Wordless Wednesday: Concord Grapevine, Early Spring

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Catawba Grapevine, Early Spring, Round Two

With the photos in the gallery below, I may have captured the last of the luminous colors appearing on my catawba grapevine, at least for Spring 2019. I took these pictures about a week after the first set, and the emerging shoots and leaves have doubled in size. Now, however — with another few sunny days having passed — most of the purple and magenta color has turned into green with splashes of yellow: the colors of the mature vine. The shapes of the shoots fascinate me, though, so there may be a Round Three gallery … and more!

I got insect-photobombed when taking these pictures; I didn’t notice until I was processing the photos in Lightroom that there was a tiny spider hanging out on the vine. The spider is in two of the photos, but I’m not telling which ones: you’ll have to look closely and find it for yourself. 🙂

Thanks for looking! I hope spring is springing for you too!

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Catawba Grapevine, Early Spring, in Black and White

A couple of weeks ago, I aimed a macro lens at some new leaves on my catawba grapevine and saw an unusual range of colors in its tiny shoots. I’ve only had the vine for about three years, and this may have been the first time I took a close-up look at it this early in the spring. Much of its orange, purple, and magenta color luminance — that you can see in the images here — is still apparent as the leaves grow, and I’m working on another set or two of similar photos. The vine made an appearance here last June in this post: Secrets Inside a Grapevine.

This is only the third time I’ve tried to convert a gallery of photos from color to black and white in Lightroom; for this set I used the same approach I took in my previous two attempts:

Before and After: Bradford Pear, Blooming in Black and White

Before and After: Camera Studies Camera in Black and White

This kind of black-and-white conversion makes the images more abstract, where the main subject takes on prominence while the backgrounds — originally consisting of softly focused and desaturated colors — fade even further toward insignificance, barely suggesting context or placement for the subject. These three screenshots, from Lightroom, show my typical adjustments:


Settings for Shadows and Blacks have the most impact on the image background; Exposure and Whites alters brightness for the main subject.

Black & White Mix changes the “gray level” for each of the original image colors, and adjusting these sliders is a good way to examine the effect of subtle color variations. I spent a long time micro-managing these adjustments. 🙂

These Sharpening and Noise Reduction settings may seem extreme, and would create distortion in a color image. With my black-and-white photos, however, they emphasized highlights and fine details instead.

I find it challenging to decide, with black-and-white processing, when I’m actually finished with the images. With color, there’s always a point where I feel like “I’m done” … but with black and white, I’m still learning how to recognize that shift. This is where I ended out; here are the final versions of the eleven converted photos:

If you would like to compare the color and black-and-white versions, select the first image below to begin a slideshow.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!

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Wordless Wednesday: Catawba Grapevine, Early Spring

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Clematis, Preparing to Bloom: Gallery 2 of 2

The gallery below contains the second set of images of clematis plants and their early spring vines and buds. These are photos of a President Clematis — whose colors, at this stage, include dark green in the leaves and a distinct purple vine. The leaves will fade to a lighter green as the plant grows, but the vine keeps its purple color throughout the growing season as it stretches on and on and gets thicker in width.

This one is fond of attaching itself to a nearby chair, which certainly adds interest to the chair but limits its usability for sitting. I normally (and carefully!) detach the vine from the chair and twist it back on itself or the supports in its pot … but just for fun this year, I think I’ll let it be. And, of course, my photo-brain is already wondering how the deep purple flowers will look on the blue-green background. 🙂

The previous gallery is here: Clematis, Preparing to Bloom: Gallery 1 of 2.

Select the first image to begin a slideshow … thanks for taking a look!

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