20121020_Neighborhood_Walk_001

Tons of Tiny Flowers in Late October

A couple of weeks ago, on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012, the temperature was pleasantly mild, and the sky was bright overcast. So just before I went for my usual Saturday morning walk around my neighborhood, I decided to bring my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera with me.

I have noticed that the vast majority of the photos that I have taken with this camera always seem to require me to “add some exposure” (brightness) to them when I process the RAW files on my computer. I had already decided that the next time that I used this camera, I was going to not just accept the default meter readings that Olympus thought were appropriate (using their Digital ESP metering mode that they recommend for general use).

Instead, I was going to increase the exposure compensation until I had visual indication of some highlight clipping, and then I would back off the exposure compensation by 1/3 of a stop. I believe that this method is commonly referred to a “shooting to the right” – in regards to the histogram.

When I first stepped out of my front door, there to greet me are the bed full of flowers shown above. In the past, I have simply referred to them as Dr. Seuss flowers, but now I know that they are actually called Fireworks Gomphrena.

The photo above is the only photo that I took that morning that I include in this post or 22 photos that did not increase the exposure compensation setting in the camera.

For the photo above, and the vast majority of the following photos, I had increased the exposure compensation to +2/3 of a stop.

Although I was very curious to find out what types of flowers that I would find in Austin, Texas in mid-October, I also found a few other plants that were worthy of my attention

Reminder: You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to my story.

What I found out was that there seemed to be MORE flowers in bloom than during the late spring and summer, the size of the flowers were very small.

For this next photo, because the flowers were white, I increased the exposure compensation to +1 full stop.

There were lots of reoccurring colors, but purple seemed to be rather rare.

I was glad that I had brought the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens along with me for this walk. It has a built in macro mode that allows you to get pretty close to your subjects. When the lens is in the macro mode, the focal length is fixed at 43mm.

There seemed to be several different color variations of the next flower. I wish I could tell you what type of plant it is, but I don’t know what most of these plants are….

I can tell you that this next photo is of some buds on an Oleander plant very close to our community mailbox. I only use +1/3 exposure compensation for this photo.

I probably could have improved the composition of the next photo by simply pulling back a couple of inches, and not cut off the flower at the top and near the bottom corners – but I can’t remember what else that would have included in the photo.

This red rose was the largest flower that I saw that morning, on October 20th.

(I seem to have a problem with the red colors appearing much more saturated in the photos on my web site than they appear on my calibrated monitor. I am still slowly working through some experiments to properly determine the root cause. I invite you to right-click on the photo above and download it to your computer and let me know how it appears in your photo viewing program, as compared to how it appears here.)

Since the next flower was white, I took the exposure compensation back up to +1 stop.

Here are a few more color variants of the flower that I mentioned a few photos ago.

The yellow and salmon colors of this one are nice, so I wanted to include it, even though the photo is a little blurry (due to the focus being at the base of the flowers).  The depth of field (front to back focus) is very shallow when the lens is in macro mode. The exposure compensation was only +1/3 stop.

When you back up a little, and move the lens farther from the subject, you get more objects in the photo, but the depth of field also increases.

I hope that the gentle color of this next flower looks as good on my web site as it does in my photo processing program on my computer.

You get a sense of just how small these flowers are when you compare them to the strands of the spider’s web that are attached to them.

I don’t know what these spindly lavender colored flowers are, but they were the only specimens of them that I saw on this shortened 2 mile long walk.

Although I normally put a circular polarizer on my lens whenever I will be outside photographing, this time I intentionally did not, as I wanted to compare the results to some of my earlier outings.

I like the results that I got without the polarizer, but I also usually like the results that I get when I do use one. I suppose the only real test would be to set up a tripod and shoot the same photo both with, and without, a circular polarizer.

Besides, I was out experimenting with “shooting to the right” on this little outing.

The photo above almost appears to have some highlight clipping, where the yellow petals of the flower are so overexposed that they are about to “blow out” to white. That’s not really what’s happening here, though. Evidently this bush full of flowers is past its peak, and is starting its decline.

When the flowers begin to fade away, they start by turning white around the edges of their petals.

This yellow flower was also one of the largest flowers that I photographed that morning. That plant was also unusual, as the long “string beans” that the plant produced was also worth including in the photos.

I really didn’t feel that I had much to say about this series of flower photos, other than I was experimenting with my exposure compensation and “shooting to the right” of the histogram. That technique seems to be a great success, and something that I intend to utilize in any future use of this great little Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera.

5 thoughts on “Tons of Tiny Flowers in Late October”

    1. Thanks, Isaac! I may have to resort to a calendar of flowers…. I’m running out of time, and running out of options.

      Thanks for checking out my blog, and thanks for leaving a comment!

  1. That red/pink flower #075 looks more promising than the ones in the last post. I love that pampas grass – it’s one of my favorite plants. I like it when it gets really big and grows way over my head ;-) Flowers pretty much gone here except for the mums. We actually had a very light dusting of snow early this morning – just dusted some of the roofs. Was gone by the time most people got up. It was one of those 6 am days for me today.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Libby. I’m working on the color issue…. I’m now suspecting that the color profile that I have been using for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera was made by using a 2 1/2 year old ColorChecker Passport – and that the red has faded enough that the software that creates the profile is overcompensating to correct that faded red patch. I’ve ordered a new ColorChecker Passport from B&H Photo a week ago, but Hurricane Sandy has really delayed my order by several days. (I’m not complaining – I understand the problem that they had to deal with in lower Manhattan, and with the delivery services going through New Jersey airports.)

      Snow? Wow! I’ve only worn a light jacket to work on two mornings so far….

      1. For the next red thing that you shoot that is a little iffy – drop me an ORF file via email before you delete them. I’d like to get a look at the raw file before Adobe writes all of their crap into the DNG.

        My friends in lower Manhattan got their power back Fri evening. That was good because things were getting a little difficult. You would be surprised though how well some things did get along. My friend Jeff did say that Wednesday was a nightmarish hell though when the commuters attempted to start to come in. The Brooklyn friends fared a little better but they did have major damage to a car. Family in Rockland County upriver a little bit did ok although the power was out for a few days.

        And here’s a good one for you – everyone with a landline from this group is getting rid of their AC powered cordless phones, They are getting old bell phones that ring LOL. Buddy Jim in Brooklyn was desperate to try and call someone from his office. He went over to a neighbor who had an old non powered phone and he was able to make his calls. I hate cordless phones myself – never owned one and still have the old ones that are powered by ringing current from the utility lines.

Good or bad, I'd love to hear what you thought!