Ribes Extraction

March 31, 2014 · 2 comments

This illustration of Ribes sanguineum is a photobotanic extraction.  An extraction from the natural world, from my garden.  Botanic illustrators have the advantage of drawing from nature, piecing together an ideal.  Photographers have Photoshop.

For as long as I have used PhotoBotanic to describe my business, I have considered botanic illustration as the height of my craft.  Most of the time my job has been to illustrate plants in gardens, to help gardeners understand how a plant fits into a garden.  A botanic illustration does not really help a gardener visualize a plant in a garden setting.  But I do love the plants in the garden, and do love the process of drawing out a photobotanic illustration directly from a garden photograph.

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Simplified Amaryllis

February 24, 2014
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This art exploration is a funny thing.  I get awfully excited about new techniques and new tools and then wonder where the inspiration comes from.  I imagine how I want an image to go, and when I finish it may often seem vaguely derivative of something I must have seen somewhere. Didn’t Georgia O’Keefe master [...]

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Camellia ‘Tulip Time’

January 25, 2014
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I am finding great satisfaction exploring these botanic illustrations, that I call PhotoBotanic illustrations.  Not only do my eyes see these two dimensional views more readily these days, I get to explore Photoshop. Here, I am trying new background techniques with layer masks as I “extract” my illustration from the garden.  I have done several [...]

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Orange Knifophia in Perennial Border

August 31, 2013
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Straight photos of gardens sometimes frustrate me.  For a couple years now I have been grappling with my changed eyesight and exploring ways to show what I see. Perhaps because of those explorations I find I am less interested in, even distracted by, the detail of a straight photo. Gary Ratway, of Digging Dog Nursery, [...]

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High Pass Rendering

May 30, 2013
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Stumbling around Photoshop I came upon the High Pass filter.  I think it is designed as a sharpening tool but can create a near woodblock effect.  Hooray ! For as long as I have used Photoshop and various photo manipulation tools, I have wanted to create this rendering style.  Lines delicately defined, outlining graphic shapes, [...]

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Flowers – Spring Trials

April 29, 2013
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It is hard for me to resist flowers.  I tell myself I garden for foliage and texture, for habitat and native plants, but when presented with flowers I am a glutton. I can not resist the abundant profusion of the California Spring Trials where flowers are on show by the millions.  I go to the [...]

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The Blur

March 30, 2013
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Usually I forget that my left eye is blurred.  In moments of despair it think it is useless.  Occasionally I will try to analyze what it sees. On this day, an early spring day that pulled me away from my office, a day that I simply needed to see if I could see photos, I [...]

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holt_361_1400sq_aj_op_ca_smfybr_ltef_upres_noisemedian7

February 28, 2013
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What the heck is holt_361_1400sq_aj_op_ca_smfybr_ltef_upres_noisemedian7 ?! Such cryptic code for such a fine rendering of this Chilean Wine Palm.  The string of code is actually my file number of the final state.  As I move from one state of the image to the next, as I apply different effects and filters I save various stages [...]

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Gifts in Sherry’s Garden

January 31, 2013
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I am overwhelmed with the possibilities. It begins in the garden, any good garden where I may be blessed to work.  Here, Sherry Merciari’s complex Hortisexual garden.  (Hortisexuals being the band of horticulturally obsessed who use their garden as a way to contain their plant lust.)  But any good garden offers a photographer many possibilities. [...]

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Peeling Bark

December 31, 2012
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I see what I see, even if I can’t show it very well on a blog.  Here, the peeling bark of a Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora) has been transformed into elegant orange, rust, and mahogany brush strokes with the Topaz Simplify3 filter.  It looks great in the print but it is hard to convey the effect in [...]

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