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Photography; Portraits of Plants and Flowers

Alun is a keen amateur photographer. His articles emphasise composition and aesthetics - how to get the most from a photo opportunity

A beautiful white Orchid

A beautiful white Orchid

INTRODUCTION

This article looks at the photography of plants and flowers, with the aim of illustrating the kind of images which can be attempted by anybody with a good camera and lenses, and a little thought and care. Throughout the article I have concentrated on the theme of plant and flower portraiture. In other words, the images I have included here are pictures of individual plants or flowers, or clumps of a single species, rather than photographs of a multitude of different plants in habitat. Although a few of the photos have been taken in fields and meadows, most have been taken in the home or garden; the aim is to demonstrate what can be done - not on a journey to exotic places - but in your backyard, your garden, or even your own little balcony or windowsill where just a few pot plants may grow.

In many cases, the plants are taken with the background obscured or out of focus, while in other cases, the background is effectively removed by the use of a backdrop, usually of black cloth, so that nothing detracts from the specimen which is to be the focus of the picture. And sometimes, moving in close has effectively meant that the subject fills the frame and there is no background at all. All of this is aimed at isolating the subject, showing its beauty or its detail as completely as possible.

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Daisies in the sky. Looking up from beneath a flower can give a very different perspective

Daisies in the sky. Looking up from beneath a flower can give a very different perspective

MY PHOTOS ON THIS PAGE

Plant and flower photography was the genre which first interested me as an amateur photographer, primarily because the subject matter is bright, colourful and quite readily accessible. All photos presented here are my own work. Most have been taken in slide (transparency) format, and then scanned digitally. This has inevitably involved some digital manipulation in some cases so as to accurately reproduce the colours of the original. But such manipulation has been kept to the basics, and in almost all instances has only been aimed at matching the digital image to my original slide.

Photography
Primula malacoides is a member of the Primrose family. It makes an attractive little pot plant with bunches of flowers on stalks

Primula malacoides is a member of the Primrose family. It makes an attractive little pot plant with bunches of flowers on stalks

POT PLANTS

Even if people don’t have a garden, that isn’t necessarily a barrier to plant photography in a home environment. Most will have some space for a pot plant or two in a porch or on a patio or a windowsill or a balcony. So here I include half a dozen images of popular flowering plants which can all make really good photographic subjects.

All these images are of flowering plants growing in small pots. But I don't much care for seeing an ugly clay pot, or even a decorative yet clearly artificial china pot, in my photos. So here I have been at pains to avoid all sign of the container in which the plant is growing. In some cases this has been achieved simply by going in close with a macro lens and shooting detail of the flower, or of the flower and leaves, from an angle which avoids the container. In one instance (P.malacoides) judicious movement of a leaf helped to cover a part of the pot, whilst in another case (Streptocarpus) I will confess to having used a very small amount of digital manipulation to black out a small portion of container which could not be hidden in any other way.

Most of these photos are taken in natural light by a window. Natural light tends to show the plant to its best effect, and there is no need for any guesswork about where the shadows will fall on the plant - what you see in the camera lens (should) be what you get in the finished picture.

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Bright yellow Oncidium Orchid stem photographed aginst my favourite backdrop.

Bright yellow Oncidium Orchid stem photographed aginst my favourite backdrop.

BLACK CLOTH BACKDROP

Even at this early stage, the reader will quite probably have come to the conclusion that I like to use black backdrops for my pictures. It's true; there's no denying it. Artificial it may be, but not as artificial as backgrounds which include a red brick wall, or a concrete path or some other intrusion of a man-made construction. Besides, the purpose of this article is to present flower portraits, and black - or at least monochrome - backdrops will bring out the form and colour of the flowers better than anything else can.

