Gardenias in bloom

My absolute favorite part of summer is smelling the amazing aroma of the gardenia bushes in the yard. The blooming (more like popping) of the mystery gardenias really means the start of summer. Last year while recovering from hip surgery, I was at home a lot and had an abundant amount of time to enjoy the beautiful aroma and aesthetics of the gardenias. Which, of course, meant some photo shoots while I was -- literally -- sitting around. Here is one of my subjects from last summer:

Gardenia bloom

This year, my hip is much stronger than it was last summer, but the gardenia bushes have bloomed and the peak time is now over. However, every time I look at the above image, I can smell the beautiful aroma of the gardenia, and I feel so happy.

What is your favorite summer scent?

Lavender days of summer

Ahh the hazy, lavender days of summer. Relaxing by the pool with a refreshing beverage, enjoying the summer sunshine. For me, it means extended hours of daylight to take photos (of course):  

Lavender macro

This lavender plant grows in my garden, and smells amazing. Beauty and relaxation in my backyard -- but most importantly, a photo subject.

Every time I look at this image, it reminds me of lavender vanilla ice cream, or a lavender mojito recipe I have been wanting to try.

What does this image make you think of? Let me know in the comments below.


Big picture vs. detail

I love chasing light while walking around my neighborhood with my camera and my iPhone. Yes I look like the crazy camera woman cruising around the neighborhood with multiple cameras, but sometimes just using the camera in my iPhone just doesn't match my vision.

 I was drawn this this purple Gladiola flower, and started off by taking an overall image of the flower. I used my iPhone for the image below (no filter, this is straight out of the camera):
Gladiola iPhone
And this is the image I posted on my Instagram (using the X-Pro II filter):
Gladiola Instagram
But as I love the details of flowers and petals, I had to get in closer to make a macro image. This is the result (edited in Lightroom 4):
Which do you like- the big, overall flower pictures straight out of the iPhone and on Instagram or the detailed macro? Why? Let me know In the comments below.

Macro Photography Images

It has been a long time since I have posted--I have had some personal health obstacles within the past 10 months, and am finally getting back to blogging! I have some exciting news to share with my wonderful readers, I have recently gained interest in having my images hanging in a few different locations. Currently, I have six images hanging at a spa in Santa Clarita, CA-- what is more calming than some beautiful macro nature images?

Here are the six images that were chosen to hang:

Night Blooming Cerus

Night Blooming Cerus

Backlit Leaf

Backlit Leaf

Orchid Waterfall

Orchid Waterfall

Backlit Orchid

Backlit Orchid

Cana Lily

Cana Lily with Water Drops

Aloe Leaves

Aloe Leaves

Of course you can contact me about ordering any of these images for the walls of your home of to give to someone you love!

Thank you as always for stopping by!




Close yet so far away

I live really close to the San Fernando Mission. I have even attended Mass there. However, getting there with my camera proves to be impossible. Some visitors from out of town prompted me to go there, and I don't think I have gone there since I dove into photography. I am ashamed to say this not only because it is a gorgeous place to photograph, but it is also an important part of California's history. Basically in my back yard.

Knowing that I would be visiting there, did I bring my SLR? Of course not! It was close to noon, so the lighting would be crap. I had only my iPhone and my mini-me (point and shoot).

Here are a few photos taken with and edited in my iPhone:


Mosaic 2

Above are a couple of mosaics from a series of along one of the walls of the Mission library. Both photos were edited with the iPhone Photogene app to do some minor color correction.

Fountain detail

This is a photo of the main fountain, which is a replica of the original. I edited this photo using the Best Camera app so that I could bring out the texture in the image.

I am making it a goal for 2011 to get back there for a photography outing. I look forward to posting the photos from that outing on my blog.

Thank you for sticking with me into the new year!

Geometric explorations

I like exploring themes in photography, this one in particular being geometric. I saw this image while walking in Disneyland California Adventure.


The image of the popcorn all alone in the frame just looked so...sad. And I love the break in the geometric pattern.

Canon Powershot SD780, which is apparently a popular little camera.

