Everglades Bouquet of fern, thistle, duck weed and snowy egret elements


Today I was intent on working through an idea for a composite for which I did not have all the images ideal for the idea. But, I felt compelled to do something. Some still life photographers do use compositing to set up their scenes bringing in objects or flowers to fill in the setting much as a painter would. I like the idea of having an inventory of flowers or objects with similar lighting so that you could plan a  basic set up  to fill in with flowers from other shoots from other days or even seasons. I wanted to  try something in my world instead of old Dutch master’s settings and objects which I see as something done exquisitely by so many other artists. Liking the idea of assembling some flowers from the swamp or glades, I thought an Everglades bouquet sounded interesting. I envisioned gathering up the purple thistles you see in the glades, aquatic pickerel weed, fire flag flowers, a wild iris,  maybe some tillandsia with the bright red bracts, a swamp lily and instead of insects or scorpions would incorporate a bird of the glades.

So despite not having images which had been shot with the idea in mind, I decided to set up something to take a picture of and then try and fill in with images I could hunt out of my files to learn on and test out the concept. So I cut some ferns from my yard for the greens background and cut some purple flowers from the roadside. They were the only ones I felt I could mooch without disturbing someone’s harmony on a Sunday morning. So I put together a basic composition to fill in…the last of the three images included here. I did find some thistle in my files and duck weed that I could darken the background for a merge. I tried to get the wild iris to work and I’d planned it to be my keystone flower, but I just couldn’t seem to make it fit. The fire flag flowers too weren’t suitable for a meld even though I really like them. Perhaps on a still day I can go to the rookery with a piece of black foam board to place behind a fire flag flower for the idea. Or do a different type of background…greenish with texture maybe. Those would drape so nicely. Oh, I did make a mistake thinking the purple flowers were Florida periwinkles; they are Mexican petunias (Ruellia simplex). Luckily the infertile kind as in the course of setting up something totally Florida, I put in an invasive species which in its infertile type is used as a colorful groundcover.

The top image is just what I ended up with when I brought in the bird, kept the water and made the flower vase the fern and lichen encrusted cypress trunk. Probably should scale down the bird a bit more but the snowy is so beautiful in that pensive pose. Image two is the set up with the flowers filled in with some fern strewn on the table. And, the third as mentioned is what I began with only with the oil filter applied. So I will keep planning as I like the idea of an Everglades still shot assembled from wild pictures, I just have to get it to work.



On this basic composition I used slices from the table
to form a frame to dress up the oil paint
filter I put on the image.


In hopes everyone has had a great weekend!



~ by Judy on August 27, 2017.

9 Responses to “Everglades Bouquet of fern, thistle, duck weed and snowy egret elements”

  1. beautiful

  2. They’re beautiful images Judy and it’s fascinating to hear how you set up the shots.

    • I think I have learned when it comes to flower arrangements it is better if you can just have all the flowers and arrange and shoot rather than importing images to arrange. It is a lot of work fitting them in. But, it is a good thought to have an inventory of flower images you could create with as a composite. Doesn’t mean I won’t be tempted to do something grand with the idea though. Thanks for commenting and thinking they are pretty.

  3. It’s funny you said you thought it might be good to reduce the egret. My impulse was just the opposite — to enlarge it! In the second image, I like the ferny things on the table, but think I’d put them only on one side — probably the left. It’s interesting to me that I found the last image too plain — it’s rare that I feel an impulse to add to an arrangement.

    It’s fascinating to read your commentary along with seeing the images. It’s not only informative, it’s thought provoking. Nicely done!

    • Still life images with flowers and critters seem to focus on the blooms and the insects or scorpions etc and smaller on the table underneath…or crawling up the stems…but smaller. So thinking of the bird in a similar fashion as to scale and I left it big, I thought. But, first reactions are interesting and that we differed there. When I work on something, I am not sure I get it as perfect as your word choices. I feel after a time I completely lose perspective either hating something good or getting attached to something shy of it getting good. I can usually see those mistakes when I look at the work much later on. Maybe that is true of many things. I remember a picture of me in the 5th grade that I hated at the time. Now I look at it and wonder what was I thinking…it is cute. Time is possibly the very best giver of perspective.

      Oh and I was surprised to see you felt the simple image needed something. LOL! I did clean up the table for you! Agreed on my ferny pile on the other image…one side I think too.

  4. It is traditional for Americans to innovate on Old World art. (Ignore the oxymoron . . . and any other moron in this comment). One of the great stylistic breakthroughs at the U.S. Mint was in 1854 when they finally put a wreath made with specifically American plant leaves on our coins.

  5. Love the idea and composition. It is just like a painting Judy the blending of all your talents.

    • I want to work that idea more of an Everglades Bouquet…to have it old style, maybe a little surreal, and with actual plants from the everglades. And that is something to figure out. I need certain flowers against the background but need to find areas I can clip a flower or two and then keep nice looking to get home and photograph. Or perhaps figure a way to do it in the field with dark background. I think it would be cool.

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