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Friday Slide Show: The Dahlia Garden Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

12 September 2014

We never miss a visit to the Dahlia Dell in Golden Gate Park every September. Sure, the color is vibrant but it's the variety that always amuses us. We can find many of the 42 species of them, not counting hybrids. It's a little like a family gathering.

A neighbor gave us a few bulbs one year and we divided them at the end of the growing season, replanting them the next year. It was marvelous. They were all the same but they were wild and tall and loved to party.

Snails and insects loved them too, so it took daily vigilance (and milk cartons) to protect them. And if you leave town for a week or three, you have to have some kind soul water them. It's a commitment.

Since we're often away for weeks at a time in the summer, we don't have them in the garden any more. Well, that sounds too final. Let's just say it's been a couple of years since we've enjoyed them in our own garden.

But the dahlias in Golden Gate Park are there for everyone to enjoy -- with none of the work.

San Francisco's Dahlia Society of California has a little history on the Dell. The Society also hosts the annual Dahlia Digout in the Dell.

The dahlia is special around here. It's the official flower of San Francisco, as well as the national flower of Mexico, of which it is a native.

We shot these with a Nikon D300 and an 18-200mm Nikkor. We liked the flexibility of the wide-ranging zoom, since you can't wander among the dahlias but have to shoot them from outside the iron fence.


We had worked on a few of these images in Photoshop CC 2104 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.6 before importing them as DNGs into Lightroom for the slide show. They made nice test images for our ongoing DNP DS40 printer tests.

Captured as NEFs, they were converted to DNG when copied to our hard drive. So the adjustments we made with Camera Raw were encoded into the DNG file itself. When we looked at the images in Lightroom, the sliders reflected the Camera Raw adjustments. Same engine.

We were working with a lot more images for the slide show than we printed. So we assigned a Daylight white balance to the whole group and added a Vignette 2.

That might not have been very bright because we didn't do the crops yet. And we did crop quite a bit to improve the composition. But Lightroom applies a post-crop vignette (you can see it in the Effects panel of the Develop module), so all was well.

Hope you enjoy the color and variety in the slide show. Oh, and those prints are just gorgeous, too.

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