Search: tulips

So I’m kneeling at the edge of the tulip bed in a skirt with my iPhone, trying to frame this shot without exposing my netherbits to the spring sunshine and I’m aware of the dude who has come up behind me with a tripod and ginormous lens but I’m almost done and I’ll soon be out of his way.

A second guy comes up and asks him if he’s done yet and the first guy says quietly but clearly enough for me to hear, ‘Just waiting for amateur-hour to get out of the way.’ I shoot them an evaluative look over my shoulders and decide I’m feeling cheeky.

“You know,” I say, with a bit of a smile, “I made over three grand last year selling photos that I took with my iPhone.” Dude #1 looks somewhere between chastened and mortified but dude #2 is fascinated and we chat amiably for 10 minutes about selling stock while dude #1 sends death-glare eye daggers at his buddy.

Also? Because tulips!

(Sorry if we’re friends on Facebook and you’re seeing this story for the second time, but it was too fun not to share on the blog.)


I had a lot of fun with this image in Lightroom and Photoshop. Not every photo needs serious post-processing, but sometimes it’s fun to push the boundaries a bit and see what happens. I’ve also had fun teaching myself both how to see problem areas I might not have recognized before AND the digital ‘chops’ to know how to correct them.

Parliament through red tulips

When I looked at the detail in the tulips, I saw that the green colour channel was clipped, which means that the colour that is opposite to green on the colour wheel – magenta – was “blown out” and the reds were pretty darn close to blowing out too. In other words, the colour was so intense in the tulip heads that all detail was lost. I tweaked the saturation on just the flower heads a bit, but there is still some detail lost. If I were more patient, I could probably fix it in Photoshop, but it was close enough for me.

Another problem is that despite exposure and saturation tweaks, the tulips were out of gamut. This is one of the real challenges of digital photography and photo processing – the range of colours that your eye can perceive is far greater than what digital equipment like your camera sensor and computer monitor can replicate is far greater than what a printer can render. My camera and computer are set to sRGB colour space, which has a much wider range than CMYK, the colour space that most printers use. I played with it a bit and recovered some of it, but I don’t think this would make a great print without a lot more work – those reds and magentas are just too intense and would likely print as flat blobs of colour.

Finally, the sky was kind of cloudy and grey and it too was on the border of being blown out, so I painted some of that blue back into the sky. There was only a hint of blue in the sky to my eye, but I burned it a bit and added a bit of tint to make the clouds pop. I think the drama in the sky balances out the really intense colour in the foreground, and sort of surrounds the Peace Tower. Then I popped the contrast even more, because I love contrasty photos, especially with lots of mid-tone contrast.

So now the image tells a complete story, from the brilliant tulips in the foreground to the actual subject of the photo, the Peace Tower, in the middle ground, and that turbulent sky in the background.

TMI? Do you like the geeky stuff, or should I just go back to posting the pretty pictures? Be careful what you wish for, I could really go on and on and ON about this stuff! 😉 If you’re curious, feel free to ask questions. We can all learn together!

Edited to add: Good question from Lynn – here’s the unedited version for the sake of comparison. Note the tilted horizon – I cannot for the life of me take a straight picture. I think my eyes are crooked!

SOOC Parliament through red tulips

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The tulips are awake! Found this shot with my iPhone on the way back to my office after a meeting – the Chateau Laurier screened through some purty red tulips.

Tulips in front of the Chateau Laurier


A tulip story

by DaniGirl on May 16, 2017 · 0 comments

in Life in Ottawa, Photo of the Day

Five years ago, I got some of my favourite photographs of Parliament Hill, as seen over the tulip beds behind the Canadian Museum of History.

Pretty Parliament

Though I’ve taken many, many, MANY photos of the tulips and the Parliament Buildings since then, I thought this would be a good year to go back and revisit those iconic shots with a better camera, a better lens and frankly, better technical chops.

It’s a bit longer of a walk from where I’m working now to the History Museum, but I showed up for work early to buy myself some extra lunch hour, ate my lunch early at my desk, and set off with my camera into a perfect spring day.

It’s been about a week since the flooded Ottawa River crested, and parts of the foot path that had been submerged just last week were clear and dry.

(I quite liked this shot from last Tuesday, the day the flood waters crested. None shall pass on this submerged multi-use path behind the Library and Archives buildings!)

Photo of Ottawa flooding by Danielle Donders

When I crossed the Portage Bridge, the waters were still high and raging. The sound of rushing water was still powerful – but not as intense as last week.

As I crossed over to the Quebec side and picked up the multi-use path on the other side of the river, there were clues to which perhaps I should have paid more attention. But, I did not.

Photo of blocked path by Daniele Donders

You’d think this would be a clue to which I should have paid attention.

Photo of sinkhole in bike path by Danielle Donders

The water was washing right up on to the path in a few spots. Still, I did not take the hint.

