I’m fortunate to live about 15 minutes away from Filoli – with its country house set in 16 acres of formal gardens surrounded by a 654-acre estate in Woodside, California. Each year, about this time, Filoli opens for the season – and this was the first weekend the estate was open this year.
I enjoy walking the gardens at Filoli at different times of years. The seasons really sweep across the gardens as different plants and trees flower and blossom. On this first weekend, the bulb flowers – daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, etc. were blooming – but the trees were still waiting for more springtime light to spread their blossoms.
That said, I did capture this one image of early blossoms emerging. Shot with my Fujifilm X100T with the TCL-100 conversion lens.
A few days ago I published another version of this image shot at Filoli with my Fujifilm X-T1. It was somewhat unsatisfying to me – not sure why but it just was.
After asking my friend Doug Kaye for his thoughts, I worked on it again in both Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC – working to remove a couple of branches in the middle that I thought distracted from the “tunnel effect” of the composition. I also, learning from Doug’s feedback, used some dodging and burning to adjust the contrast selectively in various areas of the image – trying to improve the sense of dimensionality.
I think this one is better – but I’ve decided to set it aside for now and will likely come back to it again with another try!
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!
Filoli has a wonderful grove of olive trees outside the Visitor Center. I shot this image with my Fujifilm X-E2 – and post-processed it using Photoshop CC, Nik’s Silver Efex Pro, and more. A bit of platinum toning tweaked the color just a bit.
Looking back over a year is something many of us do at this holiday season. I’ve enjoyed looking back at 2013, as it appears in my Lightroom catalog of images captured over the year.
I find it sort of amazing that Lightroom reports I’ve taken 7,697 images in 2013. Good grief! I recently put together a Flickr set of the top 100 images of mine from 2013 based upon views and votes as favorites. But I wanted to also do a more personal look back, choosing just five images from my photography explorations this year.
Much of my joy of photography, by the way, comes from long walks taken a few years ago with InMenlo co-founder Chris Gulker — a very talented photographer who taught me well.