Macro Daylilies At Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, SC: Part 2

Orangeburg Daylilies: Part 2

Part 2 is a continuation of the Orangeburg Daylilies posts from the Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, South Carolina.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 1, click here.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Marmalade

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After having seen the gorgeous oranges and reds in my Marmalade piece from several feet away, I could hardly wait to get the tripod moved and setup in front of this subject.  My main objective was providing enough space above the anthers for those attractive colors to be on full display.  Strangely enough, while I wasn’t concerned with the rule of thirds and didn’t even initially check the grid lines during framing, I actually put the anther farthest to the left on the lower, leftmost crossing line.  Which made me wonder if I’m starting to intrinsically see and compose that way.  I also liked the subtle blues in the anthers and their complementary blacks against the yellows.  Surface textures and individual pieces of pollen can be seen thanks to the high level of detail.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Exquisite Fat

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The background of the daylily in Exquisite Fat was being backlit by the morning sun.  Those golden tones lighting up the petals created an irresistible beacon that drew my eyes and attention right to it.  I loved how the chicken fat along the petal edges, with their gorgeous colors, formed a V.  I placed the anthers where they were lifted up off the bottom while keeping additional space above them because one of my primary artistic desires was getting as much as I could of the backlit petals in the frame.  To ensure that I was able to sharply capture the anthers, focus stacking was used.  The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Fat Liner

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My artistic vision for Fat Liner was to, once again, utilize the chicken fat as much as I could.  I decided to place it along the edges of the frame so that it almost formed a border.  I spent time adjusting angles and the distance from the lens to the subject until I felt I had maximized what the flower was able to give me while also considering the relative positions of the stamen.  Just like everything else in photography, ultimately, it was about making compromises (i.e., giving up one thing to get something else).  While not really caring where the anthers were with regard to the grid lines, using the rule of thirds, I got lucky with their placement.  The bottom one third line cuts right through the main group of anthers, and the outlier touches the rightmost one third line.  I also feel that I was fortunate in that the arcs created by the filaments share similarities with those in the petals.

 

 

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Macro Daylilies At Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, SC: Part 1

Orangeburg Daylilies: Part 1

Most of my rose works are from the Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, and I’ve written about the gardens and adjacent areas in previous posts.  It’s a great resource to have relatively close by.  Too much time had passed since I last visited, so I decided a road trip was in order.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find a single subject worthy of closer inspection in any section of the roses I initially examined.  I think the early Spring with the warm weather and then the hard freeze caused a lot of subtle problems with our flora.  After checking out all the gardens on the east side, I decided to head toward the ponds.  That was a good decision because I walked right up on a part of the gardens that didn’t exist the last time I had been there.  A whole new section of daylilies had been planted and they were looking really good.

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Garden Gem

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The colors in my Garden Gem piece immediately drew me in.  The pastels combined with the oranges, yellows, and greens were all very attractive.  The most prominent outside anthers were placed on the upper crossing lines, using the rule of thirds, so that the stamen came up into the foreground from the throat of the flower.  I focused on the rightmost foreground anther and let everything else fall where it was in the zone of sharpness.  The high level of captured detail allows texture and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Outreach

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I simply could not deny the bright yellows of the daylily in Outreach, and they, by themselves, forced me to create it.  Artistically, the sweeping arcs of the filaments and being able to see them from their origination point in the flower’s throat coming out into the foreground of the frame was my highest priority.  And while I didn’t care that much where the anthers were in relation to any of the grid lines, using the rule of thirds, the center of the group is very near the rightmost lower crossing line.  In fact, I used that particular anther as my focal point which tends to subtly increase the importance of its placement.  Sometimes we just get lucky and other aesthetic concerns drive a composition into a familiar layout without consciously trying.  Surface textures on the anthers can be seen thanks to the high level of captured detail.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Chiffon

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Thanks to the time I spent with Bob Yonce and the wonderful daylilies he grows on his farm, I was aware of chicken fat.  Upon finding the flower in my Chiffon piece, I immediately wanted to feature that aspect of it by prominently placing it along the edges of the frame.  Because the anthers were in such a nice tight grouping, I placed them so that the bottom was very near the lower, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  Those two artistic decisions also allowed the filaments to arch up and out of the flower’s throat and the ribs in the main petal to arc up and out as it stretches upward.  Here too, the high level of detail allows surface textures and pollen to be seen.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Excitingly Grape

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The gorgeous purple colors in Excitingly Grape grabbed my attention and held it.  I also liked how the inner colors form an ellipse as they transition from a light purple, to white, then yellow, and finally green.  The anthers were in a group here as well so I placed the anther farthest to the right on the upper, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  That particular angle caused the arched rib lines behind the anthers, that emanate in the background, to come up and out from the flower’s throat into the middleground.  And the flow of the stamen and stigma arcs echo those lines.  The diagonal lines in the foreground pleats act as short leading lines that lead to the focal point.  To ensure that I had good sharpness on that area as well as the other anthers, I used focus stacking.  That aesthetic decision also allowed me to keep the stigma in the zone of sharpness.  Surface textures and tiny dew drops along the anther edges are both visible due to the high level of captured detail.  This was one of my favorites from the outing and would have made the trip worthwhile all by itself.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Leaves Covered By Web Full Of Dew At Rye Patch In Aiken, SC

Dew Veil

 

