Location: Biltmore House, Asheville, North Carolina
Date: April 7, 2013
Copyright and comment: snapdragginphoto
It was taken last Sunday, April 7 at the Biltmore House gardens in Asheville, North Carolina. Narcissus, or daffodils, herald the coming of spring just about everywhere spring is heralded (who’s Herald and what’s he got to do with this?). It’s no different here in the Walled Garden at Biltmore House www.biltmore.com/. While the tulips were a no-show at this point, these narcissus were all too happy to oblige. I use a Gitzo Explorer tripod with a centerpost that can pivot… perfect for getting down at ground level for this type of shot. I positioned it so that the forsythia beyond the gate helped to round out the narcissus. After setting the focus, all I had to do was wait around with the remote release for the wind to stop moving and for people to keep moving. That “wait around” part seemed like an hour, though more likely was about 15 minutes… either way, I think the image was worth it.
For those using Photoshop: These types of images, with a definite point of interest, are perfect for adding a vignette… it draws the eye to that point of interest. Though Lightroom has a “vignette” setting, a subtler and more controllable way to do it is through Photoshop. Select the “Elliptical Marquee” tool (the round one) by pressing “M” (if it doesn’t show up immediately, repress “M” until it does). Use it to make a selection around the focal point. In this image, I used an oval just large enough to cover the forsythia and the narcissus… the right side of it extended beyond the image, but that doesn’t matter. Go to the top tabs for Select>Modify>Feather, and enter a high setting of 400 pixels or more (for this image, I set it to 700 pixels) to soften the edges. Invert the selection by hitting ctrl/shift/I, then ctrl/J to put the selection on its own layer (ctrl = command for you Mac users). Change the blend mode on that layer from “Normal” to “Multiply”, then use the “Opacity” slider for a more suitable percentage (this image was set to 40%). Flatten the layers, and you’re done. Works nicely on big landscapes, too… just be judicious with the percentage of that “Opacity” slider.