Production Journal


In the beginning, I was hoping to create a photo essay detailing the steps on how to make a pie. I wanted to bring a recipe to life, but the plan flopped for many reasons and I had come back to square one. I decided then that I needed to achieve something different with this final project. I then decided to maybe to a photo essay that focused on the beauty of nature. The focus? Flowers.

I wanted to achieve beautiful close ups of exotic flowers that brought out the bright colors and unique shapes that all flowers come with. My camera takes really good photographs and close ups especially. I’ve tested it out in the past and come to find that I do bets with it. So, why not do a final photo essay on something I seem to be good in?

I wanted to really bring out color in this photo essay. Color usually affects a person’s mood, especially when they are looking at photo display. I wanted my to be bright and cheery and draw the viewer in with the exotic look that nature can bring us. I’ve always loved flowers too because I’ve found that their colors and shapes are beautiful and always brightens up someone’s day, even in just a photograph. Many winners in photograph competitions have been with flowers.

I have been influenced by these photo displays in the past, along with my own photography that I would take just out of boredom, messing with setting on my camera. Always found that the best poseurs for photos have been flowers. When I was in Hawaii as well, I came across stores selling professional photographer’s photos, many of them being the exotic tropical flowers that grew all over the island. I am sad I never got the business cards for these people, for their displays were breath taking. There was one artist would printed his photos on sheet metal. Very thin sheet metal, and the photos were incredible. The colors were so bright! It felt like it wasn’t a photograph but I was actually looking at the object itself. The coolest part of the exhibit was the room that was very dark and filled with photos from the flowing lava from the volcanoes on the island. The dark room really made the fiery orange and yellow of the lava pop. 

Prepping for this exhibit, I actually had to find a place to photograph flowers in December and not just any flowers, but exotic ones. Luckily Washington DC has the National Botanical Gardens down by the Capitol. But do they have flowers during this time of the year? I researched their website and was glad to see that they still had many different exotic flowers blooming in their greenhouse. I also had to make sure my camera wasn’t going to die halfway through photographing the flowers. That wouldn’t bode well and I don’t need the stress of finding a store that sells batteries when all I want to do is get my project done.

The difficulties that I ran into during the production were hat despite the greenhouse being open, there still weren’t that many flowers blooming. There were a lot of trees and plants but no blooming flowers. The main hall too was just a massive display of poinsettias. I started getting a little concerned for I didn’t think I could do a photo essay on the diversity of flowers if there were no diverse flowers. Thankfully I was able to go deeper into the greenhouse and found the exotic flower room, which thankfully had what I was looking for. The second difficulty I came across was that my camera, despite having new batteries, almost died towards the end of the shooting. Thankfully I was able to collect enough photos before it completely died.


How I carried out my shooting of the photographs at the Botanical Gardens was I first visited the website and made sure that it would be open for the public and had displays available. I couldn’t really plot out a general plan of what flowers I wanted to take though, for I didn’t know what kinds to expect. It was more of a “go with the flow” production. When I arrived at the building I had difficulty finding rooms that held flowers on display for me to photograph that fit the criteria I was looking for. After about ten minutes I thankfully discovered the tropical flowers.

I was then disappointed by the lack of diversity I could find with the flowers. I think it’s because I’m shooting in an offseason, the winter, when most flowers aren’t alive. Most of what was displayed was orchids and I was hoping to be able to have more variety available to me. The shooting in the end took about one hour and I feel good about what came out. I got good color and shapes with what I got so I didn’t go too off the original plan I had. I may not have been able to branch out far from a family of flowers but thankfully the orchid family has within it a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Which is what I wanted.


When I finished the shooting for the photo essay, I was happy to come back with thirteen different kinds of flowers and about 3-4 different angles of them. I had a good seven different photos to chose from that came out the best and emphasized the criteria of what I wanted in my photo essay. I don’t want to do much editing to the flowers for I don’t want too much of them to be cropped out and I can’t play with the coloring of the pictures. What was to be achieved was to bring out the striking beauty of flowers in their natural state. Which was to photograph them in full color with the way they were, not trying to move them or anything.