And of course I look for geometric patterns in nature.


This shot is a similar composition to the above popcorn photo. I really like breaking the monotony of color/pattern with a pop of color in the lower third of the photo.

Shot with Canon 5D Mark 2, Tamron 90mm macro lens, f/5.0 at 1/1600, ISO 200.

Thanks for stopping by!

Princess Cereus

Ah, the Night-Blooming Cereus, a magical flower. She blooms for just one night in July or August, starting to open her petals to the world just after the sun sets. Getting larger and spreading her petals further, she gives off a beautiful fragrance to lure pollinators for the duration of her short life. She reaches her apex of beauty, and then daylight breaks. Princess Cereus closes her petals to the world as the sun rises, and then dies.

Not even the most handsome, strong prince can save her. But luckily my eye caught her.

Of the macro flower photos that I have taken, this is one of my favorite flower photo shoots, and here is one of my favorite images from the evening:


Since the Cereus only opens for one night (key word here), I got to try my hand with the strobes. It was now or never, as Elvis sings.

Using two Canon Speedlite 580 EX II's, one slave was bounced off of a white diffuser, while the master strobe was held above the flower through a diffuser by an innocent bystander (whatever family member I could dupe). of course I used the Canon 5D mark 2 in case there were any low light issues.

My dad also partook in the photographing of the flower, so we switched off as flash holder. In other words, I got a taste of my own medicine.

This was a fun and challenging macro shoot, since I usually do my macro photography during the golden hour, or inside where I can control the flower of choice.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful flower, and I hope she blooms again next year!

Thanks for stopping by.

Mama said...

The other night, I was asked to close the bathroom window because my mom didn't want "the orchids to get cold". I took a few steps and pondered this...Then I started laughing. Loud, which for those of you that know me, is the ONLY way I laugh. I asked her why, and she then proceeded to tell me that she didn't want the orchids to catch cold.

My mom is from New Orleans, and even though she has lived in California longer than she live in Louisiana, she still has a very thick accent. So when she talks about orchids catching cold with a bit of a drawl, it just strikes my funny bone.

That statement also summed up my mom and her care of her flowers so well. She can make pretty much anything grow and can resurrect anything that has stopped growing. She makes flower centerpieces just for dinner, and makes the ordinary (flowers, gift baskets, drapes, you name it) beautiful.

Besides acting as my art director and marketing director, my mom is also a great influence in my photography. Because of her, I am in love with macro flower photography, and take photos like this any chance I can get:


Camera: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200) Aperture: f/3.2 Focal Length: 5.9 mm ISO Speed: 200

Purple Iris 2

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80) Aperture: f/3.2 Focal Length: 5.9 mm ISO Speed: 200

I did a little bit of experimenting with Lightroom 3 beta on this one and added a watermark. Hmm, maybe I should check out the online tutorials for LR3.

The irises are from the yard of a co-worker that were brought into the office. I saw these purple beauties and just had to get my paws on my camera. Since I was at work, all I had was my trusty point and shoot. Luckily, I am pleased with how the macro works on my "little" camera.

And pictures of those orchids with a cold to come soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Project 365 Day 46

Another absolutely gorgeous day in Southern California... Actually, it was a bit warm. As a Valentine's Day treat my beloved and I went to our local botanical gardens, Descanso Gardens. Since it's not quite spring yet, it was slim pickins' in the flower department, but I did find a few beauties. I could not decide, so I am posting 3 of my favorite photos. But here is the photo that I chose as my photo of the day for my Project 365, in honor of Mardi Gras in New Orleans tomorrow:

Project 365 #46: Mardi Gras flower

Here are 2 more photos that I loved:



And all 3 of my photos were taken with my Canon SD780. I brought Mark with me, but the 90mm macro was on vacation in Maui (it just returned today, yay!), and the macro mode on my point and shoot rocks. So that's what I used today. It had to strike by passers as odd that I had a huge camera on my shoulder but was using a little point and shoot.

Spring is just around the corner, and it will be macro flowers galore. I can't wait!

Thanks for stopping by!