At summers end

It’s Labor Day weekend and our short summer here in the Pacific Northwest comes to an end.  Actually we’re having the best part of summer just now.  For us it hasn’t been the best year for weather but compared to the rest of the country we can be considered lucky. 
Photography wise it’s been a tough time to get motivated, up until now, because the summer was so dreary, wet and cool.  But now the sun has finally come out and everyones flower gardens are in full bloom although they wont be around long, so hence this post to say get out and get what you can.  And with the beautiful fall colors just around the corner, these flower gardens won’t last much longer.
These photos of a variety of flowers shot at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington were shot in the middle of the day with the sun high in the sky.  I was using both a Canon S95 (handheld) and a 
Leica X1 mounted on a tripod and using a polarizer.
The black backgrounds were achieved using a large piece of black poster-board and handheld behind the flowers.  Because the sun was so bright the originals don’t show quite this black.  They’re actually a little more gray, but thanks to Lightroom and the little “black” slider, a little exposure adjustment and some cropping, I was able to get the nice, deep blacks you see here.
Part of what makes photography fun, for me, is access.  Easy accessibility is key to happy shooting for me.  I don’t mind working for a shot, a hike, a kayak trip, asking for permission, deep and intense planning, but when I get one of those ever elusive ideas of something I want to take pictures of, the easier it is to get to, the more assured I am of going to get it.  I’m not lazy, well maybe a little, but I am busy.   
I was so happy with these that I went to a fabric store, bought a yard of black cotton/poly material that was dark enough to not see through, would wash easily and didn’t wrinkly to badly.  I used some adhesive tape designed for holding fabric together and made a pocket at the top of the long end big enough so I could insert my walking stick into and be able to use it as a way of holding the backdrop behind a subject and still be able to release my shutter.  The whole set up cost around $11, folds up nicely and doesn’t take any valuable space in the camera bag.  Just another easy and inexpensive way to control a setting without actually doing anything adverse or changing mother nature in any way.

Happy shooting.

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