Michael Hrankowski  

Zion Golden Columbine by Michael Hrankowski

June 2021 - Zion Golden Columbine

June 2021 - Michael Hrankowski


About the Image(s)

When visiting a place like Zion National Park, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the splendor and grandeur of the rock formations. But the small things are not to be overlooked. We learned of several species of wild flowers that are native to the canyon, among them, the Golden Columbine.

Image was cropped, sharpened and the shadows color-toned cooler to better compliment the yellow of the flower. I didn't like the way the stem seemed to bolt out of the corner of the frame, so I did a custom, heavy vignette here. ...not sure that works either, but I like it better than the full stem. Any suggestions?

Sony a6600; 18-135mm @ 100mm (150mm equiv.)

1/1000 sec @ f/8, ISO 125

15 comments posted

Mary Ann Carrasco   Mary Ann Carrasco
Michael, very nice sharp photo of the wild flower. I think the vignette does well to minimize the stem coming out of the corner. I am curious why you reversed the image.   Posted: 06/03/2021 14:10:23
Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Funny you should ask…. Last month, LuAnn suggested a flip of my bird image to have it facing the opposite direction. At first I thought "what difference does it make?", but her suggestion did work better. Upon further thought, we Westerners are used to moving our eyes from left to right, so I flipped the image so the eyes follow the stem from the left up to the flower on the right.   Posted: 06/03/2021 21:50:20
Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Funny you should ask…. Last month, LuAnn suggested a flip of my bird image to have it facing the opposite direction. At first I thought "what difference does it make?", but her suggestion did work better. Upon further thought, we Westerners are used to moving our eyes from left to right, so I flipped the image so the eyes follow the stem from the left up to the flower on the right.   Posted: 06/03/2021 21:50:21

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hello Michael,

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Zion National Park. What a fantastic park. Years ago, I went on a family vacation there, and we rode donkeys through the canyon. Zion was my absolute favorite vacation spot.

I like your yellow columbine flower, and I appreciate your idea to color-tone the shadows. The color change gives the overall image a calmer, more relaxed feel.

As I study the image, I find the background is too dark for the delicate nature of the flower and bud. I also feel the angle of the bloom pointing down makes me feel like the flower is wilting. In my example photo, I changed the tilt of the flower, made color adjustments, suggest a new crop, and finally, I changed the background.

I changed the 2x3 format to a square crop and rotated the flower in Lightroom. On the colors, I raised clarity, -21 on dehaze, -6 on saturation. I also brightened the yellows and green a bit. Then in Smart Photo Editor, I selected and replaced the background.

I only had a small jpeg file to work with, so my image lacks quality, but my sample is just a suggestion of what you might consider with the original RAW file.

Let me know what you think.

Best regards,

  Posted: 06/03/2021 16:53:24
Comment Image
Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
LuAnn, thanks for your comments and the suggested re-edit…but, columbine flowers hang down! What I do like about your edit is the background…. What did you do? The original background is blurry and in your edit, the background is sharp.   Posted: 06/03/2021 21:39:27
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hello Michael,

Yes, you are right, some columbine flowers do hang down. But, in my subjective opinion, I like the ones that have their heads up more. The stem is stronger then, and to me, it makes me feel like the flower has more life. It's ok to disagree. Google the flower and compare the different looks.

For the background, I noted above that I used software to select the background and replace it with something I found within the software. To me, the new background adds texture and interest to the photo; something to help a viewer want to stay and take in the whole scene.

Best regards,

LT   Posted: 06/05/2021 06:57:27

Dick States   Dick States
(Group 6)
Mike I like what you did with the Columbine and the flip. I like how the stem brings the eye into the image and up to the flower. This composition shows the natural way Columbines grow and how the flowers hang down. This makes a great diagonal coming in the image from the lower left corner. I might darken the the bright areas in the background a bit more.
I don't care for changes LuAnn made and feel the background in the changes she made are a bit distracting. I also like being able to see the connection of the bud to the stem. This adds much to the composition and is important in the composition. Without this connection there's no need for the bud. It becomes a distraction to my eye.   Posted: 06/06/2021 18:32:10
Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Dick, thanks for your comments. I appreciate the shout out to my composition and editing but I also appreciate and honor LuAnn's comments even though I might not always agree with them. That's what's so great about these groups… Digital DIALOG groups. It's all about the dialog and whet we can all learn from them.   Posted: 06/07/2021 23:41:12
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hello Dick,

It is nice to have a visitor with a knowledgeable and extensive background in horticulture like yourself. You make a good point about the bud's connection to the stem; thanks for pointing that out. In addition, I appreciate your subjective opinion for columbine flower heads hanging down naturally; nothing is more pleasing than how nature designs things. I love Anne Belemont's photos of the columbine flower; she captures them in many different directions; her photographs inspire.

