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2020 Trip Chronicles:    Contents

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden 4/30 1of2
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden 5/1
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden 5/2
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden 5/6

2020 Trip Chronicles:  Page 2

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden 1of2

By the end of April, the two weeks of serpentine wildflower blooming due to our good early April rains, was past its aesthetic peak, so I wondered what else locally might be worthwhile. Well that was not going to be in any of our rural park areas as landscapes became less wet green and more dry yellow brown. Over 4 decades, all my serious photography has been in natural areas. But with shelter in place here in Santa Clara County with driving limited to our county, I decided to visit our nationally acclaimed San Jose Municipal Rose Garden city park that is just 4 miles from my residence.

www.sanjoseca.gov SJ Municipal Rose Garden

This link also contains a garden plot map and detailed information of each rose variety:

Friends of San Jose Rose Garden (FOSJRG)

I'd visited the park years ago and was aware it had been revitalized a few years before. My knowledge of cultured flowers, gardening, or cultured roses is minimal. With a couple acres of dozens of species it would also be at peak bloom. Thus got my close-up camera gear together and drove over to the park as it opened at 8am Thursday April 30, 2020 as early morning before 10am is when breezes are usually calmest, necessary for my focus stack registration. The majority of images below were shot with my Sigma F2.8 60mm lens with a few adding a 12mm extension tube. During sunny skies, would use my 32 inch collapsible diffusion disk and often used that disk and another reflective silver disk to block breezes.

SJMRG1

A key reason I had never worked cultivated flowers before is serious flower photography, especially floral vase arrangements, are often performed with expensive professional studio equipment and lighting conditions. Thus not a photography subject area amateurs can easily stand out in. However with the rise of focus stack blending multiple frames into a composite image, it is now possible to create sharp images as was never previously possible on such 3-dimensional subjects versus the classic limited depth of field bokeh style. The more serious strategy is to cut perfect blooms, bring them into studios, and photograph them in absolutely still air with optimal professional lighting while still fresh. A much more difficult task is doing so outdoors in gardens where breezes make focus stacking a difficult task in post processing and one must deal with limitations of tripod camera positions and especially backgrounds. Many of the below images required over 6 hours of my work that is primarily manually selecting small 100% pixel sections for a composite image from 10 to 30 shots where just focus points are changed at a few apertures. Note, I have not yet identified some of the flower names as I did not bother to check what I was targeting initially.

Upon arriving and walking into the rows of different colorful rose varieties, I immediately knew this was going to be a productive decision. Cultivated rose varieties are termed cultivars, with most created from non seed processes that includes hybrids that cross polinate between species. Without wasting time, I worked a group of roses named Rainbow Sorbet that grew up higher than others that I could place against the blue sky per image at page top. During my natural wildflower work, a favorite strategy is to look for flower situations where I might isolate especially blooms up against blue sky as a background.
Per FOSJRG:
Floribunda. Deep pink, yellow edges. Mild, sweet fragrance. 18 petals. Average diameter 3.5 feet. Continuous (perpetual) bloom throughout the season. Pointed, ovoid buds. Edged in deep pink, this golden yellow beauty blooms early and abundantly — and continues all season long. Remarkable disease-resistance and very winter hardy. Medium green foliage. Height of 4 to 5 feet.

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This next image above shows 2 rose blooms of Crescendo, with beautiful form and colors. Note the dew drops on petals lower frame. Would make a fine background for some poster graphic like, LOVE YOU. During the night, sprinkler watering occurs that tends to dry out quickly once sun and breezes arrive. Wild roses from the genus rosa, which these plants were developed from, have 5 petals and many anthers. Cultivars have many petals that were bred from anthers changed into petals. Per FOSJRG:
Bred by Dr. Keith W. Zary Hybrid Tea. Pink and white. Strong fragrance. 20 petals. Average diameter 5 feet. Very large, full (26-40 petals), borne mostly solitary bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. Pointed, ovoid buds. Medium, upright. Large, glossy, dark green foliage. Height of 5˝ feet.