What I learned doing this photo essay was how to adjust a plan before and during the production. I first had to adjust my original plan of creating a photo essay on a recipe. I ran into a problem and I had to make the decision of improvising or scratching the plan and starting new. I felt that starting new was going to be the best decision and it was for these photos came out beautiful. But I also learned that you have to adjust mid-project sometimes when the materials you need might not be there. I didn’t have hat much diversity then I thought so I made sure I took as many pictures of flowers that had unique colors and shapes to give the essences of diversity.

In the end I had success in bringing in bright and beautiful pictures of flowers but I was just disappointed that I didn’t get more tropical flowers like I hoped. Like the ones I found in Hawaii and photographed. I feel like despite the disappointment I think I conveyed the meaning what I wanted to through this photo essays. It’s bright, cheery, and varied and shows natural beauty. My overall view is that I am proud of the photos that I took, I just feel like I could do a lot more with camera setting and taking my time and really getting a good photograph. The pictures are just mediocre and I know I can do better with them. I would do this project again and I would learn from the mistakes in this one and fix 



A Photo Essay

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature – Gerard de Nerval


Giant Bird of Paradise






Marquette’s Canary


Madagascar Periwinkle




Cactus Flower



Since as long as anyone can remember, flowers have held a special meaning to people and societies. They’ve been symbols or love and royalty, used in medicines, arranged and admired. Each one of the fifty states here in America even have a flower to symbolize the state from the Mayflower in Massachusetts to the fragrant Plumerias in Hawaii. Flowers have even been known to be brought back as bounty from an ancient Egyptian conquest in Syria 3,500 years ago, this scene being depicted upon the wall of the Temple of Karnak.

The flower no matter what size or color it is has always fascinated humans. To dream of certain flowers in your sleep is interpreted into meanings such as white flowers mean death, roses mean success in love, and marigolds mean wealth. There have even been roughly 100 flowers, herbs, and plants mentioned in the Bible and the famous Shakespeare used flowers for many references in his most famous plays, signifying many meanings. The rose for love in Romeo and Juliet, the pansy bringing magic in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, peonies in King Lear, and in Macbeth he even referred to flowers by secret names in the Witches Song.

Since many of the flowers I found within the Botanical Gardens were orchids, I believe a little legend and history of the orchid should be told. Orchids are indeed the largest plant family of 25,000 species, making them the most widely seen. The most famous orchid is one that you see all the time but never think about: vanilla. The vanilla bean is taken from the Vanilla Orchid in Central and South America. The Aztecs would mix the vanilla with their chocolate for they believed it gave them strength. Greek women believed they could control the gender of their children by eating orchid roots. Large meant male, small meant female. In China, an orchid signified refinement and the innocence of children. It is also the universal symbol of love, beauty, wisdom, and thoughtfulness.

Many cultures have their own myths about how these beautiful objects gained their fragrant smells. After much research, the Greek legend was my favorite:

 A long time ago, high above on mount Olympus, there was the Goddess of flowers and her name was Floria. She had created and sent to Earth hundreds of flowers and owned millions of smells. Lower on Earth, all the flowers were always arguing about who was the most beautiful. But no flower back then had any scent so luckily they couldn’t argue about that one! The next day it was a bright summer morning so Floria went for a ride on a cloud. At first it was peaceful, but then she heard the flowers arguing about who had the most petals. She hated it when they argued! She leaned over the edge to get a better look but she fell! All the flowers stopped arguing when they heard the thump. They all crowded around her.

 “Are you ok?” asked Petunia.

“Yes, I’m fine,” said Floria. “Can you help me get back on the cloud?”

 The flowers stop arguing and cooperate to help Floria. 
They each took 1 leaf and 1 petal off themselves. Then all the flowers slowly started to sort the different petals and leaves. Petunia worked with Iris, Dandelion with Sunflower and Daisy with Lily.
 After that , the flowers built up a rainbow-ladder out of all those petals. And what a great ladder it was! Floria thanked them from the bottom of her heart and climbed up.
 When she was back on the cloud, she went to get something special. When she came back, her hands were full of millions of her perfumes. She walked closer to the edge of the cloud and threw them all down onto the flowers to reward them for their help and kindness.

Final Project Proposal







A photo essay


For my final project I decided to create a photo essay with exotic flowers that can be found blooming in the greenhouse at the National Botanical Gardens here in Washington DC. The concept it to be able to be able to capture the beauty of seven flowers that are strikingly different from each other, to show how different shapes and colors creates a beautiful art piece, art that is found within nature. The theme that I am going with is colors, shapes, and sizes of each flower found.


