Macro Rhododendron

It's spring in Maine and I decided to visit the Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor as it comes into bloom. Frankly, photographing flowers usually bores me, so I tried mixing it up this year with some different angles using a macro lens. This lens was made back in the mid-70's and still produces some wonderful results. Though it's a 55mm lens, when paired with the D800, there is plenty of detail to crop down the shot. Here's my favorite shot of the day with all the details of my post-processing in Lightroom. To learn how to create images like this, consider taking one of my nature photography workshops in Acadia National Park.

EXIF data: Nikon D800, 55mm (macro), f/5.6, 1/100 secs, ISO 200, 6/7/14, 4:20 PM

Blooming Rhododendron, Asticou Azalea Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine

Below are my post-processing steps in Lightroom, starting with the raw file.

First I tried a square crop. All the editing happened with the square crop.

Add some sharpening (+39) and adjusted the Tone Curve for a bit of contrast (an s-curve shape) making the darks darker and lights lighter.

Now for some very subtle tweaks on the Basic panel mostly to brighten the flower and darken the background: Highlights (+5), Whites (+5), Vibrance (+6) and Post-Crop Vignette (-8).

Okay, it's a good looking flower with pretty colors, but missing energy. I tried a few different crops before settling on this one.

As a bonus, here's my second favorite shot from that day - some white flower thingy. Enjoy!

White Flower, Asticou Azalea Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine