Pink hellebore flower

Oh! You Pretty Things

The hellebores here were given to me from my neighbour’s garden. She knows that I photograph flowers, so she knew I would be delighted with them. A lovely gift, and one that kept me happy for a long while.

The top photograph is of a flower floating in a bowl of hellebores. I found that I preferred photographing the hellebore close-up, rather than trying to photograph the whole bowl of flowers. I think that’s partly due to the limitations of my bowl (not the most attractive) and partly because I find it much harder to create a pleasing composition from so many very varied flower heads.

It’s a lot more satisfying to me to arrange a smaller group of flower heads, especially if they are somehow related. That makes it easier to concentrate on the details of the flowers – even more so if I choose to photograph just a single flower.

I love seeing hellebores appear in early spring. They have a very exotic look which is not what I would really expect in a UK garden that is still shivering in chilly breezes. Both single and double flowers are utterly enchanting, but the doubles are just a bit more elaborate. I actually think the singles suit my garden better because of the fairly naturalistic planting here. However, I’m happy to create a slightly more formal looking area that should suit a few of the doubles – if I get a chance to buy some!

You may have noticed that I pinched my title from the David Bowie song. If you’d like to hear a very different version by Lisa Hannigan, it’s here. Enjoy!

White hellebore flowers

25 thoughts on “Oh! You Pretty Things

  1. Given the way these Hellebores ‘hang their heads,’ this seems a perfect way to photograph them. It allows you to get all those great details from the inside of the flower. I just looked through some images of the plants, and my goodness — there certainly is a variety. If we could grow them here, I might give it a try, but the verdict seems to be in: farther north in the state they’ll do fine, but here on the coast, they just won’t thrive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the easiest way to photograph them for sure. And whoever first thought of floating the flower heads in a bowl of water had a brilliant idea. They seem to like a bit of shade from the heat of the sun and soil that’s not too dry. It can get very hot in summer but they do cope here. (I do give mine a bit of water at times.)

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  2. The colours on the first photo are beautiful. Regarding the second photo, how do you isolate the image from the background? (I’m assuming you didn’t take the picture against a pure white background?) Is it something you do manually, or do you have some software that does it for you? As you can tell, I’m no photographer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a small ‘light table’ which is basically a curved piece of translucent perspex on a frame. I shine a studio light through this so that it makes the perspex a pure white and the light can also come through the flower. (Depending how translucent the flower is and how bright I have the light.) Then I have a studio flash with a softbox which gives a soft, even light and another which fires through a brolly – gives lots of control, after a bit of faffing! πŸ™‚ If there are any areas not white enough, I can use Photoshop to whiten them, but that can be a lot of work.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Like Mr. P, I had wondered about your technique used to obtain the white background. It sounds very involved (too involved for me, at least), but the result is wonderful. The flower seem to be floating in space.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had great fun going back to college as a mature student to study HND photography. (That was just before we left the Edinburgh area – feels like a long time ago!) It has made me more aware of what I’m doing in the studio. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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