Category Archives: Gardens

The Garden Path at Filoli

Garden Path - Filoli - 2014

A couple weeks back I headed to Filoli for my first visit this year – with my trusty Fujifilm X-E2 in hand. I’d decided to shoot the whole time with just the 14mm Fujinon prime lens – a beautiful wide angle lens.

Here are two versions of the same image from the X-E2. The top version has been processed in Lightroom with VSCO Film 05 which adds a film like quality to the overall image.

The version below is that same processed image but after a pass through Photoshop CC and a touch of the Oil Paint filter applied. I like both versions a lot – but find the visual interest added by the oil paint filter keeps my eye more engaged looking at the painterly version!

Garden Path - Filoli - 2014

Those Persimmons at Allied Arts in Menlo Park

DSCF0362.jpg

While I was out running errands on Friday, I stopped by Menlo Park’s Allied Arts Guild with my new Fujifilm X-E2 camera and took a few shots (see my Flickr set).

I tried to compose this one to have the permissions be a diagonal line – adding visual interest. Post-processed in Lightroom 5 using VSCO Film 01 – Fuji 160C film emulation.

Back to the Garden

The Garden - Filoli - 2013

I made a quick visit to Filoli this morning on a very warm day here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wanted to try out a new Toshiba FlashAir SD Card in my Fujifilm X100S. I have the 8GB version of the card – Toshiba has just announced a 16GB version which is also faster (Class 10 vs Class 6) – but it’s not yet available.

My goal today was to be able to take some shots, upload them from the camera to my iPad mini, do a couple of quick edits and then upload them as a new set to Flickr. Everything worked fine – I shot 28 images (before the heat got to me!) and headed into the café to upload them off the camera to the iPad and then on to Flickr. All told, it took me about a half hour to do this – roughly 1 minute per image. The combination of moving these 6-7 MB Jpeg files around twice took longer than I expected (the FlashAir uses WiFi to the iPad mini and on the iPad I was using the Flickr app to upload over Verizon LTE cellular.

In any case, mission accomplished! Derrick Story likes to call this combination the “nimble photographer”. Not sure I felt very nimble today in the heat – but it was fun and a walk in Filoli – even a short one – is always a lift for the spirit!

When I got home, I transferred the images off the SD card into Lightroom 5 and then did some editing using VSCO Film presets. A bit of dodging and burning in Photoshop CC, a quick border addition, and this image was finished.

Morning Light at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens

Steamin' - San Francisco - 2013

This morning I headed up to San Francisco to try my hand at some street photography during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. This parade is a big deal in San Francisco – and it was my first time heading out to try to shoot it. In hand, I had my Nikon D600 with the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens that I’d recently acquired. This lens seems close to ideal for street photography – it has that extra reach at 300mm yet can go wide at 28mm when required. It’s about as perfect a lens as it gets for daytime street shooting.

But, before the parade began, I headed to another one of my favorite San Francisco venues – Yerba Buena Gardens. As I left Menlo Park this morning, we were fogged in – and I wondered what I would encounter weather wise as I got to San Francisco. As it turned out, no fog and brilliant morning sunlight washed across the beautiful Yerba Buena scene.

As I headed into the gardens, I noticed a lot of steam rising from over by the waterfall. As I headed closer, I could see a fellow was using a high pressure water blaster to clean the payment around the waterfall. This turned into a classic example of a “stage” – a place where you think something interesting is going to happen and you plant yourself as a photographer and just wait for it to unfold.

Earlier, he was working in the shadows to the left – a relatively uninteresting area given the poor light. But when he came out into this area – and began working the pavement and tiles being lit by the morning sun, everything got a lot more interesting. As I was shooting it, I thought this would probably work out best as a monochrome – but I left in just a touch of selective color on the worker’s face and hair. Such beautiful light!

In the Rose Garden with my Lensbaby Muse

Sunday Rose - Menlo Park - 2012

After being reminded by a friend that we’re in the peak of rose blooming season here in Menlo Park, I headed out this afternoon with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a Lensbaby Muse to see what I could find. Here in Menlo Park, St Raymond Church on Santa Cruz Avenue has a beautiful rose garden on its property – and that’s where I headed.

The Lensbaby is an unusual accessory for photographers – it’s a low cost add-on that provides a very sharp in focus area combined with seriously out of focus areas in the same image. I first bought my Lensbaby Muse about five years ago and did a bunch of shooting with it at the time – including several fun visits to the nearby Filoli estate in Woodside. But since that time, my Muse has mostly been in the bottom of my camera bag.

I was stimulated to pull it out today after listening to one of Nik Radio’s podcasts earlier this week with Kathleen Clemons. Kathleen does some amazing work with her Lensbaby gear and stimulated me to pull mine back out and go shooting today.

The picture of the rose above is classic Lensbaby style. It’s been tweaked a bit in Photoshop using Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 to adjust the color and provide a vignette. This image was shot handheld at a high ISO on my 5D Mark II to stop the movement of the rose in the gentle breeze blowing at the time.

I really enjoyed my 20 minutes in the rose garden this afternoon – getting reacquainted with my Lensbaby and its unique style of photography!

Hole in Wall – Filoli – 2010

Hole in the Wall - Filoli - 2010

My Touch the Sky post earlier today of the Pulgas Water Temple drew me back into the other shots I took last September at Filioli.

This is another Canon PowerShot S95 image – single shot this time – post-processed in Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Filoli is such an amazing place for photographers. Such texture, beautiful flowers and foliage. It doesn’t get much better than this! Be sure to go when you can!

The Wall – Menlo Park – 2010

The Wall - Menlo Park - 2010

Last year, I attended Sunset’s Celebration Weekend and, among the images from that day, I especially enjoyed this succulent wall. One of the exhibitors – Succulent Gardens – had put together this succulent wall that I found really interesting.

I took the photo with my tiny Canon PowerShot S90 (since sold and replaced with an S95). It’s been post-processed a bit more than usual – first I tweaked it in Nik’s Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro 3 before adding just a touch of Photoshop’s Pixel Bender Oil Paint and then, back in Lightroom, gradients around all four sides with a bit of darkening and subtle blurring to keep your eyes from wandering off the edges! Hope it works for you – this is one of those images where there’s so much to see – a lot of visual interest! Click on the image to see a larger version.

When I began working on it, I thought it would be a good black and white candidate – but I ended up liking this color version better. For an example of a black and white – actually greyscale (!) version of a succulent, see this one taken in San Francisco in 2009.

Into the Core - San Francisco - 2009

In a Corner of the Japanese Garden

Japanese Lantern - Painterly - by Scott Loftesness

As I was heading back to the airport in Portland yesterday, I stopped by the beautiful Japanese Garden in Washington Park on the hills west of Portland. This particular image captured my eye as I explored the beauty of this place.

I captured it using my tiny Canon PowerShot S95 as a single shot RAW image and then manipulated it using a combination of Photomatix Pro and Photoshop CS5. The key filter I played with in adjusting this image was the Adobe Pixel Bender filter in OilPaint mode.

In keeping with the garden’s photography policy, this image credits the “Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR“.

Hope you enjoy it!