Thistles in Monochrome

In Gallery Collection, Learning Center, Show and Tell, Tips and tricks by jfischerLeave a Comment

Flowers are not usually the first subject one would think about converting to black & white or another monochrome look.  I mean, they are full of color, bursting with beautiful hues of red and yellows, purples, blues, almost any color under the sun.  So why would you ever strip away the color.  Simply because without the color, it becomes the lines and shapes of the flower that now becomes the art.  Often suggested as a way to help improve a photographer’s composition skills, but I like to take to the monochrome options as a way of letting the shape of the flower stand on its own merits without the supporting role of color.  Finding beauty and art in the shapes of nature is truly one of the primary goals of my photographic work.

All three of the photos shown here are of still-opening Thistles taken at a local wildflower patch here in Allen.  Planted by a small office building, it’s a great location each spring to photography a range of wild flowers.  Firewheels, Daises, Bluebonnets, and Thistles are among the species that bloom here each year.  Thistles have been a favorite of mine for years going back to my earliest art experiences in school all the way back to Kindergarten.  Each year the schools here in Texas had a wild flower art contest, my first year I drew a Thistle with chalk and colored pencil.


And one wonders where film makers get the inspiration for alien movies.

These days, a camera lens and post processing software are my choices for artistic expression,  Utilizing my awesome 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, I’m able to get extremely close to flowers for close up views of single blooms.  I’m just now becoming more comfortable with using this lens on my full frame camera, learning what f-stops result in the desired depth of field desired for the photo.  All three of the photos were processed using a combination of Lightroom version 5 and Nik’s fantastic B&W processing software, Silver Efex Pro 2.


Finding the perfect depth of field is often a game of trial and error, but very happy with the balance found here

Processing Tip: With the bright pink flower only just starting to bloom, the majority of the plant and flower is still green in the color versions of these photos, with only the very center being the bring pink color.  I have utilized a ‘red’ filter in Silver Efex to lighten the centers to ensure the details of the center came through.

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