Back to the Iris Garden

On my way to the Point Defiance Rose Garden, I first stopped by the Iris Garden across the street because it was closer to where I parked. I could immediately tell that many of the Iris were past their prime, and the garden wasn’t nearly as striking as when I first photographed it several weeks ago.

I’ve been taking flower photos since I moved to Tacoma around 2005 and am finding it difficult to improve on shots I’ve already taken. So, I decided to try using a tripod and HDR to better capture the full range of colors in the flowers. Since I recently took Iris shots using my new camera handheld, I thought this might provide a nice basis for comparison.

I thought these two iris were particularly striking, this one


primarily for its vivid colors, which I was able to accentuate through the use of Photomatix Pro. I suspect that using HDR did do a better job of capturing the full range of colors in the flower.

My favorite shot, though, was this simple yellow and white iris; here is the “normal” shot I got when if I took a single exposure with my camera.


Here’s the shot I got by combining three different exposures in Photomatix Pro. There’s definitely a lot more detail in this version and the background is much blacker than in the original.


I like this HDR version a lot. Except for the dark background, this comes much closer to the flower I saw when I took the picture.

Of course, perhaps a high-quality f1.4 lens would bring even more of the flower in focus at this range and perhaps make it an even more striking picture, all without the use of HDR. Photography constantly presents new challenges and, like any art, constantly demands that you see your subject in new ways.

2 thoughts on “Back to the Iris Garden”

  1. I agree Loren. That last shot is beautiful. I love the edging on the petals – iris is one of my favourite flowers – how I would love a whole garden of them.

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