Buddleia blooms at the bottom of our garden; 10 July 2014.

I’ve waddled down the garden a few times early on these soft and wonderful summer mornings, and enjoyed the stillness and lushness immensely.  Yesterday, in addition to the Swifts screaming overhead, there was an unknown song from the jungle on the other side of the back fence.  I gently hissed and pished at it a bit, and in due course a male Blackcap popped into view to see who I was. 

Pished?  Its a birding technique most effective in North America, where hissing and making “pish” noises drives warblers crazy, such that, otherwise obscure in dense vegetation, they at once spring into view.  And it works here in the UK a bit too, and in Africa.  This Blackcap’s provenance is uncertain.  He may be one of the increasing number that remain in the UK throughout the winter, or he may have made the journey up from sub-Saharan Africa just to breed in the thickets behind our back fence.

And I’m really not a gardener, but I did hear that severely pruning Buddleias in the spring brings of floods of blooms later on and so, having made a note an age ago in my diary, I got out there and hacked it to blazes awhile back, and we’re now reaping the rewards.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D800 with 50mm Nikkor lens used in DX format at 75mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and selectively restoring colour.

UPDATE: this image is an example on my Mono + Colour work, where I read a colour image into Silver Efex’s black and white, and then use Silver Efex to restore one or more of the image’s original colours.  SEP2 doesn’t always get the colour restoration 100% accurate, but this can give the image a slightly strange look – which I value!  Two effects are used here.  First, I simply wanted the flowers’ colour in the shot, with no other colours – and restoring this single colour in an otherwise black and white image was the perfect solution.  Second, there is a compositional device here.  My eye is drawn immediately to the bloom on the right, which is both in focus and the largest area of colour in the frame – it is close in to us, it’s tiny flowers are peering out of the frame at us.  Then my eye goes left to the second bloom, which is out of focus and smaller, and then it is taken on left again to the very diffuse areas of colour on the left.  In this way, my gaze is drawn into and back through the picture.  Does this have the same effect on your gaze???


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. bluebrightly says:

    Yes on where my eyes go…because of the focus difference, and smaller size, and softer color in the blooms behind, as you say. I haven’t done much selective color processing and want to know how you did it – maybe I just have to look more carefully in Silver Efex? I thought once the image was converted to B&W the color was gone. Not so obviously. Much to learn.
    Pishing – yes, what an exciting discovery when I was about 20 and started going out with “real” birders. I lived on the east coast then, a great place for warblers. Where I am now isn’t so good for them – oh well, at least I don’t kill my neck in the Spring. And pishing doesn’t seem as fruitful as it used to. But that’s very cool that it brought the little blackcap out – I looked it up – a smart and dapper fella.
    Buddleias…I understand some Brits hate them because they grow like weeds. Back east that was hard to believe but now I see it. Here, where winters are far less harsh, they escape quite easily. There was an abandoned railroad track nearby that was full of them, in many different colors… just like weeds, sprung up between the ties. I loved it, but wouldn’t you know, someone had to clean them out! A pity. I love wild, abandoned places and they are harder and harder to come by. Glad the pruning worked –


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Lynn, thanks for this great big bundle of thoughts – its always very good hearing from you.

      OK – restoring colour in Silver Efex >>> secrets (confessions???) of a FATman!!! Get a colour image into SEP2, and place a Control Point on any colour you want to restore (>1 C Points can be used to restore >1 colours NB). When you first put a Control Point onto the image, it will only show 3 options, which are Br, Co, St – but under St there is a little down arrow that you can click on >>> do this and 4 more options are revealed, of which the bottom one is SC >>> pull the SC slider to the right, and your colour will appear!!! If you put further Control Points onto the image, they will display all options immediately.

      2 useful techniques. First, do what I’ve described above to reveal a colour, and then just drag the Control Point around the image to see what other colours appear. Second, if an area of your image is affected by a Control Point with any number of effects, placing another Control Point within the circle of influence of the first CP nullifies the first CP’s effects within the circle of the 2nd CP. So, for example, you could have part of a face with restored flesh colour, part without.

      Any more SEP2 or LR questions, let me know. I’m always ready to help. A 🙂


  2. I’ll need to pish and hiss and see what turns up. Meantime, these are stunning. The color! Wow!


  3. paula graham says:

    A great bush for butterflies and yes, hacking at it makes it try even harder, it rarely gives up to die. I planted a lot of them on my wildlife patch. You did well to get this colour correct …is not so easy.


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