Dark, Brooding Camellia
desktop background image of a pink Japanese camellia (乙女椿) -- Brooding Beauty straight out of the camera -- Michinoku Hot Springs (みちのく温泉) -- Nishitsugaru, Aomori, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/2014-05-02/2415 -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Brooding Beauty
straight out of the camera
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It's been a busy week. As I mentioned in my previous post, we took a weekend trip to Aomori in the far north of Japan's main island, and on the way home I came down with a cold. I'm finally feeling better today.

While driving around the mountainous coast of the far northwest corner of Japan's main island, I came across a tree full of beautiful Japanese camellia (otometsubaki · 乙女椿). They're not difficult to find, but pristine examples within easy reach and not molested by wind are a bit more difficult. I've gotten decent photos on only one other occasion, mentioned in An Amazing Day of Photography at Some Eastern-Kyoto Temples and in a followup some time later.

I haven't gone through the photos from the Aomori trip yet, but this one caught my eye while loading them into Lightroom. Maybe the bokeh isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I like this kind of shot so much (the sharp edge of the petals diffusing away into a milky blur) that I lead my blog post about the lens that took it with a similar shot taken that first time I got nice photos of a camellia.

The flower is remarkably beautiful in a Disney princess kind of way, but this shot is dark and brooding because it's underexposed, because I was stuck trying a new kind of lens CPU that gives the same wildly-erratic exposure problems that the first kind of lens CPU that I tired gave me. Sigh.

Anyway, I set the proper white balance, and applied the slight crop needed to make this desktop-background version, and here we go. Otherwise, it's just as imported into Lightroom.

I have a bazillion other photos of the same flower, so I'm sure at least a couple more will find there way to my blog sooner or later.

All 6 comments so far, oldest first...


— comment by Damien on May 2nd, 2014 at 9:54pm JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

Lovely shot and beautiful focus transition.
Quick question: I’ve seen you’ve been playing with a 200 f2 recently; amazing lens but what are your views on usability? I appreciate I’m talking to one of the few brave souls to hike around with a 300 f2 so I’m guessing the 200 is a pocket lens in comparison. I’ve been offered one at a good price but as a hobbyist not a pro, how versatile is it? I appreciate this is a ‘piece of string’ question but thought I’d ask. Thanks, Tim.

It’s a friend’s that I’ve borrowed a few times, and it produces lovely shots if you can handle the distance required. The 70-200/2.8 is much more versatile because you can unzoom with your hand instead of your feet. You’re limited with it being a prime, but in the right situation it’s wonderful. It produced some nice shots here, but was pretty inconvenient for the tight quarters, which is why I ended up using the 85mm more there. Anyway, if you have some zoom that reaches 200mm, try locking it there and seeing how it works with what you want to shoot. The weight’s not a problem for me, but YMMV. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tim on May 3rd, 2014 at 1:54am JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

This is a lovely photo. The flower looks as if it’s made of fondant (icing). Amazing that it’s not retouched, since it looks quite perfect. I think that I might recreate this for my drawing class, with the subtitle, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Henry David Thoreau. Good job.

— comment by Julia on May 3rd, 2014 at 9:47am JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

Good to hear you’re doing better, I enjoyed the series of photos you posted before. I’ve read your blog long before and it’s great to see your son grow.

You are very brave to chip your Cosina lens manually. I have the Nikkor 105mm 2.8, no chipping required. 😀

I know how you feel about macros- I just recently dusted off my macro lens and got some shots of flowers too. It’s great to be able to set out with an idea of an image you want to capture and actually be able to pull it off. It’s incredibly rewarding.

— comment by Alvin on May 4th, 2014 at 8:04am JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

Love macro flower photography!

I saw a beautiful camellia photograph a year ago. It did not take much time to find that it was yours from the article “An Amazing Day of Photography at Some Eastern-Kyoto Temples”. The edges of petals are enhanced this time, and that gives a different impression of the Japanese camellia. It is interesting.

I am based in Kyoto and should upload my work on the Japanese camellia too! Thank you, Jeffrey!!

— comment by Akiko :D on May 5th, 2014 at 7:49pm JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

I like the flower being dark and moody. Why do you need to have your lens chipped? To me it seems like a big headache. I shoot with the 80mm Zeiss from my Hasselblad 501c on a 7d and it works great. I understand that there is no lens metadata and it doesn’t matter to me. If you really need that info couldn’t you enter that in later?
Just my late night ramblings.
From Rockport Tx

The main reason is to get around Nikon’s moronic implementation of focal-length aware Auto-ISO, which is supposed to set a minimum shutter speed based upon the lens focal length, but for inexplicable reasons does not work when the lens has no CPU. It knows the focal length, but doesn’t use it for Auto ISO. Just stupid. Chipping the CPU gets around that. —Jeffrey

— comment by ed pouso on May 6th, 2014 at 2:43pm JST (10 years ago) comment permalink
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