Flags of Gold

Flags of Gold

After a slow start, spring is quite advanced here in central Illinois. This year’s irises are just beginning to bloom, and yellow ones like this have not appeared yet, so I’ll get their forebears from last year to stand in for me while I wait for an opportunity to take some new pictures. ­čÖé

Blooms Above, Blooms Below


Summer is more than half over and I feel like it just started, so here’s a little flashback to the very end of spring. These trees are in the courtyard of a residence hall attached to a Disciples of Christ church on Wright Street, photographed with Fuji Superia 400 in my F100.


I seem to have a thing for irises and daylilies. Not only are they both ubiquitous in local gardens, but they come in a staggering variety of colors and sizes. I used Portra 400 in my F100 for this bloom found on the walk home from the bus stop.


Taking graduation pictures with the Alma Mater statue has become an institution on the Urbana campus, and on the Saturday before the official ceremonies dozens of students and their parents lined up to give it a shot. I was also there with my F100 and a roll of Portra 400.

Class of 2015

I don’t remember it being customary to take graduation pictures with large groups of one’s friends when I was in school. Things seem to have changed, as this was one of several large groups that posed while I was there.

Selfie Stick

I can’t decide if the selfie stick is a clever and useful accessory, or the greatest blight on photography since…well, pick your favorite blight. This young man and his parents seem to have found it helpful, although I see some hesitation in their faces. A second exposure may be in order.

One Bloom, Two Blooms

Thankfully, this spring has been much milder than last, and the sakura at Japan House bloomed right on schedule in mid-April.


The Tamron 90mm macro lens shines when used as a macro lens and focused manually. It most emphatically does not shine as a replacement for a fast AF 85mm; its AF motor lacks snap and the ability to track rapidly. Since I don’t own a fast 85mm, I’ll sometimes spray-and-pray with the Tamron and hope for the best, which turned out all right for me in both these images.


Depending on the calibration of your monitor, you may or may not see subtle texture in the background of this shot. It doesn’t show up in prints made on my Epson 3880 with my usual B&W process, and I’m not sure it’s worth it to tweak the print to make it show up, as the light sakura really pop against black.

Gladdening My Lens

I developed an obsession with irises as they started blooming in May. My next-door neighbors have a lovely purple variety with yellow beards, which did nicely for a lighting/focus-stack experiment:

Gl├Ždene II

The garden outside the Krannert Art Museum boasted a giant bed of these blue-and-white beauties:


And last, but not least, we have the traditional yellow flag, which was unlucky for Isildur:

Gl├Ždene III

Next year I’ll try to get some deep red, almost brick-red blossoms a couple streets over from my house.


Because of our unusually cool spring, my beloved sakura did not make a showing this year. I drowned my sorrows in the apple blossoms outside my office building, and was even lucky enough to catch a bee:


A pair of curving brick walls topped by some decorative iron rails form a little gateway into the campus’s northernmost quadrangle. The flowering apples relieve the stark metal geometry:

Ring of Flower