores that sold black lights and black light posters.
#13 took an in-focus picture and blurred around the edges to simulate shallow depth of field.
Lastly, if you find something that’s pretty near perfect, just make more of them with the click of a mouse!
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