The more difficult challenge in such large gardens with dozens to hundreds of blooms in each cultivar plot, was selecting a suitable aesthetic subject that I could set my tripod and camera up from a distance of one to three feet, reasonably equidistant, that would fill a rectangular frame with usable backgrounds. Although my 32" diffusion disk can affect direct sunlight, it cannot block bright sunny areas more than a couple feet behind a flower subject, thus I often looked for shaded areas like the above that allowed a dark background. Even with focus stacking there are limitations due to parallax errors as a lens gets closer to subjects.

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This next image above shows a well watered rose with water droplets. Rose bushes in the shade and closer to the ground tended to have more water on them. The water drops don't always positively complement an image but here do well in part because the flower itself has a spotted red nature. In fact another one a poster graphic might work with text, KISS ME.

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Returning again the next day Friday May 1, 2020, this next rose was in a patch of striking intensely saturated roses that glowed in the sunlight. Curled petals formed interesting patterns. Although I would return several times over 2 weeks, twice did not take any shots when breezes appeared early, and other times as on this day, just took a few shots before leaving. Per FOSJRG:
Bred by Christian Bédard. Miniature. Deep pink. None to mild fragrance. 17 to 33 petals. Average diameter 2.25 inches. Medium, very double, in small clusters, cupped bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. Pointed, ovoid buds. Medium, bushy, upright, well-branched. Small, glossy, dark green foliage. 7 leaflets. Height of 28 to 32 inches. Width of 20 to 24 inches. Can be used for beds and borders, cut flower or garden.

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The next day Saturday May 2, 2020, another two nicely shaped wet yellow orange pink blooms with water droplets. For such subjects, I do not add shots to bring non-subject background elements also into to sharp focus, especially if darker. I will add a shot or two at say F18 focused on background leaves, stems that are close enough to a subject that would otherwise be too close to render well out of focus.

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Here are two quite different looking blooms on the same bush that is common with some of these hybrid varieties. Many blooms go through a sequences of color and form changes from bud opening through peak bloom. Orange juice below shook cherry soda.

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This is named Violet's Pride another Floribunda variety. There were many of these lavender to lilac hued wet roses not fully yet expanded out from buds that had interesting concentric shells of petals. Cultivars like this cannot produce rosehip seeds because the density of petals prevents bees reaching inner flower parts. I ate some of the petals imagining they tasted like sweet wine.
Per FOSJRG:
Hybridizer: Christian Bédard. Floribunda. Lavender, fuchsia to magenta center, lavender reverse. Strong, fruity, spice fragrance. 35 petals. Average diameter 3.75 feet. Full (26-40 petals), in large clusters bloom form. Medium, bushy, rounded. Large, glossy, dark green foliage. Height of 30 to 60 inches. Can be used for garden. Disease susceptibility: disease resistant.

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There were many cultivars with striped marbled colors, usually against white or light pink. With this variety, the center flower is a purple with surrounding flowers pink rose. Here the background out of focus areas were in diffuse light of a cloudy morning. This was one of several subjects where I did not do an adequate job noting the rose sign to be able to later recall its name. Might be a Parade Day?

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Another striped marbled cultivar, Tropical Lightning, that was growing on a walk through door trellis. Per FOSJRG:
Bred by Pierre Orard. Climber, Shrub. Yellow, orange-red streaks, stripes, flecks, red flecks, ages to pink. Ages to pink streaked red. None to no fragrance. 30 petals. Large, semi-double to double bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. Climbing. Height of 8 to 10 feet. Striking blooms cover this vigorous climber in generous clusters. Large, glossy foliage grows on the sturdy canes creating an upright structure to show off the novel cream striped, smoky orange blossoms. The unusual color makes this rose a show-stopping topic of conversation. Plant it near an arbor or trellis and it is sure to spark the curiosity of passersby and rose enthusiast alike. Although this plant is registered as a climber and will perform as such in the South, it will grow as a medium-size shrub in the northern locations.

