Chroma Key Photography

Enobli091417.jpgI have been experimenting with removing backgrounds to enhance the photos of my flowers and plants.  In the last five posts, I have exhibited some of these pictures.  I first started with a green screen background, took a few pictures, read up on background removal in Photoshop, and spent some time experimenting.  This idea came to me during my visit to Bob Hamilton and John Leather’s greenhouse, where they had a small camera setup for doing this.

I found out one thing right away.  It is much easier to use a blue background in the removal algorithms than a green background.  The simple reason is that we have a lot of green in our plants, and removing the green frequently implies that we will be removing some of the plant color.  Thus, I have focused on blue background removal.  My previous post of Epidendrum Parkinsonianum has a picture that was created with a green screen, and took some time to get right.

IMG_4538.jpgIn Photoshop, one uses the following tools

  • Under the Select menu, select “Color Range”.  In the color range dialog, select “invert” and “+”, and then click around the photo (or the dialog) until your desired pixels turn white.  Select “OK” when you are done.
  • Under the Select menu, select “Modify” and “Contract”.  Press “OK” again, and it should take all the “floaters” out of the image.  This may have to be done twice.
  • Under the Select menu, select “Refine Edge”.  I usually select “smart radius” and move the slides to a high level.  Then select “Decontaminate Colors” and perhaps move the slider around and select OK.

The background should be removed when you select “OK”.  Save the image, and then you can used “Place” in the file menu to place it over a variety of backgrounds.

The blue works great.  The top image here took me less than a minute to do.


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Dendrobium Jaintainum

Jaintainum091417.jpgI purchased this Dendrobium Jaintainum from Marni Turkel through her eBay site mostlyspecies on September 10, 2017.  The brilliant white flower from this orchid is what caught my eye, and I had bid on one previously, but did not get it.   I got this one.

This is the first of my negrohirusute (black-haired) Dendrobiums.  This group was first introduced by John Lindley, in his Folia Orchidacea (mid-1850s) where he stated that each of these species was “distinguished by the presence of short black hairs on the young stems”.  According to Marni, dendrobium jantainum grows in northeast India and is a relatively new discovery — being first described in 2007. The species has very long-lasting brilliant-white flowers with an orange lip, each about 1.5″ wide. The plant grows in a cool/intermediate environment, with no significant winter’s rest — only cutting back on the fertilizer in the winter.  As a dendrobium, bright light is necessary.

DenJaintainum091417.jpgThis was an interesting scenario in that it came as a small plant, in a 2″ basket inserted into a 2″ pot.  It had four keikis which amounted to most of the foliage on the plant.  One keiki was in bloom, and had an additional bud.  All keikis had substantial roots, and probably could have been planted on their own.

After some email discussion with Marni, I decided to divide the plant into two smaller plants.  I took the larger keiki — the one in bloom — and mounted it, while repotting the original plant and three smaller keikis into fine bark in a 3″ pot.  I hung the mounted plant in the solarium up high, where it will get a lot of bright light, and placed the potted plant in the west window of the orchid room.

Marni sent me a picture of her mounted plant.  Quite a good specimen.


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Epidendrum Parkinsonianum

Parkinson090917.jpgI got this Epidendrum Parkinsonianum at the raffle at the Sacramento Orchid Society‘s September 6th meeting.  The raffle table was provided by Cal Orchid.

Orchid culture has an excellent page on this plant.

It is a plant that is native to Mexico, growing at elevations from 5,000 to 7,500 ft.  The only thing that this plant needs is lots of light.  The other requirements (temperature, humidity) seem to be in the range of my solarium/greenhouse.


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Cattleytonia Why Not ‘Red Gold’ AM/AOS

ctna090917.jpgI purchased this Ctna. Why Not ‘Red Gold’ at the plant auction of the Sacramento Orchid Society in October of 2016.  I placed it on the top shelf of the solarium, where it would get the most light, and it has rewarded me with two blooms.  They are small, but very pretty.

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Cyrtorchis Chailluana

Cyrtorchis090917.jpgI purchased this Crytorchis Chailluana from Jim Rose of Cal Orchid at the September 6 meeting of the Sacramento Orchid Society.  Jim was giving the lecture that night on “Orchids of Mexico”, and had brought several plants for purchase.

This is a West African orchid, and can become a big plant.  There is a wonderful article by Brenda Oviatt and Bill Nerison of Botanical Ltd. that can be accessed online that describes this plant wonderfully.  It seems to grow in a wide range of conditions (IOSPE has it as a full sun plant), but it has shown to grow well in a cool winter environment also).

I expect to mount this plant on a larger piece of cork to let the eventual inflorence hang down.  I think this is the preferred way.

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Odontoglossum Coupe Point ‘Pink’

CoupePoint083117.jpgI was given this Odontoglossum Coupe Point ‘Pink’ by Bob Hamilton on my visit to his greenhouse on August 30, 2017.  The usual Coupe Point is a white odontoglossum, but this is probably the pink form.  It is clearly a back bulb that has restarted.  It may take a while to bloom, but we’ll take care of it…

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Odontoglossum (Pescab x Nicky Strauss)

Pescab083117.jpgI was given this Odontoglossum (Pescab x Nicky Strauss) by Bob Hamilton on my visit to his greenhouse on August 30, 2017.  It is a back bulb from a larger plant, with only a single bulb and a bulb from a new growth.  This may not flower next year, as it may need three bulbs to do so, but it is growing.

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