One of the main problems with any backdrop - even black - is that it may reflect light leaving distracting pale areas on the image. I use black velvet, felt cloth, or some similar cloth of low reflectivity, hung behind the plant. An alternative is to angle the shot so that light doesn't reflect off the backdrop. Sometimes light falling on the backdrop can turn even black to dark grey. If this is the case, very slight under exposure of the image can blacken the background whilst also increasing the intensity of flower colour. With digital manipulation it may of course be possible to remove any reflections on the background.

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Close up of a Dahlia flower, lit from behind with an ordinary household lamp. Ordinarily photos work best with the light shining on the subject from the front or side, but light shining through petals from behind can really enhance their appeal

Close up of a Dahlia flower, lit from behind with an ordinary household lamp. Ordinarily photos work best with the light shining on the subject from the front or side, but light shining through petals from behind can really enhance their appeal

For this picture it was necessary to bend one petal out of view to get in really close

For this picture it was necessary to bend one petal out of view to get in really close

CLOSE-UP PHOTOGRAPHY

A flower is attractive when viewed in its entirety and as a part of the whole plant, but it is also worth taking a look at the detail of the flower. The central part is often intricate in design, and colourful in hue. If you wish to attempt such photography for the first time, you will of course need the facility to take close-up pictures, such as a macro lens. For some of these photos I used extension tubes which slot between the camera and lens and allow much closer focusing.

I would suggest tackling flowers which present a relatively flattened, open aspect first. The reason for this is that the closer you get to the subject, the narrower the depth of field through which the subject remains pin-sharp. With a flattened flower, there's a better chance of the whole of the image being in focus. An obvious first choice may be a member of the Compositae - the daisy family.

The other problem with close-ups is light. Less light is available the closer you are to the subject. What's more, to maximise depth of focus, it helps to use a small lens aperture, but this again means less light enters the lens. Most flash units cannot be used at such close range though there is specialist equipment for this purpose. However natural light can also be used with a long exposure to allow more light on to the subject. A tripod will be essential for most images of this kind in order to minimise any camera shake.

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The centre of a cactus flower

The centre of a cactus flower

CACTI AND SUCCULENTS

A personal passion of mine is the culture of cacti and similar succulent plants. They are not necessarily the easiest of subjects to photograph however; the archetypal shape of a cactus after all is a globose ball of spines. Small objects require close-up photography and as we've seen, close-up photography generally results in a small depth of field. But if the cactus is globose, then that can create an appreciable depth of field for the size of the plant. What’s more, the spines are usually sharp, and need to look sharp in the image you take. Rather than keeping my cacti in individual pots, I grow them in goups of 10 or 20 in large trays with sand and stones. This not only improves the naturalness of the display - it may also improve the naturalness of any photos one takes. Even so, in some of these pictures a little judicial repositioning of stones was required either to create a more pleasing composition, or to hide the edges of the tray.

One of the many large flowered Epiphyllum cacti. In their native South America, these cacti are unusual in that they grow, not in the desert, but attached to the branches of forest trees

One of the many large flowered Epiphyllum cacti. In their native South America, these cacti are unusual in that they grow, not in the desert, but attached to the branches of forest trees

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VERTICAL FORMAT PHOTOS

Almost the most basic characteristic of most cameras is that the images produced are not square. They are rectangular and one axis is longer than the other. That means that simply by turning the camera through 90 degrees an entirely different form of composition is achieved. And yet all too many users of cameras never even think of framing their subjects in anything other than the horizontal format. Always think before taking a photo as to the best format in which to present the image, either to show the subject to its best effect, or to hide unwanted background detail.

Many subjects including tall buildings and of course human portraits, lend themselves to a vertical presentation. And so do trees and flower stalks, as these images demonstrate. I would think that at least a third of all my plant and flower photos are presented in this format.

