Zenfolio | Dave Skinner Photography | April 2014 Challenge - Bold Color

April 2014 Challenge - Bold Color

May 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Spring is springing with color right now.  The extra rains have helped push a few more blooms skyward, cleaned up our dusty world and air, and put a smile on most people here in drought-stricken California.  This was a great month to search out the bright and bold complexion of God's creation. We were created to see in color, thankfully.  We can imagine a world without color when we see a black and white movie or picture.  In some ways, a colorless world can add drama and simplicity, but that can be lost with colors that distract, compete with one another and bend our brains (try looking at fluorescent pink for 5 minutes).


The April theme of Bold Color caters to those of us who love flowers, and especially yours truly who is blown away by macro photography's hue intensity in a close up shot of a rose.  Wow!  So I apologize to you ho-hummers out there who would rather see a turquoise shoreline or an Irish redhead.  I wasn't able to make either of those destinations this month.




Unfortunately, I've only received photos from one of our old faithful shutterbugs, Don.  And again, unfortunately, only one of the two pictures he sent had a file type that I could open.  I've told him about it, so if he resends it, I'll add it.


Don says, "The first of these is out on Jardine Rd. Have you ever noticed that Lupines and Poppies rarely grow in large bunches together?  Maybe it's a segregation thing.  I cloned in a few more Poppies."


This is an interesting composition that includes the barbed wire fence the flowers were behind, the road and trees in the distance.  Your eyes are drawn to the flowers immediately, then backward along the road to the trees.   Don had to crawl through the fence to get this angle, so he's standing in the wildflowers while shooting, trespassing on private property and killing living flora at the same time!  What a guy! Nikon D300; ISO 200; 1/125th; f22 (for maximum depth of field).




Okay, Don resent his second Bold Color entry for posting.  I should let you guess how he took this. Not too hard to figure out, but I'll let him tell how he did it.  Very creative, Don.   He says,  " I suppose I could entitle the second pic, "Traffic Light Out of Order".  It's actually a triple exposure on the tripod.  Take the first photo during a red, run over and trigger the cross walk light, run back to the camera and catch the green and then the yellow on one frame."





Little question what yours truly, Old Davy, will submit after visiting the Stockton Rose Garden and Electra Road this month.  His backyard provided an array of bold and vivid flower fare, as well.  


But this first entry was taken at Buckley Cove Marina in Stockton, where sailboats are berthed. Walking on the levee across from the menagerie of masts and namesakes, it's pretty easy to use a telephoto lens and capture some abstract shots.  Red is one of nature's boldest pigments, easily drawing attention. Hence, the fable that the police stop red cars more than any other color.  The cyan/turquoise stripe is really the award winner here, though.  It divides the composition perfectly (IMHO) and balances the hot red with a cool blue. Nikon D5100; 55-300 Nikkor @280mm; f13; 1/400th; ISO 400.  I try to keep the shutter speed up past 1/400 when shooting this zoom, which means I have to increase the ISO sensitivity to 400, 800, or sometimes 1600.  This camera can handle the noise at these levels, thankfully.




Again, forgive me for throwing in a few flower pictures.  I just can't stop taking them.  The rose garden downtown boasts its best blooms in April - the first blush of healthy and audacious hybrid teas, floribundas, miniatures and climbers.  The early morning sprinklers had adorned most of the blooms with dew, adding to the production. This is my favorite photo of the set. Nikon D5100; 55mm MicroNikkor; either f3.5 or f5.6; 1/250th; ISO 400.  I really like the softness and harmony of the yellow as it supports the pinks.  For those of you wanting to plant this beauty, its name is Arizona. Full set here: http://wordydave.zenfolio.com/p120596508






The Cambodian New Year is the big, local, week-long celebration of Cambodian culture and Buddhist religion.  I wanted to visit (first time) just to take photos for this Challenge.   I had seen what the Buddhist temple looked like, along with all of the 'angels' and reclining Buddha statuary located on the grounds (Huell Howser production) and figured I couldn't miss getting bold color and unique images (see the set here: http://wordydave.zenfolio.com/p708207351).  It was quite the experience.


This umbrella caught my attention.   Someone had hung it outside a tarp-covered booth for some reason, making it look out of place.  But it makes a great abstract (optical illusion) and cries Bold Color.  Nikon D5100; 55-300mm Nikkor @110mm; f16; 1/500; ISO 800.






Just so we aren't overwhelmed with red, here is a backyard close up of our iris.  One of the most important aspects of my macro photography is making sure the background is just right.  Color, texture, arrangement and bokeh are all play a vital part in a balanced composition.  I often spend more time looking for the best background than taking the picture.  A good photograph is much more than just capturing the subject.   Nikon D5100; 1/100th; ISO 400; f3.5. 






Flower photography can also have an element of fun.  This same iris bed was the source for this next shot of an iris bloom, the 'tongue' petal specifically.  The sun was backlighting the bloom (as the leaf above), so the color and texture were rich and detailed.  That made for a nice picture in itself, but I wanted to accentuate the colors for the Challenge theme.  Opening the 'Mosaic' filter in Photoshop Elements, I converted the composition to small sized 'stained glass' artwork.  Camera specs same as above.





This next Bold Color photo was taken at work.  Can you guess what it is?  Hint: the silver band at the bottom is baling wire.   Yes, it's a bale of paper trim with NCR pink paper mixed with 60# white bond.  Nothing too special, but it made for a great composition after cropping and using the Paint Daubs filter in Photoshop Elements to soften the final image.  Colors were intensified, also.  Trusty point and shoot Canon SD 980; f2.8; 1/20th; ISO 500; no flash.





Okay, one last entry from yours truly (there were more, but I've already monopolized to the max).   This was taken at San Joaquin Delta College's Demonstration Garden early one morning.   I tried to put both flower centers in the same plane, so they'd both be in focus while everything else would be softened.  Note the strength that pairing makes compared to shooting a solo flower.  The element of relationship enters the scene and steps up the interest (IMHO, again).  This works with a trio as well, but things start to get confusing and impersonal to a degree after that.  Pastels aren't the definition of Bold and fit the softer side of the color spectrum, but when they fill the frame, they come close to the real deal (I'm tired of looking at red, anyway).  Nikon D5100; 55mm MicroNikkor; f3.5; 1/125th; ISO 200.







The May Challenge will present more variety in the themes as we will have four to chose from (or mix):  Trees, Nostalgia, Where You Live and Refrigerator.  Black and white is okay, along with software manipulation (cropping, color and contrast adjustment, HDR, filters, etc.).  Thanks ahead of time for all the pictures you're going to send for posting.  I'm sure you're getting tired of seeing mostly mine.

Have a great month enjoying the warmer weather and God's creation.  "[Don't trust] in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy." I Timothy 6:17b.




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