Cellpic Sunday – 26 April 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

Spring in the Arizona deserts is unique, and when it’s been a “wet” winter, spring is just as colorful as in other parts of the country. The small hedgehog cactus is probably one of the least attractive of those desert succulents that grow in Mexico and the Southern United States. Indeed, some varieties of hedgehogs can be found as far north as South Dakota. In my opinion, the flowers of the hedgehog cacti found in Arizona are the most beautiful of the cactus family. They bloom in the spring and the cup shaped blossoms vary in color based upon the specific genus. The colors of the varieties I’ve encountered vary from rose to magenta. Though the plant is often found on the desert floor, it’s not uncommon to see a plant growing in the midst of an outcropping of rock as in this example.

About the photo: Captured with a Samsung S20U on a bright, sunny day, the camera’s auto exposure metering system set the numbers to f/3.5, 1/900 sec., ISO 25. I captured several images at different focal lengths and picked the 19 mm choice. I then cropped it some to eliminate extraneous “stuff” around the edges. I processed the image as usual with Adobe Lightroom version 6 and Luminar 4.

John Steiner

7 thoughts on “Cellpic Sunday – 26 April 2020

  1. I lived in NM for about ten years. Over the years, I had a lot of friends (who did not live anywhere near the desert) say it was brown and boring. No, it’s not! It’s beautiful!

  2. This is beautiful, John. Recently I bought Luminar 4, but apart from installing it I have not done anything with the programme. Do you find it easy to use, do you use it frequently?

    • Thank you. I really enjoy seeing hedgehogs in bloom. I started using Luminar four versions ago. It’s got it’s faults, but the artificial intelligence tools built into the program bring out details that are hidden in every photo.
      Once I learned which tools to adjust, I found I use it for almost every photo. I seldom use the presets, (looks in their language) that it comes with, preferring instead to adjust sliders to my taste for each photo.
      My work flow is to import new images into Lightroom, process any pano or HDR images there, and do basics like cropping, exposure adjustment, etc. From there, I export it to Luminar for final adjustments. The catalog in Luminar is worthless to me so I continue to use Lightroom for that function and exporting with logo, etc.
      One thing I learned is that Luminar can easily take a photo from realistic to glaringly over-processed. A gentle touch and minor changes improve the image and keep it “real”.

    • One more comment on Luminar 4. On April 14, I posted an article on how to take the photos “over the top” with sky replacement and some other features. On March 24, I posted an introduction to my use of Luminar 4 as well.

      The portrait tools in the program are pretty cool, enough to make me think I could actually take some family portraits. I am planning a post on that function next month.

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