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Berberis darwinii, a small evergreen shrub, native to Chile and Argentina

Berberis darwinii, a small evergreen shrub, native to Chile and Argentina

PICTURES IN THE GARDEN

If you have a garden, or access to a park where trees and shrubs are growing and flowering, then a whole world of potential photographs opens up. Of course photography in the garden poses new problems, first and foremost of which may be wind. It takes very little breeze to move fragile stems, leaves and flowers and spoil what might otherwise be a very good photo. There are solutions of course. Simple windbreaks can quite easily be constructed around the plant and these can be effective in preventing all movement. And in your own garden, you have all the time in the world, so take your time. Some photos on this page were taken in a matter of a few seconds, but several took more than an hour, clearing the background or introducing a backdrop of the kind I often use, rearranging leaves or stems to pleasing effect, waiting for the best light, or just waiting for the wind to die down.

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Close-up of an autumn leaf, backlit to really intensify the colours

Close-up of an autumn leaf, backlit to really intensify the colours

LEAVES, BERRIES, FRUITS AND SEEDS

Flowers should definitely NOT be thought of as the only subject matter from the plant kingdom suitable for photography. These five photos on the right and the two above and below are intended to illustrate how beautiful in colour or design even such mundane things as leaves, berries, fruits and seeds can be. Three show the colours of autumn leaves, and one shows the beautiful blood-vessel like ‘veins’ in a beetroot leaf. Several of these images were taken with light shining from behind the leaves - because leaves are usually reasonably transparent, the light shining through really intensifies the colours and greatly enhances the beauty (in much the same way as light streaming through a stained glass window intensifies the colours of the window panels). One picture shows the berries on a shrub, and the other two photos show seeds and seed heads - among the most intricate of nature's designs.

Any subject from the world of flora can make a good subject. In this case the delicate and intricate seed heads of the common Dandelion, generally thought of as a weed

Any subject from the world of flora can make a good subject. In this case the delicate and intricate seed heads of the common Dandelion, generally thought of as a weed

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IF YOU WISH TO LEARN MORE .....

CONCLUSIONS

Hopefully these images demonstrate what is possible in the photography of plants and flowers in and around the private home and garden. None of these photos are especially difficult to take, though some require time and patience and just a little bit of gentle manipulation of leaves, stems or flowers to produce the best possible composition. Close-up photography of course is a little more challenging, but with the right equipment, a vast range of subject matter can be tackled as a whole new world of the very small, opens up. If you haven't already tried photography of this kind, do give it a go - flowers and related subjects can make for some of the most attractive photographs you will ever take.

We'll finish off this page with just a few more of my images which I hope you'll like.

Thanks for reading.

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Unusually among the photographs on this page, these daisies were shot in a field in Cambridgeshire, England. The green of the grass, the underside of the daisy heads and the beautiful patterns in the sky, all hopefully work well together

Unusually among the photographs on this page, these daisies were shot in a field in Cambridgeshire, England. The green of the grass, the underside of the daisy heads and the beautiful patterns in the sky, all hopefully work well together

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  • Greensleeves Hubs on HubPages
    In addition to photography, I also produce web pages on many other subjects including science and astronomy, travel and history, film reviews and creative writing. All can be accessed here.
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Please feel free to quote limited text from this article, or to use my photos, on condition that a viable link back to this page is included

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I'D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS. THANKS, ALUN

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 25, 2016:

Shyron E Shenko; Aw thanks Shyron for that. Appreciated - As for the other part of the comment - it was a nice little exchange on Ruby's hub! :)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 25, 2016:

Alun, you have an eye for beautiful plants and flowers, your photos show that. I did enjoy the description of them also.

I came here to check out your hubs because of the comments on (always-exploring) Ruby's hub.

Peace.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 01, 2016:

Alun, my pleasure my friend.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 01, 2016:

Kristen Howe; Thanks Kristen for visiting this page, and I very much appreciate your comment about the photography. I think photography can add to so many other hobbies, including gardening - if one grows beautiful plants and flowers, then preserving a beautiful record of them can only enhance that interest.

