The Plant Kingdom greeted the cool, wet spring with luxuriant abandon. All green things, great and small, burst forth in great vitality — all, that is, except the Siberian Irises in our garden by the pond. They came out in good number, as usual, but they struggled, rarely developing fully or lasting more than a day.

Truth be told, they are always short-lived here by the pond, where it is cooler, and they make their appearance a good two weeks later than those of my neighbor, just half a block uphill from the pond. You’d think something called “Siberian” would thrive in the cold, but alas, this is a cultivar, named “Caesar’s Brother.”

With uncharacteristic patience, I kept watch, and finally spied two good enough to show off my new, small camera’s talent for capturing fine details — but even these two reveal a little wear in places, if you look closely.

None, of course, will ever compare to the prime specimen I recorded last year, a near-perfect example of an extravagant flower.

Strictly speaking, these two photos should have been included in the previous post, Spring Garden 2013, but their vertical orientation made that awkward.

These were captured a day apart in June 2013, on the 5th and 6th, respectively. They appear softly delicate – even pale – when compared to others of their kind I’ve taken under brighter conditions, producing far more saturated colors. You can see one such example here. In fact, the latter looks a bit over-saturated on my computer screen, by comparison.

An added benefit of the soft lighting is the three-dimensionality it imparts to the flowers, a subtle quality more evident when the photos are viewed in low light.

Update: A reader wrote to ask about the lighting conditions. It was overcast when I took these photos, and not too bright, but the light was still luminous, not the dead, flat light of a darkly overcast sky. I like to keep things simple and natural, so I don’t use lighting equipment; I just sit tight and wait for the right light.

What is the right light for me? It can be the glancing light of a low sun, or as here, the softly luminous and shadowless light of an overcast sky. The former is alive with hints of blue and gold, the latter with blue, red or orange notes. By contrast, the light from a darkly overcast sky is gray and lifeless.

Click an image to view it full screen, and click the back arrow to return. Cursor over for the description.
Related: Spring Garden 2014*, Spring Garden 2013*, Siberian Iris*, Photography as Art*, Glancing Light*.


4 Responses to Siberian Iris II

  1. Robin Mirollo says:

    The 3-D effect is really cool! Beautiful photo. I checked out last year’s stunning photo too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dick Quinn says:

    In the first pic, bokeh textures the background, making for an exciting 3D iris. Lovely, Ron.

  3. Terry Sullivan says:

    Ron, terrific photo of Siberian Iris. Colors and texture are wonderful.
    Was it cloudy when you took your photo or did you use a cloth filter above plant?

    • Ron Cohen says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Terry. In answer to your question, it was overcast when I took both of these photos. I try to keep things simple, so I simply sit tight and wait for the right light. For more details, see my Update to the post.

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