Plant portraits

One of my new year’s resolutions was to take more pictures, and since I seem to have acquired a new camera I’ve switched from my old Nikon D70 to a newer model D80 (not entirely sure if the loan is going to be recalled at some point, but for now I’m treating it as mine!) and am having a lot of fun capturing plenty of pictures.

I’ve also got a whole lot more comfortable with my editing software – I use Adobe Lightroom. (Whilst I can manage a few bare necessities in Photoshop it’s way out of my comfort zone and not on my list of “must acquire” skills, so Lightroom it is for now.) In fact my comfort levels have increased to the point that I can confidently (read quickly) edit down the vast number of pictures I generally take to a passable selection, and process them in whatever fashion takes my fancy for any particular selection.

The Karoo was so beautiful that in spite of the heat I was inspired to take pictures, and there’s such interesting plant life and such stark contrast that I decided to edit a selection of the images to the plant theme. I also thought I’d set a challenge of turning everything into a 1×1 square crop, allowing myself only the “computers choice” of the crop.  The computer crops dead centre, and despite the rule of thirds that most photographers swear by I’m always amazed by how often this captures the essence of the shot.

Having explored the Kirstenbosch Conservatory very recently it was cool to see one of the plant biospheres “in the wild” and to recognise a few of the specimens that I’d seen in the carefully tended botanical environment growing in their natural environment.

In addition to the indigenous vegetation one of the aliens appealed to me too. There aren’t many (any?) naturally growing trees in this part of the world, and shade is desperately needed so many farmers introduce aliens. The Fort had a beautifully established pepper tree which took me back to my childhood as we had one in the garden. If you didn’t know it immediately you had only to crush a few leaves and “fruit” in the car door on arrival to smell the peppery fragrance. I was inspired by the pink on green contrast of the fruit against the leaves and the beautiful backdrops.

Here’s a selection of things that inspired me, both pre- and post-production.