For myself, I've not done enough plant photography in recent years, but I left work a month ago, so maybe I'll have more time now to get back into all the fields of photography I once enjoyed! Alun

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 30, 2016:

Alun, lovely photos of these flowers. Real beautiful and apt descriptions for your photography. Well done! It inspired new ideas for my container patio garden next month.

christinemariezzz on December 09, 2014:

I suppose I will give it a try , in habitat, and maybe out of habitat I could catch a cool drip action indoors. I've done winter branches, but mostly with in hand scrap paper and charcoal pencil or pastels...been awhile.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on December 08, 2014:

christinemariezzz; Thanks very much for your comment Christine. I must admit as a casual amateur I only tend to photograph what comes most easily to me, which in the case of plants would be the trees and flowers in or around my own home or garden, or which I see on vacation. So I have not yet photographed willow or red osier - maybe one day!

You mention Michigan winters - photos including snow or ice encrusted branches can indeed have a magical beauty and such conditions are great for photography, aren't they?

christinemariezzz on November 16, 2014:

Alun,

Praise to your hub! The gladiola photo is my favorite, along with your explanation and plates for the garden flowers. I may have overlooked it in your text, or missed a book recommendation on the subject: What about winter wonders like Red Osier, Willow. Have you done any photographing of these? I embrace my northern Michigan winters and enjoy these branches on the pristine backgrounds. Is my question making sense to you?~ christinemarie

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on July 30, 2014:

erorantes; Thank you very much Ana Maria. Your comment made me feel good! Cheers :-)

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on July 29, 2014:

Hello miss greensleeves. You did a marvelous hub. I like the pictures. The flowers are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are fantastic.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on March 08, 2014:

visit2goa; Thanks Amit. Your nice compliment is much appreciated. Alun

Amit Kumar from New Delhi on March 03, 2014:

you really have great sense of photography.. i love you work..

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on October 30, 2013:

Ralph; Thank you for that nice comment. Cheers.

Pamela; That's touching. The greatest pleasure to be had from writing is if in some small way one can encourage others to pursue new interests or help the development of current interests. If my photos inspire even one person in their hobby, then the effort is worthwhile. Alun.

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on October 27, 2013:

Gorgeous pictures; informative text.

Pamela Troester from Austin, TX on October 27, 2013:

I love taking photos of nature, landscapes, city structures and activity, skylines, and flowers. Your pictures inspire me to keep working on improving my own photography skills. Thanks!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on February 26, 2013:

nifwlseirff; thanks for that. Using a black background has always had an appeal for me. Of course it can detract from the naturalness of the subject but it can also greatly enhance the beauty and structure of the flower.

The dandelions were not the easiest to photograph - being round headed, it's not so easy to get the depth of focus. Also the delicacy of the seed heads meant that the slightest disturbance ruined them! I was pleased therefore with how that picture turned out. Cheers. Alun.

Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on February 26, 2013:

Beautiful photos! I don't see many flower and plant photos with a black backdrop - it makes them look much more formal. The dandelions against black are stunning!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 18, 2012:

holdmycoffee; thanks very much for that nice comment. I'm really glad you like the photos and appreciate the votes up. Cheers. Alun.

holdmycoffee on November 18, 2012:

Love this hub! Many wonderful pictures and great advice. I especially liked the picture of the daisies. I would be proud if I took a picture like this one. Voted beautiful!!! Very beautiful.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 01, 2012:

Yes, I'm really glad Suzie HQ reminded me to take a peek at your hubs. Strangely enough, I was already following you but it's easy to get wrapped up in all the other things and I'd neglected to read more of your hubs. So now I'm going to remedy that! Looking forward to learning lots of interesting things from you.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on August 01, 2012:

Gosh, that's such a generous comment and compliment vespawoolf. I thank you very much, and am glad it made a good start to the day!

I guess it's true that given these are portraits of plants and flowers, several of which were taken indoors, some of the techniques would apply to food photography too - not an aspect of photography I've ever yet attempted though!

