The Floral Dance

Firstly, apologies if you are of an age where the heading means something to you as you will now have that wretched tune stuck in your head all day.

© Dave Whenham
In the Pink (March 2018)
© Dave Whenham
Daisy Bellis – April 22nd 2008

I looked back through my files earlier today and found that the last time I seriously played with floral photography was in 2008/9! Thats pretty much right at the beginning of my digital photography journey. Back then my floral  images were very clean and literal (see example here from almost ten years ago.

My objective back then was a crisp, clean image. Good depth of field and bright vibrant colours were the order of the day and clean, neutral backdrops. I also shot a lot with off-camera flash.

The one constant is my use of a tripod. When working indoors with cut flowers it makes total sense to me to put the camera on a tripod and to move the subject to explore different compositions and possibilities. I am using natural light and reflectors more these days and, as with the Pink above, am also using a simple torch to “paint” light on to the subject.

© Dave Whenham
Same flower, but moving it around a little

As you can see my current approach is a world away from where I started. Nothing wrong with the literal approach of course but over time my artistic vision, if I can call it that, has evolved and changed.

It was the poor weather that influenced my return to the floral dance (sorry, couldn’t resist) this weekend. There are only so many shots I can take from the bedroom window; although ironically todays 365 image was shot from the bedroom window! I borrowed a single stem from the wife’s floral …..  display and put it in a small milk bottle. An old wooden box acted as backdrop for some images and as the surface for others. I lit each image simply with a handheld torch and played with depth of field often shooting the lens wide open.

© Dave Whenham
Same flower, same basic set up but a different feel

The secret to this weekend’s images though has been the use of textures. Saturdays image (above) was given a very dark treatment and the texture confined basically to the background so the bottle and flower are basically unaffected by the overlay. The first image from Sunday (below) took an image of the same flower and blended it with a shot of some bluebells taken with a Lensbaby Spark a couple of years ago. This background image was given a strong radial blur and a boost in saturation to achieve the effect you see. It’s not subtle, but it works I think.

© Dave Whenham
Give us a twirl!

The image at the top of the page was produced this afternoon and is a product of a short course entitled “Enhancing Your Images With Textures” from Definitely Dreaming (in the interest of transparency, Janet is a friend of mine). Whilst none of the Photoshop skills were new to me what was so useful about the course was the way in which it helped turn on the proverbial light bulb; video 7 is all about a thought process and approach to editing and whilst watching that the penny dropped (how many metaphors can I cram into one paragraph?)  I am now far more confident in the application, choice and use of textures and all for a very modest fee and an afternoon watching, listening and practicing.

© Dave Whenham
Three textures, one flower still.

I am sure I shall return to the floral dance (sorry!!) again in the near future!

Back in the old backyard

You may have realised that I spend a lot of time in my backyard. I often eat my breakfast sat on the upper patio (that sounds grand!) and when weather permits I like nothing better than sitting with a mug of tea and contemplating life. As well as domestic duties (note the washing line) it is also one of my main photographic locations as I’ve noted many times in my blog over the years.

© Dave Whenham
Fisheye Poppies

So what I thought I’d do this week is something that Postcard Cafe actually suggested a month or so back and that is a slideshow of just a few of my favourite backyard images both old and new. I mentioned in a previous video post that I once owned two slide projectors and struggled vainly to produce the sort of slideshow that nowadays many photographers take for granted – I’m hoping that my 2017 attempt is better than my 1977 efforts!

So enjoy this selection, I always enjoy making photographs in the old back yard and I hope you enjoy seeing them.


All images and videos are ©Dave Whenham 2016 and 2017

Music: Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Some Sigma Fun

The Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens has been a permanent fixture on the Nikon D7100 body for the last week. At this time of year I often leave the macro lens attached and the camera ready to hand. One day, one day, I will get that elusive insect in flight image I’ve been after for several years but until I do there’s always the flowers in the garden.


After a “straight” shot of the backlit poppies I started looking for opportunities to use the poppies as a backdrop to other, smaller flowers in the raised bed.


With a few of those captured I looked to open the lens up nice and wide and look to shoot through the other plants. The placement of flowers in the bed meant that the natural subject was these poppies with other flowers out of focus in the foreground to shoot through and more colour beyond as a background.

© Dave WhenhamD7100_Sigma105_Flowers_10052017_DSC_0929

Finally, my favourite from the session. Red, green, blue, yellow and a touch of white.


All images Nikon D7100, Sigma 105mm macro lens and a low wall to steady my arms!