Continuing the theme of Finding the Photo which is my special workshop title at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show this week, I want to show how to find the PhotoBotanic illustration within a photo.

x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (aka Chiranthofremontia); inter- generic hybrid between Chiranthodendron and Fremontodendron 'Pacific Sunset'; yellow flowering shrub at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Hybrid Monkey Hand Tree – x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii

I have a series of photographs that I call Extractions whereby I pull a illustration of a flower from within its overall photo, such as this Arctostaphylos ‘Monica’.

3holt_2014-097ZS_silFrameEdgeBy good fortune and amazing coincidence a client asked me if I had a artistic interpretation of the flower of the Hybrid Monkey Hand tree. The day I got the request was the very same day I was photographing at Rancho Santa Anna Botanic Garden in Southern California. The monkey hand tree was first hybridized at RSABG in 1981 and the very largest tree in cultivation was flowering that day.

The monkey hand tree is an inter-generic hybrid, a cross between two different genus, one the Mexican Monkey Hand (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon) and the California native Fremontodendron; creating a new genus x Chiranthofremontia lenzii – the Hybrid Monkey Hand Tree.

It is truly an amazing looking flower, and I spent hours trying to find just the right composition so that I could extract this flower.

Before and After Slider


I think of these Extractions as a form of botanic illustration, a new way to photograph plants and to organize them as a Florilegium. More about Photo Florilegium. I am giving a lecture and workshop about these extractions at the Marin Art and Garden Center this weekend with my friend and fellow photographer David Perry. Should be fascinating as explore something entirely new.