new year botanicals

January 06, 2020  •  6 Comments

It is hard to think of a better way to begin a photographic year than with "in-your-face" red of amaryllis blossoms.  They are such a great subject in all stages that I had to spend some time shooting them.  Using several different black backgrounds and rendering them to show the various depths and darkness of those blacks, it was an excellent exercise to begin the year.  In the end, I cannot chose a favorite.  Each is different and interesting.

In the first example, the wax in which the bulb is encased and the flowers are almost a muted red, with the black going from deep black to medium grey because way I chose to situate it in the light.

amaryllis in wax 4amaryllis in wax 4

In the second example the background is a slightly more uniform grey.

amaryllis in wax 1amaryllis in wax 1

Example # 3 is lit from left to right but the background is closer to uniform grey.  The backdrops share all their gnarly glory with spots and variations.  I think this particular shot is closer to the concept of botanical drawing or painting.

amaryllis in wax 2amaryllis in wax 2

I made the shot below a little darker, making the amaryllis stand out more against the grey/black background.

amaryllis in wax 5amaryllis in wax 5

This final color photograph has a lot of added black, which leaves no variation in the background, and giving the flowers a much bolder and other-worldly look.

amaryllis in wax 3amaryllis in wax 3

Finally, the toned version below shows that black and white is also effective for this type of botanical.

amaryllis tonedamaryllis toned


Thanks to Ingrid and Robert for today's subject matter and creative suggestions, and to all of you who commented this week including Geula, Marilyn, Karen, Christina, Orlando, Wayne, Terry T., Dianne, Jean and Sam, Catherine, Kelly S., Barbara, Lisa, Victoria, Bill and Sue, Debra, Karla, Steve, Elida, and Donna C. Many thanks!  

until next Monday,


a passion for the [email protected]


Catherine Sobredo(non-registered)
Beautiful captures with lighting techniques. This beautiful amaryllis is particularly striking in #4. And yet I love them all. The gradual change in lighting is subtle and highly interesting. Beautiful work Daryl! Thank you!
Dianne James(non-registered)
The flowers are so beautiful. It's amazing how much difference the background makes. Thanks for a glimpse into your work. You guys stay warm. "Spring is on the way", I keep telling my snow-ensconced self. :)
Elida hanson-finelli(non-registered)
#4 catches my eye the most. The placement of the light and grey..... beautiful! Thanks for reminding me of this experimentation process with light, form and color! Happy New Year ,
Thank you for featuring the little amaryllis. You do it honor. I especially love the strong contrast of flower and background as well as the sheen on the red base in # 4 and # 5.
Steve Immel(non-registered)
The amaryllis series is the perfect way to start the New Year, Daryl. I'm impressed by your continuing exploration of lighting treatments for florals. Like Terry I think the flower is best served by color. And you know I lean toward black and white. The red of the flower is essential to capturing its beauty. And I agree with Terry that image four is the best as it gives the plant more volume than image five. It was close though.

Happy New Year to you and Fred
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