Photo of flooded bike path by Danielle Donders

You’d really think this would have been a sign of things to come. (Get it? Sign? I slay me.)

Photo of underwater sign by Danielle Donders

Nevertheless, she persisted. And what she found when she finally arrived at the back lawn of the History Museum, looking out over the still-swollen Ottawa River and the Parliament Buildings beyond, was one sad little tulip, and the remains of a tulip bed that had been, until very recently, completely underwater. Ottawa’s great flood of 2017 was not kind to the flower beds.

Photo of tulip and Ottawa flood by Danielle Donders

Alas, poor tulips, I knew them well.

I guess we’ll have to wait until Spring 2018 to revisit that iconic tulip shot from behind the History Museum. If anybody needs me, I’ll be on Parliament Hill. They chose it for its elevation – the flood waters never came anywhere near these beauties!

Photo by Danielle Donders


Wow! 2014 was an amazingly photogenic year. I could easily post 50 favourite photos just from our trip to Prince Edward Island alone (yes, I know, I’m on about PEI again – I never really stop thinking about it!) or 50 favourite photos of fun family adventures with the boys. I probably even have 50 photos of Bella and Willie, and 2014 was my most successful year with Mothership Photography, so I’m sure I have 50 favourite portrait session photos I could post.

I’ll restrain myself, though. Some of these are dear to me because of the moment they captured, or the memory they evoke, or even the fact that I look at them and think to myself, “wow, I made that?” Every single one of them, though, makes me smile. They’re in no particular order.

Brothers on a winter walk


PEI revisited

Tulips in front of the Chateau Laurier

snowy owl-2

Kayaker at Chapman Mills

Even after the worst storms, the sun comes back out.

Reflecting on family

On guard

Writer's Block

Boots and booties

team donder posse

Oops this was yesterday's #mo365 7:365 #dogsofmo365 #latergram

A girl who loves books


Autumn cutie

Silly string

National We Day in Ottawa 2014

Family reunion

Simple little pleasures

Tattoo selfie :)

Five generations

And baby makes three

Beautiful Baby O

Urban duck about town

My Name is Donder

leafy bokeh

Red riding hood bubble boy on the way home from school

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

Cuties on a red wagon

Brainy boy on the porch


Cavendish, PEI

A boy and his hedgie

Two boys in a wagon

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Father's Day in Perth

brady bunch 2

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Sir Lucas

Luke and Bella #latergram #mo365

At the Flavour Shack

Doesn't everybody keep their typewriter on the porch?

Simon is 10

Peace Tower tour

boys at the beach

Winter walk

Apple picking 2014 3

Pumkin Pickers

Hollywood girl


Easter eggs 2014

Me and my ski buddy on the chair lift#mo365


first & last day of school

Family fun at Baxter Beach conservation area

Winter walk to feed the chickadees

Birthday cupcake

Christmas tree quest 2014-9

Kerry's family

Cumberland Heritage Museum

Adventures in PEI

Pumkin Pickers

Apple picking 2014 1

Souris and Basin Head PEI


Happy sigh. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this year, whether that was letting me get you in my viewfinder or letting me interrupt whatever it was we were supposed to be doing so I could take a photograph or letting me share my treasures with you. It’s been a beautiful year, and I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store!

Happy new year!


I seem to spend a lot of my time these days crawling around on my belly with my camera, chasing tulips and dandelions and dewdrops.

dandelion sleeping in the dew

I desaturated the green in this quite a bit to emphasize the shapes more than the colour, and to make the yellow of the dandelion head pop a bit more. (The circles are de-focused dewdrops backlit by the rising sun.) And I soaked my pants to the knees taking it!


Photo of the Day: Tulip Time!

13 May 2014 Photo of the Day

As you might (or might not?) have noticed, I’ve fallen out of the habit of posting my weekly photo round-ups. That may or may not be related to the fact that I have fallen out of the habit of taking and posting a new photo every day. I’m feeling inspired again now that the Endless […]

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(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: 50 favourite photos from 2013

1 January 2014 Life, the Universe and Everything

I was going to post my top 10 favourite photos from 2013, but I couldn’t get it whittled down to anything close to that. Oy, if there was ever a girl in need of an editor, it’s me! Oh well, it’s my blog and pixels are free, right? Heh, just be glad I didn’t post […]

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Found in the Wild

22 June 2013 Mothership Photography

Although I post them fairly regularly on Flickr as I find them, I don’t think I’ve ever written a blog post to show you some of the fun and quirky uses I’ve found for the photos I’ve licensed through Getty Images over the last couple of years. Some are lovely, some are delightful and some […]

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This week in pictures: Love letters to spring

12 May 2013 Photo of the Day

Tulips, kids, fuzzy puppies – talk about an easy week for taking pictures! Do you even need a narrative for this? First there was one silly kid on a stump. Then there were three silly kids on some steps with a puppy. Then the puppy rolled around in some flowers. Oh, did someone say flowers? […]

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