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Beautiful cream hued Iceberg, roses with stronger saturations, slightly orange cream, at center. Subjects like this with a dark background are more common early morning while the sun altitude is low leaving bush areas shadowed. Per FOSJRG:
Hybridizer: Tim Hermann Kordes. White, near white or white blend Hybrid Tea. Plenty of long, cool-white buds open as large, double roses on this Floribunda. The light green glossy foliage makes a perfect backdrop for these clean white blooms. White or white blend. Mild fragrance. 35 to 40 petals. Average diameter 3.75 feet. Large, full (26-40 petals), borne mostly solitary, cupped bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. Medium, long, pointed, ovoid buds. Bushy, upright. Glossy foliage.

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This aesthetic rose, Cinco De Mayo, a Floribunda with orange hues took a long time to set up. I kept trying to include the partial beautiful bloom upper right, however the frame was unbalanced. Buds often nicely complement bloomed flowers with their hairy sepals adding fine detail. The more striking feature here beyond colors is how the eye finds the system of curving petal shapes interesting. Spaceship to planet Fairyland. Per FOSJRG:
Hybridizer: Tom Carruth. Russet Floribunda. Russet. Flowers multi-color, smoky lavender-orange. None to mild, opinions vary fragrance. Average diameter 3.5 feet. Medium, double (17-25 petals), cluster-flowered, in large clusters bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. Medium, rounded. Medium, semi-glossy, dark green foliage. Height of 35 to 47 inches.

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This rose subject coloration reminded me of a beautiful sunset sky. Rose petals often have outward rays of varying colorations. On the other side of the whirlpool at center is another dimension, HEAVEN. The primary image shows the full flower with a dark background. I cropped that in this, one of 3 versions, for the central flower. Another version that works well has the vortex more into the lower right quadrant.

This was a close subject using my 12mm extension tube behind the 60mm lens. Getting all elements in focus with such a close 3-dimensional subject requires more shots at more apertures, many shots of which are redundant and not actually utilized in processing. Worse is not taking enough shots leaving even small areas with soft focus that becomes very noticeable when displayed or printed large. Thus wise to take excessive numbers and shots and cull them later. I delete some of the redundant shots by inspection of identical exif distance and position data or if I notice shots out of registration when cycling through shots with Zerene Stacker. My dumped exif data is organized in an Excel sheet with 30 columns, some of which is absolutely necessary for my complex method of post processing.

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Back again on Wednesday May 6, 2020, but looking like Christmas, the above shows an incredibly saturated red cultivar, Take It Easy. In fact, in Photoshop red levels showed it clipped a bit. The even high saturation does reduce 3-dmension visual cues. This is a good example of a subject with blooms and buds where it was also important to achieve good focus on leaves too. Santa likes what the snow on petals at center add. Per FOSJRG:
Bred by Christian Bédard. Shrub. Dark red, light pink reverse. Mild, tea fragrance. 15 to 25 petals. Average diameter 2.75 feet. Medium, cluster-flowered, cupped, high-centered to cupped bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. Glandular sepals, leafy sepals, pointed buds.

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Below plants in the garden were fallen petals with more where blooms had run their cycle. Here a multi-colored petal on the ground was full of sprinkler water droplets. Many more on following page 3. Over a 17 day period, I drove to the rose park on 11 mornings, 2 of which I didn't take my camera out of the car and soon drove home after noticing breezes would be too strong. On another 3 breezy mornings, just worked briefly without capturing anything worth processing. On other days would simply bring up weather websites like wunderground dot com or windy dot com and see it was certain to be too breezy.

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2020 Trip Chronicles:    Contents

   David Senesac
   email: info@davidsenesac.com

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