I came across your name in Suzie HQ's tribute page - I respect her judgement greatly and some of your food hubs look very appealing, so I'll be back for a visit! I wish you all the best. Thanks. Alun.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 01, 2012:

You're a world class photographer and gardener, as well! What gorgeous photos. It was the perfect way to wake up this morning. Thank you for all the tips, as well. I've been photographing a lot of food for HubPages and a lot of your tips work for food macro shots, as well. I look forward to learning a lot from you. Thank you! Voted up and shared.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 25, 2012:

Thank you ignugent17 - it is nice to hear from you. Alun.

ignugent17 on June 24, 2012:

Beautiful pictures Greensleeves Hubs! voted up.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 19, 2012:

Hello Rebecca. Thank you for those flattering comments! There have been, I assure you, plenty of bad photos for every one good one down through the years. But on those occasions when the subject, composition and technique work together, it makes it all worthwhile. I wish you lots of success and enjoyment with your photography.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on June 18, 2012:

I just recently started taking flower photos. You put me to pure shame. I especially love that daisy shot. Award winning, my friend!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 18, 2012:

Suzie; that's really nice of you to make those comments. I've just taken a very brief glance at your profile and see you are fairly new to HubPages. I wish you well, and will return for another look soon. Alun.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on June 18, 2012:

Such a talented photographer, you deserve much credit for this fantastic collection!! I am a lover of flowers and you have shown how truly amazing each one can be. Congratulations i will be sharing and voting up!!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 18, 2012:

Hi Dirt Farmer! Thank you very much for your visit and that very kind comment.

Jill Spencer from United States on June 18, 2012:

An absolutely beautiful hub!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 18, 2012:

Wow, thanks very much Angela! I appreciate that. Alun.

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 18, 2012:

Flippen amazing! I will share this!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 23, 2012:

Thanks a lot Londonlady for the visit and generous comment. It's always interesting to hear which photos people like or dislike. Certainly I was pleased with the Water Hyacinth - the colours of the flowers and the background seemed well balanced. Alun.

Deya Writes on May 22, 2012:

I thought the Water Hyacinth was the best out of all. I'm a flower "addict" anyway, but there's just something about that one. Beautiful hub, very descriptive and captivating. Voted wayyy up.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 21, 2012:

Rahul, I thank you so much for your visit and those very kind and generous words.

And thanks also for your advice on your profile page to join 'Digg'. (Not sure what it's all about yet, but having seen your page, I thought I should give it a try!)

Will check out your pages. Alun.

Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on May 21, 2012:

You are indeed a wonderful photographer! I have learnt so much from this hub! Amazing detailing and crafty and precise display!

Terrific artwork!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 19, 2012:

QudsiaP1;

Thank you so much Qudsia for your very generous comment and plaudit. And nice of you to visit. I remember our correspondence of last year - it is very good to see you writing regularly!

Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 19, 2012:

wewillmake;

Thank you very much for your visit and comment. It is appreciated very much.

sgbrown;

It's very nice of you to offer those comments. And thanks for the votes too. Please you have a good day too.

Alun

QudsiaP1 on May 19, 2012:

Oh my GOD the pictures are absolutely gorgeous! You are extremely talented. This hub added brilliance to my day, thank you so much. :)

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 18, 2012:

Natashalh;

I really appreciate your very warm and nice comments, and if I really have contributed or helped at all with these tips, then that is the best reward for writing the article. Cheers.

Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 18, 2012:

RTalloni;

Thanks very much for your visit and kind comments. I am grateful. Cheers.

Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 18, 2012:

Cyndi10;

I really thank you for your lovely comment. Hope if you try your hand at a black backdrop it works for you. Of course it doesn't have to be black - Sometimes white or other colours or patterns work well, but its very nature means that black does nothing at all to detract from or compete with a flower or other similar subject.

Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 18, 2012:

tobusiness;

Thank you very much for the plaudits and the votes. Don't overdo it in the garden - gardens are for enjoying as well as working! :-)

Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 18, 2012:

Hyphenbird;

A big thank you for your visit and really nice comment. I'm really grateful.

Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 18, 2012:

Lesley;

Many thanks for your visit and very generous comment. So pleased you liked the photos. And thanks hugely for the fan mail, and for sharing the page. It was very much appreciated.

Alun

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 18, 2012:

Your photos are beautiful! I like the idea of the black background too. Very good information here as well. Voted up and useful. Have a beautiful day.

wewillmake from kerala-INDIA on May 18, 2012:

Its very nice to see a scenery or a plant or a flower . TO take its photo and making a portrait make its more beautiful and memorable.

Natasha from Hawaii on May 18, 2012:

Thank you for the amazing advice. I love photographing flowers, and I'm definitely a person with a normal-type camera. I can't wait to use these tips! Voted up, useful, and beautiful.

RTalloni on May 18, 2012:

Thanks for this info on your photography work with flowers and plants. The photos are beautiful. Difficult to choose, but because of the coloring and the trendy portrait style. I've enjoyed learning more about photographing flowers and you offer some new ideas here.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on May 18, 2012:

Your photos are gorgeous! Voted awesome. I love flowers and they are my favorite for pictures: pure beauty. Anyway, as an amateur, I'm forever taking pictures of flowers anywhere. Thanks for the tip on the black cloth backdrop. Not sure why I never thought of that. Anyway, the majority of the flowers (maybe all, I can't remember) on my hubs are photos I took. My favorite is the rose at my hub on meditation. Thanks so much for giving us your tips and showing your photos!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on May 18, 2012:

Very informative hub, the images are beautiful. You've just shamed me into doing some work in the garden.

great article, voting up and very useful.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on May 18, 2012:

Your photographs are incredibly clear and detailed. Your information is helpful and interesting. Thank you for this great Hub which is really a tutorial. I love it.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on May 18, 2012:

Hi Alun, there is so much to learn and enjoy from this wonderful hub.

I love your use of light and backdrops - fabulous photos!

Voting up and shared.

Best wishes Lesley

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on March 31, 2012:

Thanks so much 2uesday for paying another visit to this page. And thanks for such nice comments.

Glad you like the black backdrop. It can make exposure a little difficult at times (as the background is so much darker than the foreground), but I usually find that just by exposing at the centre of the flower or across the whole frame is OK. Sometimes I then underexpose by one stop just to accentuate the vibrancy of the flower colour and to ensure the black remains pitch black.

2uesday on March 31, 2012:

I just took another look at this page, the flower photos are impressive. Why have I never tried taking photos of flowers against a dark backdrop? It cuts down on the distraction of the background that is a challenge at times. Yet, the poppy in focus against a the green of the field is perfect too.

travel-O-grapher from Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 22, 2011:

Like your photos.. thanx for sharing

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on December 01, 2011:

Thank you jill of alltrades.

As I respect your abilities as a photographer hugely, your compliments regarding my photos mean a lot to me.

I may say that having read just one or two of your pages, I look forward to reading many more (and maybe borrowing a few ideas for photographic subjects !!)

Cheers. Alun

jill of alltrades from Philippines on November 30, 2011:

Beautiful Alun! It's like visiting a beautiful garden! I love your photos!

Rated up and beautiful!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 28, 2011:

Kitty thank you so much for visiting. I think I understand and I hope and believe your life will be good.

kitty on November 28, 2011:

How beautiful flowers, Hope my life will like this ....

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 22, 2011:

Thanks bdmatboard for that comment. And welcome to HubPages

bdmatboard from Michigan on November 22, 2011:

Beautiful captures! Love the colorful flowers.Thanks for sharing the tips!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 21, 2011:

itops, thanks a lot for those nice comments about the photos. Appreciated.

itops from the sea on November 20, 2011:

These images are really nice closeups of flowers. The flowers you have are picture perfect!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 18, 2011:

sweetie, thank you for those very nice comments. Thanks for visiting the page, and glad you liked it.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 18, 2011:

Derdriu, thanks so much for your best wishes and support! I'm really grateful. (Though there are some good photographers out there, so the competition is tough; I won't be holding my breath! Still, I'm giving it my best shot).

