Welcome to day two of #amyshuttphotoaday, a photography project for this month coordinated by Amy Shutt of Amy Shutt Photography.
Today the theme was "new." It's quite appropriate, because today I used my new camera (a Canon 5D Mark III) to take this shot.
I've been waiting for the irises to bloom in downtown Baton Rouge. Down the street from my house a couple tends a garden where I believe they have planted the Iris germanica (Purple bearded Iris). There is something about the iris that fascinates. The rich colors and morphology of the flower sets it apart from all others.
The iris can be difficult to capture in a single shot - the flower defies your camera with petals that grow and flitter in all directions. Neither side-views nor top-down shots seem to ever do the flower three dimensional justice.
But today was different. The neighbor's yard has two purple irises in full bloom today, and one bud that stands tall against the green bushes and slender trees that surround it. I first tried shooting the irises in bloom, but while beautiful I didn't get the sense of "new" from the shots. So I decided to focus on the lone tall plant that had yet to bloom. Its vibrant color belies what it will become in the next days or weeks, but for now it stands compact and begging for more camera attention.
I took a few shots before the one above fell into place. At first I tried shooting the yet-to-bloom iris with an adjacent house in the background. The shot had a pleasant "garden district neighborhood" feel, but the slender yet-to-bloom iris got lost in the image. So I turned my camera over to shoot in portrait orientation and stepped in closer.
After a few shots, I noticed a particularly darker area in the greenery in the background, a bit to the side of my main subject. I shifted to where the tall yet-to-bloom iris was nearly dead center in this darker area and surrounded by bright green leaves reflecting the low sunlight.
You'll notice the out-of-focus area in the background of my shot has a "swirling" look to it. This is the unique rounded bokeh effect produced by the lens I'm using, the Petzval. This lens is a DSLR-compatible remake of the beautiful brass portrait lens developed in 1840 by Joseph Petzval.
I took this shot with an ISO of 100 and a shutterspeed of 1/320 seconds. The aperture is fixed by the hole-punched metal plate you decide to slide into your Petzval lens for any given shot - the lens comes with a series of plates with different sized holes (or apertures). For this shot, I had a f(aperture) 1/2.8 plate in place. (The lens also can only be manually focused).
I edited this shot in Lightroom. I cropped it so the subject was dead center - an orientation that "works" with the Petzval rounded background bokeh. I pulled up the highlights and pushed down the shadows. I spot sharpened the main subject of the photo, the slender yet-to-bloom iris in the center, and added just a bit of vibrance.
Tomorrow the theme is warmth!
I'll leave you with my runner-up for today's theme... I love the angles and brightness of this shot. Again shot with the Petzval.