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Ipomoea purpurea



Ipomoea purpurea, at the Palheiro Gardens, Madeira, Portugal, in August 2014. Edited in Lightroom.

Ipomoea purpurea, at the Palheiro Gardens, Madeira, Portugal, in August 2014. Edited in Lightroom.
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Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken in Palheiro Gardens, in the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Time
Even if it doesn't look like that in the finished product, this photo was actually taken around mid-day, in a sunny day of August 2014.
Lighting
The light was just what you would expect in Southern Europe in the middle of a sunny summer day. The sky was a plain very light blue all over, therefore I decided on a low point of view, isolating the flower against the uniform sky, to allow for some "crazy" post-processing.
Equipment
Canon EOS 5D Mk iii and Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Inspiration
Even in the peak of summer, the Palheiro Gardens always have beautiful flowers. The opening hours, however, are such that in summer light is very uniform from opening time to closure. The garden itself is very well "organised", and getting a different angle on a flower is not always easy, but there was a bush of these beautiful blue flowers growing a bit "wild" away from the centre of the garden (I later found that in Madeira this is an invasive species, which explains the location and the "wild" aspect. For this I could manage a shot towards the sky, and thought I might be able to get something worth seeing if I managed to "hide" the plain blue sky, which is what I did in post-processing.
Editing
I am usually quite "light" on post-processing, but here the idea from the beginning was to kind of over-do it. I use Lightroom, and for this photo I started by cropping so that only the flower remained, reduced highlights to the absolute minimum, reduced general exposure quite a lot, opened shadows radically and made black as black as it would go. I raised clarity and went over the board in vibrance and even saturation, which I seldom touch. I also took dehaze all the way to the left, which was what finally did the trick of the black background, hiding any hint of blue which still remained after the other edits. Finally, I completely de-saturated red and increased as much as possible the luminance for all colours except green
In my camera bag
In addition to the Canon MD5, I usually carry a 24-70 f/2.8 and a 70-300 f/4-5.6. If I know I will end up in a park or a garden, I will take the 100 mm Macro that I used here. And I always have with me a tripod, either a reasonably compact "normally-sized" one or a very small, non-extensible one, depending on how much I expect walking and on whether I foresee taking photos close to the ground or at man's height. I recently added a couple of ND filters, just in case...
Feedback
I would say the main issue with this photo was imagining a very dark background, to bring up the light and the colours in the flower, when in reality all I could see was a boring light blue sky. I clearly prefer to take photos early in the morning or late in the evening, but this shows that there may be hidden opportunities also in very uniform light.

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