As for creative writing, well I really like trying my hand at that, but the ideas don't flow very freely which is why I've only written a few such pages so far. This month I decided to concentrate on the photography, and it's taken me all my time just to write a handful of pages for the photo gallery).

You didn't have a temptation to try your hand at any of the competitions?

sweetie1 from India on November 18, 2011:

Very beautiful pictures taken by you. I think it is your garden so you must have worked very hard to grow these beautiful flowers. Loved you pics a lot.

Derdriu on November 17, 2011:

Alun: Wow! What a cultivator, photographer and writer you are! May you win in the contest as you so well deserve!

Derdriu

P.S. Do you have any 50 word stories or poems for the creative writing or poetry components to the contest?

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 17, 2011:

Derdriu, I'm glad you've seen this page, knowing how much you like the plant world. Glad you liked the Orchid and Dahlia, which are both among the photos I'm most pleased with. And I was pleased at how well the leaves and Dandelion seed heads came out (I think I wasted a few seed heads - the slightest touch of the stems and the seeds started falling off!) I've been scanning quite a few of my transparencies in the past few days inspired by the photo competition HubPages is running, so that's how I came to publish this page at this time.

Of the photos here, all the cacti are in my collection (I have over 150 cacti and succulents in a greenhouse). All the pot plants, and almost all of the other shrubs and smaller perennials were photographed either in my own house and garden or in my parents' former home. Just three, including the field poppy and daisies, were photographed in the countryside, and one was shot in a Botanical Gardens. Only one picture was taken on my travels - the Water Hyacinth was photographed in Costa Rica.

Thank you for your very kind comments and compliments on both the photos and the text Derdriu. Cheers. Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 17, 2011:

Thanks tobusiness for visiting, and for the compliment.

Derdriu on November 17, 2011:

Alun/Greensleeves Hubs: What a beautifully and generously illustrative way to share sage tips from your experience as an expert photographer! The black backdrop is dramatically effective and emphatic: it is easy to concentrate on color, structure and texture without distractions. Your explanatory text merges harmoniously with the relevant examples. All of the photos work magnificently, and particularly the black dahlia and the white orchid as well as the non-floral shots and all of the cacti.

Thank you for sharing, voted up, etc.,

Derdriu

P.S. Are these plants all from your own home-grown collection? You are quite a cultivator.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on November 17, 2011:

Stunningly beautiful flowers, thank you for the tips

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 16, 2011:

Dobson - thanks for your appreciation of the page and comments.

FloraBreenRobison - Thankyou for visiting another of my pages. Very glad you liked the photos so much. Nice to hear from you.

Dobson from Virginia on November 16, 2011:

GS -You have a great eye. I have always loved the colors and textures offered by flowers. It is such a rich palette that few people stop to admire. Thanks for this offering.

FloraBreenRobison on November 16, 2011:

These are absolutely stunning. My favourites are the black cloth backdrop pictures.

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 16, 2011:

Kim Heeter - Thanks for your nice comment about the photos. I see you've only recently started writing on HubPages. So I offer my best wishes. Hope you enjoy the experience!

2uesday - Many thanks for visiting again and for leaving such a nice comment. Really glad you liked it. Cheers!

Ralph Deeds - many thanks for your comment (and for the fan mail). We seem to have a few interests in common, so I'll be taking a look at your pages.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on November 16, 2011:

Lovely photographs - warms my heart!

2uesday on November 16, 2011:

This is a beautiful page, the photos show wonderful examples of the flowers. The pictures are good at conveying the texture and details of the flowers and leaves too.

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on November 16, 2011:

Outstanding photographs and helpful advice.

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