Piers Blackett  

Heliconia by Piers Blackett

July 2024 - Heliconia

July 2024 - Piers Blackett


About the Image(s)

The image was shot inside the Crystal Bridge tropical garden in downtown Oklahoma City. The Heliconia is a tropical plant found in the South Americas and Pacific Islands and has small true flowers that peep out of the bracts from which seeds are bird-dispersed.
It was shot at f/16, 1/50th at ISO 1600. DxO pure raw was used to denoise, and Photoshop's camera raw for standard tonal edits. Background luminance was reduced using the mask followed by selective darkening with a brush.

10 comments posted

Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
What an interesting species. Almost appears there are little bird beaks poking out wanting to be fed. Your color is very vibrant, and the diagonal lines of the flower itself makes for a piece of art by itself. I would suggest that you completely darken the blue space to have it blend with the green. Is there any way you can add a little more space to the bottom to eliminate the cropped appearance? I believe making these two changes would result in an image worthy of a print.   Posted: 07/03/2024 15:21:49
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Thank-you Shirley. There was a problem with not being able to step back from the narrow path to include more of the bract sequence It did cross my mind to edit as you suggest, but I baulked at the idea because of what it would take. Anyway here is an attempt using a combination of content aware, lasso tool, free transform with copy and paste, clone stamp and paint brush. I could also use the revised version to go with high key as Jim suggests.   Posted: 07/05/2024 16:14:41
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Martin Newland   Martin Newland
This is a beautiful image, Piers. The vibrant orange color of the Heliconia stands out nicely against the green foliage background.
I like the composition. My eye is lead through the image with the diagonal lines of the bloom and is held in the centre by the brightness of the background light filtering through the foliage.
The focus is "tack sharp" and captures the delicate textures of the plant.
The lighting is soft and diffuse. Is this all natural light or did you use another light source as well?
  Posted: 07/03/2024 20:28:19

Jim Wulpi   Jim Wulpi
This is a gorgeous flower. Beautiful form and vibrant colors.
I have recently gotten into flower photography with an bent towards the artistic aspect, and I'll offer up a suggestion.
To me, the background is very busy and pulls the eye away from the main point of interest - the Heliconia. The aperture you used (f16) brings everything into focus. With artistic flower photography, the intent is to have only the flower (or even just part of the main flower) in focus, and let the rest be a soft background that doesn't draw the viewers eye away from the main subject. One way to do that in camera is with a wide aperature. I took the liberty of doing that (equivalent in LR) with your image to give an example. Many times, the background is treated as "high key", to create a soft, creamy background. I added a vignette, too.
It's not for everyone, but, is an option to having a busy background.   Posted: 07/05/2024 10:34:11
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Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Great idea to go high key, however I think to go that way it requires intent in the first place - preferably with a tripod and an arranged background. I tried that recently in a scavenger hunt and won that section. However, I like the look you have given it and don't yet have the photoshop expertise. I might go back there with a wider angled lens and rethink it.   Posted: 07/05/2024 16:37:39

Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
What a beautiful flower, Piers! I don't believe I've ever seen one. I agree with Jim's comments and before I saw his edit, I was thinking of having the background darken down to eliminate the business of the foliage. In the lighter version I think I would lower the saturation of the flower just a bit to have it blend better with the desaturation of the background. Great capture of a lovely flower!   Posted: 07/05/2024 13:59:31
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Thanks for your comments. I thought part of the attraction was the tallness but there were space constraints in stepping back. I might go back and try a vertical pano with a processed faded background.   Posted: 07/06/2024 10:41:34

Terri Adcock
it is a very dramatic looking flower and its colour is so vibrant. I am really enjoying the hi key version. A shallower depth of field would have given you a less busy background ,,, f this had been a wild flower I would have suggested some "gardening" prior to the shot being taken   Posted: 07/07/2024 01:57:43

Terri Adcock
  Posted: 07/07/2024 01:57:45

Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Thanks. I agree   Posted: 07/07/2024 18:09:27


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