More From Oregon

Swan Island Dahlia


Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography

Before the start of my Swan Island Dahlia workshop my friend and host Eloise Carson and I decided to play around with some Rain-X to create some fun images. I first tried this technique several years ago and while I like the look of some of them I still find it to be a bit of a novelty BUT still a lot of fun to play around with and you never know what you’ll come up with! Our set up was easy, we used two buckets and a sheet of clear glass with our flower in a small vase (you don’t want the vase to show up in your images -so the smaller the better). We placed the vase approx. 6 inches underneath the glass. We sprayed Rain-X on the sheet of glass and allowed it to dry. Then we used a spray bottle and sprayed water on top of the glass, it beaded up and created several water drops. Placing our camera parallel to the glass we photographed the drops experimenting with several different f-stops. I liked between an f/8 and an f/13 but some of my best effects were created focusing on the flower below the glass and letting the drops fall soft. I’ll share some of those later.


Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography
Rose ~ f/3.2


Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography

The above image was a vertical capture of a pink Dahlia. I used Nik Color Efex 4 (use code BAA to save 15%) Bleach Bypass filter and On One Software’s Perfect Effects 3 soft vignette to create the look.


Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography

When photographing flowers I always try to remember that the backside of flowers often have as much interest as the front. I decided on a slightly square crop for this image.


Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography

Eloise and I drove around the Oregon coast and happened upon this old cannery. I loved the reddish orange building with all the piers so I decided to create a Mini-World from the 3 image HDR capture. I used a variety of texture overlays and a frame from On One.

There are lots of different ways to create mini worlds; below is an easy method.
You can create mini-worlds from a great variety of images. I like to start out with either a panoramic image or an image with a landscape orientation. Open your image in Photoshop. Make sure it is in 8-bit mode (IMAGE > MODE > 8-BIT).
Next you will change the shape of the image from a rectangle to a square by hitting IMAGE > IMAGE SIZE. When the dialogue box opens uncheck the Constrain Proportions box. Then change the width to whatever the height is.
Next, rotate the image 180 degrees (IMAGE > IMAGE ROTATION > 180 degrees).
Now go to FILTER > DISTORT > POLAR CO-ORDINATES. Check the Rectangular to Polar box.) Then hit OK.
To clean up the seam duplicate the image (CtrlJ) and then hit Ctrl T for the Transform Tool. (If your image is in a floating window—a sort of framed view—you will not be able to rotate the upper layer. To get the image out of the floating window, click on the square between the x and the – symbol in the upper right corner of the frame.)
Next rotate the image in either a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction by clicking anywhere outside of the transform frame. The cursor becomes a small, curved double arrow. Drag it to rotate the upper layer so that it overlaps the seam.
Next add an Inverse Layer Mask by holding the ALT key while clicking on the Layer Mask icon. Your Layer Mask will be filled with black; paint with a soft brush at 50 to 80 % opacity with the foreground color set to white and you can paint away the seam. You may need to adjust the opacity and the size of the brush when feathering the seam.

______________________________________________________________ denise ippolito



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15 Responses

  1. Dennis Bishop says:

    What a great and diverse group of images! I really like both the soft and hard versions of the flowers, and I look forward to seeing the Rain X with the focus on the flowers instead of the drops. It was a treat to see the mini world at a larger size than on BPN. I’m not a great fan of the technique, but that one is absolutely wonderful.

    Thank you so much Dennis, I had a lot of fun creating them all. I haven’t done a mini-world in a long time and I really enjoyed putting that one together. :)

  2. Jane says:

    Love those dahlias….and from the back is wonderful….those curves and nuances are so subtle and appealing.

    Wish you could someday do a tutorial on the steps you go through to protect your images from being copied from your site. I’ve tried and haven’t had success. Copyrighting is only one teeny step, of course. As always, thanks for sharing all your gorgeous images.

    Hi Jane, wish you could have been in Portland! I use the plug-in “Blog Protector” to help discourage right clicking of images.:)

  3. Nancy T says:

    Wonderful images of the dahlias, they are beautiful…
    Will have to get some rain-x. Thanks for the mini planets tutorial.

    Thanks Nancy, the Rain-X was a lot of fun to play around with. :)

  4. Lynn Rosenkranz says:

    all I can say is WOW! Your mini planets pic is so creative. The Rain X image is also. You really know how to excite my creative juices. Thanks again for sharing your genius with me. I hope to be able to make something a fraction of your quality as I learn. Keep on providing an in inspiration for others.

    Hi Lynn, thank you so much. I appreciate the feedback and it really keeps me going :)

  5. Don Schroder says:

    Great blog post! So much to learn and try. I’ve wondered how that raindrop effect was done. I thought drops of glycerin on glass might work, too, but have never tried it. Fantastic images.

    Hi Don, thanks, I never used glycerin because I always heard you don’t need it with the Rain-X. I have used a water dropper but be careful because if the drops get too large they merge into one. Have fun and I look forward to your results! :)

  6. Edith Levy says:

    Beautiful as ever Denise. I love the second to last image. I’ve never photographed the back of flower…I’ve never realized how beautiful it can be.

    Thanks Edith, I love the back side of many flowers! :)

  7. Michael says:

    Fantastic pictures Denise, My favorite images are 2 and 4.

    Thank you Michael, I appreciate you taking a look :)

  8. Sherb Naulty says:

    Amazing work Denise! I love the rain-x shot. Very creative and great use of the background color….the gray accents the flowers in the drops wonderfully. What was your setting for the shot from the back? Nice depth of field….huge fan of the back perspective too! Thanks as always for sharing and inspiring us to be more creative in our thinking.

    Hi Sherb, I chose an f/20 for that image. There was a lot going on and by filling the frame with the flower I didn’t worry about unwanted background elements at f/20. :)

  9. John Haedo says:

    Creativity, imagination, beauty, color, technical prowess, not enough superlatives… and even they are exceeded by the passion and joy you express in your work. Thanks, you made my day!

    Hi John, thank you so much for your more than kind words. I am smiling :)

  10. Eloise Carson says:

    Astoria never has looked so exciting! Fun technique.

    Hi Eloise, I loved that old cannery and I got some nice stuff I need to still work on. I haven’t done a mini world in a long time and the cannery was a great subject. :)

  11. Beautiful images Denise. I’ll have to try the Rain X idea. Thanks for sharing. My favorite is the back of the flower. Great job.

    Thank you Phillip, much appreciated. :)

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