Popping an Orange Lily (After and before)

If you have the opportunity to wander some of the back roads of Cape Cod during the spring and summer months, you’ll be treated to a wide variety of beautiful flowers, some growing wild and even more in the front yard gardens of the many cottages and homes.  It was on such a walk during a recent stay on the Cape, that I spotted these beautiful orange lilies.  This colorful flower, also known as the “Fire Lily or Tiger Lily, is a herbaceous perennial plant with underground bulbs, belonging to the genus Liliums of the Liliaceae family.” [via Wikipedia].

These particular flowers caught my eye because of their amazing color and I imagined how one would “pop” against a dark background, like this:

Orange lily on black background

Cape Cod Orange Lily, after

The mid-afternoon sun was casting shadows and so I looked carefully for a flower or two where the light shone on the flower but the background was cast in shadow.  I homed in on these two and purposely shot at a wide aperture (f/3.2) in order to blur the background, using aperture priority mode, which required a fast shutter speed of 1/800 second on my faithful Canon A540 point and shoot (6 mega-pixels, about 4.5 years old, and going strong!).

The SOOC (straight out of camera) shot wasn’t bad, but needed a little help:

Orange lily on black background

Cape Cod Orange Lily, before

I upped the shadows to further darken the background, which also added contrast to the details of the flowers.  I then cropped to remove that distracting petal and greenery from the left side, and that was it.  Total time to edit, about a minute.  By the way, are you wondering what editing program I used?   It’s Google’s Picasa, a free download that I use for organizing and many of my quick edits, such as this.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t cut off that stamen that runs off the left side of the frame.  On the plus side though, I did discover a small visitor who was just enjoying a summer afternoon in his own little way, much like I was.  (Click on the photo for a larger view if you need help finding the little fellow.)

All in all, not bad for an ancient low-end camera and a free editor. (Remember: “Your most valuable photo gear is what’s under your hat!”).

Have a great Sunday and thanks for visiting 2 Guys Photo.    Posted by Ed


About Ed Spadoni

www.2GuysPhoto.com "Thoughts and opinions, resources and experiences… for emerging photographers everywhere."
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11 Responses to Popping an Orange Lily (After and before)

  1. johnjroberts says:

    Sometimes simplest is best. Sometimes with all the tech tools available it’s easy to “over cook” a photo. Thanks for the reminder, Ed.

  2. Rodney says:

    Bravo Ed. I guess I need to come down to Cape Cod sometime. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Prentis Drew says:

    Ed, It is pretty cool that you were able to get the background to go totally black. You took great advantage of some unusual lighting. It isn’t in the capability of your point and shoot but I have had some fun getting the same effect in broad daylight using my D90 in manual mode, CLS, and off camera flash, I simply crank up the f stop to totally underexpose everything. I then point the flash at the flower up close and personal and shoot. It sure is easier than carrying around a black backdrop.

  4. “Your most valuable photo gear is what’s under your hat!” So well said and this photo proves it.

  5. 2guysphoto says:

    Ed – great shot and nice effect. I’m curious as to why you’d keep the stamen in if you were to re-process this. I like that you removed it and can only believe that it would be a distraction if it were still there. Thanks, Rey

    • Ed Spadoni says:

      Actually, I didn’t remove it. It’s still there on the right side. One way to remove it correctly would be to clone it out, which is doable, but I didn’t think it was overly detrimental to the image. Thanks Rey, Ed

      • 2guysphoto says:

        Got it, Ed. I thought you were talking about the stems off to the left. Agree that the stamen is better left in.


  6. Kara says:

    It really helps me to see ‘before’ and ‘after’, so thank you for sharing those. Also very helpful to have a walk-through of how you did your ‘after’. I agree that those colors are very intense and really pop against the dark background!

  7. Linda Good says:

    Neat to know what you did in Picassa – I use that a lot too. Great info Ed!


  8. Pingback: A fascination with the tiger lily | 2 Guys Photo

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