Chapel Hill Yellow Lantana: Gallery 2 of 4

Here’s the second of four galleries of my Chapel Hill Yellow Lantana. I’ve included some of the larger blooms in this set, where I experimented with getting sufficient focus to show petal detail fully, by using a higher ISO and, in some cases, a bit of extra lighting by attaching an LED lamp to the camera. With the higher ISO and supplemental light, I could use narrower apertures and increase depth of field to capture most of the individual flowers in focus, despite hand-holding the camera nearly on top of the blooms.

Even fully opened, the flowers are smaller than a ping-pong ball, yet they have a depth and symmetry that’s enhanced by the color variations throughout the blooms — providing endless fascination for macro photographers (like me!). During post-processing, I used Lightroom’s Texture Control (see Before and After: Yellow and Green (and Lightroom Radial Filters)) to enhance each foreground and soften each background, along with reducing highlights and adding contrast within the blooms using the Dehaze Tool. These three adjustments together help shift focus from the additional background elements that got included by using narrower apertures, to the intensified detail in the flowers and their blooms.

Here are links to the first gallery in this series, as well as a gallery of one of my other lantana plants:

Chapel Hill Yellow Lantana: Gallery 1 of 4

Wordless Wednesday: Chapel Hill Pink Huff Lantana

Thanks for taking a look!

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Chapel Hill Yellow Lantana: Gallery 1 of 4

Lantana is one of many flowering shrubs that are popular with southeastern gardeners, that also have relatives with a reputation for invasiveness when they grow outside of curated spaces. I have four varieties, three whose size is easily managed because they’re in pots, and one in a sunny corner of the garden that explodes into long stems during May and June, then blooms through the end of June and into July. By August, when most of the blooms have fallen off, the plant continues to add leaves and lengthening stems, which become thicker and woodier until early autumn when growth stops. I cut the entire plant down to just a few inches above the ground every fall, and some of the stems are so hard they have to be sawed off like small tree branches rather than just pruned. That’s when I can relate to what a burden it would be if it became invasive: the tangled lengths of stiff stems skewer off in every direction and present a challenge to cut back even in a relatively small, confined area.

In 2001, its reputation for wildness got Lantana a starring role in a melodramatic crime thriller named after itco-starring some humans — where an outgrowth of the plant was used to hide a body in an attempt to conceal a murder. Every fall when I hack mine back to the ground, I remember that movie, and the mood the opening scene created by panning from colorful lantana blossoms to a shadowy thicket of twisted stems, to gradually juxtapose the beauty of the blooms with the evidence that a crime had occurred.

This gallery — and the next three, coming soon — are photos of Chapel Hill Yellow Lantana (a few taken last year and reprocessed, most taken this year), growing in a large pot where it produces a substantial number of blooms with consistent blends of pale white, yellow, and an orange color that always reminds me of orange sherbet. I showed one of my varieties in last week’s Wordless Wednesday (Wordless Wednesday: Chapel Hill Pink Huff Lantana), and I’m working on images of Miss Huff and Landmark Citrus variations for posting later this month.

I played around with light and focus on these Chapel Hills to create different kinds of compositions; this gallery is representative of the next three, where the blooms will be shown as larger and more plentiful. The yellows and oranges seemed to pop nicely against the backgrounds, especially where I intentionally darkened greens, enhanced shadows, and applied some vignetting to isolate the blooms.

Thanks for taking a look!

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Lily of the Nile (Baby Pete): Gallery 2 of 2

Here is the second of two galleries featuring my Baby Pete Lily of the Nile. The first gallery is here: Lily of the Nile (Baby Pete): Gallery 1 of 2.

This is a seriously cool plant. The resident Gardener and Photographer expects it will pose for another photoshoot soon, just for fun!

Thanks for looking!

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Lily of the Nile (Baby Pete): Gallery 1 of 2

Several times each week during the month of May, I took a series of photos of a lily that I added to my garden in April, as a way of chronicling its growth. It’s a variation of Lily of the Nile, a hardy plant that builds clusters of blooms on tall green stems, and so far has produced about a dozen such clusters since I got it. I don’t know why it’s called “Baby Pete” — but I assume someone somewhere had a good reason for that.

According to Wikipedia, a Lily of the Nile may live 75 years. Which means! When I’m in my 120s, I’ll still be taking pictures of this plant — by then most likely with my eyeball camera and macro contact lens, followed by post-processing with Adobe Lightroom sensors embedded in my fingers, then direct uploading from my networked brain stem. Good times!

No special notes to provide about how I processed these photos. I made use of radial filters as I described in Before and After: Yellow and Green (and Lightroom Radial Filters) then passed each one through Nik Collection’s Color Efex Pro, mostly to remove color cast and improve contrast. This first gallery shows the plant up to the point where the flowers were just starting to stretch open; in the next gallery, I’ll show the clusters in bloom.

I’m working on the companion piece to Before and After: Yellow and Green (and Lightroom Radial Filters) where I’ll write about how I used Lightroom’s mysterious Tone Curve panel, and add my contribution to the general confusion on the web about what this function actually does. I’m also working on 134 photos of the four kinds of Lantana in my garden, the images that I kept after culling about six hundred that I took of those plants.

134 photos! Argh! This may take some time….

Thanks for reading and taking a look!

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