Raindrops On Roses

*** myPhotoWalk — Photo Tech Talk ***

I heard the downpour of rain in the night where I was staying in Newport Beach, California. I had just finished a series of Quiet Time Ministries speaking engagements and should have been sleeping. But the rain fell hard and kept me awake. I only thought of one thing at the time. There are going to be amazing raindrops on those roses in the garden tomorrow morning. It’s a funny thing what goes through your mind when you are passionate about photography. You’re always thinking about making images. I’m not interested in taking pictures, but making images. When you make an image, you take time to focus on the composition and look at the details to capture the very best image possible and tell a story that deeply touches a person’s heart and soul.

So I have this new Micro-Nikkor 200mm lens that is fast becoming my favorite lens. And I am completely obsessed with flower photography right now. I can’t help it. For one thing, flowers are just plain amazing and beautiful. I had walked along the path a couple of days before there in Newport Beach and happened upon a rose garden that was incredible. I love roses. Even my china pattern is Old Country Roses. What can I say? Roses are my favorite flower. I absolutely knew I was coming back to that place. I just didn’t know it would be after a wonderful rain that would leave thousands of drops on those delicate petals.

So I grabbed my tripod, my Nikon D810, and that luscious Micro-Nikkor 200mm lens that just gets it done when it comes to capturing the details. I took off in my car for the rose garden. I didn’t want to miss the light of the morning in capturing those raindrops.

So when I got to the rose garden, I noticed that some of the big yellow roses that had been so full and beautiful before, were now completely wilted after the rain. I was sad about that because I had specifically come to capture one rose in particular. But happily, there were so many other beauties that I soon forgot about the one lost rose.

In capturing images of the different roses, I set aside my tripod at times and shot handheld with a higher ISO to allow for a high shutter speed so my photos would be crisp and clear. Some of the roses were in positions unreachable with the tripod setup. When I could, I shot with the tripod to get the absolute best image possible. I also shot on manual focus at times and auto focus when possible. I shifted to manual focus when the lens just couldn’t seem to find the flower. I have found that the camera does a great job at finding focus most of the time, so auto focus is my preference. I always shoot aperture priority (AP on the Nikon D810) so that I can control depth of field, especially for shooting flowers. I have discovered that choosing the aperture in shooting macro and closeups of flowers is a fine dance between the clarity of the petals and the soft buttery blur of the background. And then, it’s my decision how much of the flower will be in focus. I may choose to have only a few petals crisp and clear shooting wide open or the entire flower by stopping down the aperture (but not all the way because I still want the blurred bokeh of the background).

I shot at least 200 different images, but selected one as my very favorite. It’s how the light falls on the delicate petals. And then the raindrops on the rose — they’re just everywhere. I call this The Rose With Tears. It makes me think of my mother, who loved roses.

For this rose image, I shot handheld at f/8 because I wanted the upper-central petals of this beautiful flower with the raindrops lit by the sun to be crisp and clear and then fade away into the background. I also set an ISO of 1600 to allow for a 1/1250 shutter speed to compensate for the handheld capture. I set the camera to CH (Continuous High), taking as many frames per second as possible since there was a slight wind and the flower was occasionally moving. I wanted to stop the motion and get a crisp, clear image.

I processed this beauty of a rose using a special Topaz Impression Painting filter for the background. I used a Layer Mask in Adobe Photoshop to leave the Rose in pristine form and full clarity and added the Impression filter only to the background with a small amount of opacity. I chose this technique to make it clear that a flower this beautiful is truly a work of art, created by God, the Master Designer. So the next time it rains, grab your camera, and go make some amazing images of flowers in God’s creation.

This The Rose With Tears image will be the first in what I will call my Rose Collection at myPhotoWalk — SmugMug in the future. Stay tuned.

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


myPhotoWalk Devotional

Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
Hebrews 10:35

myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: The Rose With Tears
  • Description: My favorite of all the roses with raindrops in Newport Beach, CA, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 05/06/16
  • Camera: Nikon D810, Micro-Nikkor 200mm, FL 200mm, ISO 1600, f/8, 1/1250sec.
  • Photoshoot: myPhotoWalk PhotoShoot in Newport Beach, CA, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, Nik Software, On1 Photo 10 Software, Topaz Software.
  • Copyright ©2018 Catherine Martin – myPhotoWalk™ – Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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