Sunset Light Portraits by Leslie

Right before the sun set on Saturday night there was a beautiful pink sky just bathing everything in a warm glow-y light. I grabbed my camera and got the boys and their cousin to sit on the same bench in essentially the same poses for me. I had to do a little work in post processing to take out some of the magenta cast, but I was left with these very unique images. Sometimes that fleeting moment right before it gets dark is truly the "golden hour" or in this case, the pink hour.

Camera settings: 1/60 secs at f/2.8, 70mm focal length, ISO 2500

The Beauty of a Magnolia Tree by Leslie

I just can't get enough spring flowers. I spotted this gorgeous Magnolia tree over the weekend, and while my family patiently waited in the car I walked over to romance it a little. Of course it's gorgeous from far away, with the perfectly blue sky behind it, but it wasn't until I stepped all the way around to the other side and got up in and under the tree did I get this beautiful shot.

All the petals have almost fallen away from this bloom, it's not a perfect flower and the center of the flower is exposed and vulnerable. It's just exactly how I would like to see myself. I am not perfect, I am vulnerable and yet I am still beautiful and strong.

The sun was behind me and the petals of the tree became like a giant soft box, diffusing the light and making everything look just so subtle and magical. 

Magnolia trees are rare around here, there is just one other that I know of, but it was in a difficult spot to easily take pictures of. This one was perfectly accessible.

I got out from underneath the tree and also got this great direct light shot. The shapes of the petals are so graceful. Perhaps my next painting?

But what I love the best about these pictures are the colors. Recently I began reading Color Collective and I love how they pull a color palette off a few pictures, so I borrowed their idea and made a palette for these shots. 

It's the essence of the Magnolia tree in six colors. I loooooooove that yellow-green. It's one of my favorite colors and I use it as an accent in my house often, as in my new Crate and Barrel dishes. I could kiss that color, that's how happy it makes me.

What makes you happy these days? Flowers? Colors? Spring?

Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II & EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
Exposure: All ISO 100. 1: 1/200 secs at f/3.5, 2: 1/400 secs at f/3.5, 3: 1/400 secs at f/37.1, 4: 1/250 secs at f/5.6
Lighting: Natural light