Finding Photos

Hybrid Monkey Hand Trre flower >>> x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (aka  Chiranthofremontia); yellow flowering shrub at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

It is a great joy to be hunting for photographs in a garden.  Having a camera in hand (or on a tripod) is an excuse to look carefully, to find a photo that will do justice to the beauty of plants.

Berberis nevinii - Nevin's Barberry (Mahonia) Yellow flowering California native shrub with Redbud tree Cercis occidentalis

Finding a photo is a deliberate process and I frequently find myself looking for color combinations and carefully lining up blocks of color.

During a recent visit to the great California native plant garden, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Southern California, the native redbud trees were in full bloom and used them quite a bit to add color to many of my photographs.

I am working on a series of photographs on California native shrubs, so when I saw this bright yellow flowering Mahonia (Berberis nevinii) in front of a redbud I knew I had found a picture.

Berberis nevinii - Nevin's Barberry (Mahonia) Yellow flowering California native shrub

Careful cropping, and using the four outer edges of the camera frame helped me define the composition. This illustrates my number one principal in my PhotoBotanic workshops – fill the frame. Use the entire area  of your camera viewfinder to your advantage.

A good photo of this blue flowering Ceanothus shrub was not quite so obvious. Unlike the yellow Mahonia, the Ceanothus is a much smaller plant and the blue recedes into the background.

Ceanothus flowering in front of Redbud Tree

But I wanted the blue to be in the foreground and with a redbud nearby it was just a matter of carefully looking, finding the photo.

Ceanothus 'Ray Hartman' - California Wild Lilac, blue flowering native shrub

Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’ – California Wild Lilac, blue flowering native shrub

The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has a long history of plant introductions and was the first to create the Hybrid Monkey Hand tree, an inter-generic cross between two different genus, called Chiranthomontodendron lenzii.  Now that’s a mouthful – let’s just call it the Monkey Hand tree.

This huge specimen is the largest one in cultivation, it was in full bloom, and I was determined to make a special photograph.

Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (aka Chiranthofremontia); yellow flowering Monkey Hand shrub at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

There were Ceanothus and Redbuds flowering around it and I finally found an angle to bring them all into one composition.

Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (aka Chiranthofremontia); hybrid Monkey Hand tree, inter- generic hybrid between Chiranthodendron and Fremontodendron 'Pacific Sunset'; yellow flowering shrub at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

All it takes really is just a hint of those colors to make the photo.

I spent quite some time on this final composition, loving every minute of it as an excuse to study this extraordinary flower, and lining up the other colors.

Hybrid Monkey Hand Tree with yellow flowers: x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (aka Chiranthofremontia); inter- generic hybrid between Chiranthodendron and Fremontodendron 'Pacific Sunset'; yellow flowering shrub at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

After I made the final composition and worked on it in the computer, I took the image one step farther and made a photo painting using a watercolor filter by Topaz  in Photoshop.

Hybrid Monkey Hand Trre flower >>> x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (aka Chiranthofremontia); yellow flowering shrub at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

And I continued to work on these wonderful golden flowers of the Hybrid Monkey Hand Tree. I extracted the flower from its background and made this PhotoBotanic illustration.

Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (aka Chiranthofremontia); hybrid Monkey Hand tree, extraction photobotanic silhouette

I  both found the photo – and made the photo. What fun to have the chance to study a plant so carefully.

from Gardening Gone Wild http://gardeninggonewild.com/?p=29913

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