The purpose is to create a colorful essay of what of my favorite things to photograph: flowers. I want to be able to capture the striking colors and shapes that draw me to them. Create beautiful photographs that would have people awing over them. Show the beauty of uniqueness and the beauty of nature.


My production plan for this project is to have my Canon with me and go to the free botanical gardens and walk around the green house. I hope to stumble upon a good seven-ten different kinds of flowers that exemplifies the criteria of what I want in my essay. I want to find different flowers I haven’t photographed and kinds that many people might have never seen before.

 I plan on taking multiple photographs of each flower in different angles, zoom setting, and even finding places to stand to capture the way the natural lighting is hitting them. Really hope to get the colors to pop, for I feel like color is a major aspect in this photo essay. I want these to be photographs that draw the persons eye with their colors.

 I do not plan to do much editing to the photos except for maybe a few will be cropped. It doesn’t do much if I create the photos in black and white or sepia since color is a huge part of the photo essay!


My inspiration for this photo essay comes from the many photographs I have seen in nature books in school or even art displays I’ve seen in my life. I’ve always found that I’ve been drawn to the ones that have flowers in them, especially close up ones where the color really pops! There were two professional photographer in Kona, Hawaii that had stores open for people to buy their artwork and I found that their photos resembled many of the ones that I have attempted during my stay in Hawaii, a style I really liked which was to really zoom in on the object and grab the color, texture, and feelings from within the picture.


My hope is to not only be able to work on my photography and use my Canon more, but to be able to capture the beauty of nature through the many shapes and colors of exotic flowers found around the world. I want an essay that really pops and draws viewers in. 


These photos I have taken this summer in Hawaii and are good examples of what sort of inspiration I am drawing from in terms of how I want to take the photos: 




The title of the documentary I watched was called Wasteland, an upbeat film about a renown artist, Vik Muniz, who creates portraits of the Rio de Janeiro trash pickers out of the recycled material they collect within the largest landfill in the world: Jardim Gramacho.

The purpose of the documentary was how Muniz wanted to give back to the community he grew up in, in Brazil. He had become successful and now he wanted to go back home and make portraits of the trash pickers created out of the recycled material. He also showed the lives these people grow up in favelas surrounded by drug wars, but how their spirit isn’t crushed. Muniz gave a new sense of hope to the people he specially picked for the project and the money he gained from the auctioning of his portraits were given to the pickers. With the money they were able to push their company even further by getting a learning center and library. I feel like the main point the director was getting across in the film was how the little things you do can mean a lot to the lives of others and can change them.

I knew nothing about the subject the documentary entailed or even what to expect when watching the film. I just knew it was called Wasteland and I was expecting a very dreary environmental film that made you leave feeling really depressed and crappy. In reality, I was pleased with the topic and how the film was done. It made you feel upbeat and happy to see some good being done in the world for once.

The filming was really well done in the documentary. The images were sharp you could see exactly what the director wanted you to see. The angles were good and you really got a good sense of the world going on around the trash pickers and where they live. The interviews were really well done too, with giving an equal amount of the lives they live and their attitudes to everything around them. I just really liked this documentary for the content that was given. It was one of the very few upbeat ones I have seen and it made you feel good inside. I would sure recommend it to a lot of people, just for the message it gave. 

Wasteland: A Critique

Favorite Photo from Exhibit

What made this photo stand out the most was the intense color contrast the photographer managed to capture in this panorama. There are also three distinct points the photographer was able to capture in the Kilauea explosion. The first point you will see on the right side, which is the largest and brightest point. The spewing lava is so bright against the blue night sky and clouds that your eyes are drawn right to it. Three distinct main colors are seen within it, red outline in the orange cloud, and then the bright yellow. The second point is on the far left opposite of the first point. The bright yellow glow inside the cloud has your eyes drawn between these two points making a diagonal line through the photo. There is also a third point that is brought out by the line that is made when your eyes draw it between the two bight yellow points. It’s the purple cloud in the middle of the two, it is actually drawing a second line across the first line up the photo, connecting the dark points of the photo. It’s just such a beautiful photograph of something that is in retrospect a scary and destructive natural disaster but this photo actually makes it no as scary and makes you stand in awe.