Do us one favor. Can you tell me why you feel the background suggestion I gave to Michael is distracting? It would be a benefit to the whole group to hear your opinion.

Best regards,
LuAnn   Posted: 06/12/2021 12:24:21
Dick States   Dick States
(Group 6)
Hi LuAnn,
I'm happy to respond to your question. I feel much more learning would take place in these groups if more questions were asked.
The background you used I find distracting due to the detail in the rocks. The background becomes a study in itself and competes with the main subject the columbine. My eye is brought into the image with a great lead in line the stem to the main subject, the yellow columbine. Now my eye wonders to the background due to the detail. The two main areas are the two brighter areas in the lower and upper left corner areas where there the most detail is found. There are a few other minor areas but these two areas become a study in themselves. There's too much detail, color and patterns in the rock.
Another side note I have taken many columbine pictures and one thing I find important is to do some cleaning of the flower itself. Columbines have short sticky hairs all over them and they tend to catch lots of fuzz which can be distracting in an image. I usually carry, what I call pipe cleaners, with me to remove the fuzz with out causing damage to the flower. Just a gentle twist will remove the fuzz sticking to the flower. These can be purchased at craft stores. I also carry a diffusor and a reflector called sun with me. I usually don't like to shoot flowers in full sunlight because of harsh contrast of light. I will diffuse the light hitting the flower and use the reflector as my secondary light to open up the shadows to bring out detail in the shadow areas.
I did a little work on the image to remove the fuzz off the bud and removed a shadow on one tail and darkened the background some.
I hope this answers you great question. Thanks   Posted: 06/13/2021 08:06:56
Comment Image
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Your response was perfect, Dick; this is precisely why many members join study groups. Another thing I would like to point out to the group is don't be afraid to submit a photo that isn't perfect, as I did. We come together to learn, and having great visitors like Dick visiting our group today was an answer to why we are all here.

Have a wonderful day, Dick, and come back and visit sometime again!

Best regards,
LuAnn   Posted: 06/13/2021 08:13:23
Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Dick, thank you for that explanation. I appreciate your eye for detail. Regarding the fuzz... I'm always torn between portraying the "perfect" subject vs the "real" subject. When photographing flowers I've certainly taken liberties, such as snipping off foliage that is in the way, or urging an insect to leave. In this case I didn't notice the fuzz when I took the image. I was part of a group with a guide. I stopped to photograph the flower and the group got way ahead of me, so I was feeling pressured...that, and I was traveling light, so all I had was my camera on this hike. But, certainly good points and I'll definitely add some pipe cleaners to my kit!   Posted: 06/15/2021 21:08:21

Kieu-Hanh Vu   Kieu-Hanh Vu
The story about your finding of this golden columbine at the Zion National Park impressed me. It happened to me before when I found that my image of wild flowers in the corner of the road is more interesting than all of my images of sunflowers taken that day.
This image is intriguing since you prefer to showcase the profile of the flower with its long, backward-extending spurs that looks like a bird, instead of its center of petals. i think that the heavy vignette is a bit distracting, compared to the original image. The flipping of the image works well.   Posted: 06/09/2021 22:17:23

Randolph Shine   Randolph Shine
I like the flip.
I find nothing to suggest to your final submission.   Posted: 06/15/2021 10:20:37

Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
Michael, I like your columbine image and agree that it's natural angle is usually hanging done. We have lots of columbines in Colorado (it's our state flower), but a yellow one in the wild is noteworthy. I find the flip of the flower works well and think the darkening of the background looks natural. I had to smile with the discussion of fuzz on the blossoms. Last year, I found wonderful clumps of columbines, but almost all of them had fuzz from nearby trees. I'll have to remember Dick's hint about pipe cleaners.   Posted: 06/15/2021 21:24:43


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