Macro abstract leaves covered by web full of dew at Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina
Dew Veil

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As I was walking through the Rye Patch Rose Garden looking for subjects, I discovered a naturally abstract scene that I couldn’t pass without further investigation.  The Rose Garden is an enclosed area with two side entrances that each have a swinging door.  Within the garden boundaries are hedges that are usually neatly trimmed in a rectangular shape that further segregate the various areas.  On top of one of the hedge rows was a web that was completely covered in dew.  Upon closer examination of the area I subsequently captured in Dew Veil, I was struck by how I could see the leaves underneath the web while at the same time the drops of dew created a mask over them.  It was a curious effect and almost felt as if I was looking at leaves that had been embedded in glass.  I found a group of leaves that had a couple of tips poking up and out of the web as well as other leaves surrounding it in an artistic manner.  I then placed that group in the frame so that the rightmost vertical one third line, using the rule of thirds, nearly bisected them.  To achieve side-to-side sharpness across the entire frame, a technique known as focus stacking was employed.  The high level of captured detail allows web strands and a whole bunch of tiny dew drops to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Heart Shaped Leaf At Hitchcock Woods In Aiken, SC

I Heart Nature

 

Macro heart shaped leaf at Hitchcock Woods in Aiken, South Carolina
I Heart Nature

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Hitchcock Woods is an amazing resource to have right in our city, and I’ve written about it in previous blog posts.  That being said, I don’t usually hunt for subjects within it using my macro rig.  But, this particular morning I didn’t have any luck finding something to point my camera at on the grounds of the Aiken County Historical Museum so I decided to hike down some of the horse trails to see what I could find.

The leaf in my I Heart Nature piece immediately drew me in primarily due to its shape.  After all, the heart symbol is a universal ideograph that represents love, and, being a nature lover, I had a strong desire to capture a scene expressing that sentiment.  I also found the greens quite attractive.  In fact, one of my artistic goals was to find an angle that allowed me to fill the background with as much green as possible while avoiding the creation of darker brown areas where the dirt on the ground could be seen behind/under the leaves.  Additional aesthetic concerns were leaf placement (both angle and position in the frame) as well as depth of field control.  I put the leaf in the sensor on a diagonal so that it wouldn’t feel static or centered even though I gave the subject about the same amount of breathing room on either side and kept the distance from the top of the frame nearly equal to the space at the bottom.  I sought as much detail as I could get in and on the leaf’s surface, but I also wanted the background to quickly fade away.  When there is sufficient distance from the subject to the background, depth of field can be increased while maintaining good bokeh, but when objects in the background are close to the subject, you have to compromise.  In this case, I had to open the lens incrementally until I found the right amount for this composition (i.e., where I was getting as much detail as possible from the subject while simultaneously decreasing features of the background leaves).  This is another time where your camera’s depth of field preview really pays off because you can use it to dial in the setting while you observe the effect across your work.  Even though I reduced the depth of field, the high level of captured detail allows surface texture to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Wet Spiderwort At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Wet Spiderwort

 

Macro wet Spiderwort at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Wet Spiderwort

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I was attracted to my Wet Spiderwort piece by how nicely the yellow anthers popped against the complementary blues.  But, as is often the case, upon viewing the scene at nearly two times life-size, I discovered something even more enticing.  I loved how the water drops had formed in and around the anthers and stigma.  By dialing back the already shallow depth of field, I could have reduced the detail in the background, however, my desire to hold a selection of anthers and the water drops sharply in focus outweighed any other aesthetic priorities.  Further, I like how the drops on the petals add to the overall soaked feel.  To place them in an artistically pleasing location within the frame, the largest drops in the group of anthers were concentrated near the left most, bottom crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and they all touch (or are split by) one of the horizontal or vertical grid lines.  The high level of captured detail allows textures and drop reflections to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Stump Art At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Museum Stump Art

While wandering the grounds of the museum, I came across a recently cut stump.  As fresh as the saw dust was and with such nice surface colors, it likely had only been exposed for a couple of days.  I was, once again, struck by the fact that the images I was able to create that morning were only possible with the exact cuts that the saw made.  Not that they were planned or meant to be artistic by the person that took the tree down.  But, that’s what makes it fascinating because the way it was cut uncovered art that nature had hidden inside the tree.

 

 

Macro abstract stump art at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Honey Line

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I was attracted to the syrupy looking colors on the left hand side of my Honey Line piece.  For aesthetic reasons, I put the scene in my camera’s sensor so that those gorgeous colors essentially formed a jagged diagonal line.  I then ensured that the sensor plane was as close to the surface angle of the area as I could get it so that the focus would be sharpest along the edges of the line.  Artistically, I liked how the two sides had both contrasting (e.g., silky versus hard and dry) as well as similar properties (e.g., arcs and squiggly lines).  The high level of captured detail allows texture, saw dust pieces, and cracks in the wood to be seen.

 

 

Macro abstract stump art at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Brewing Storm

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As I was working the stump, golden light from the morning sun started to wash over it.  Having the ability to influence an image with those tones is one of the primary reasons I like to be on-site before the sun comes up.  Here, I loved how they provide a natural highlight to the ridges created as the saw dug its way through the wood.  Artistically, I felt that the complex blend of lines (e.g., diagonals, arcs, and swirls) clashed with each other and created a certain amount of tension.  The underlying shapes and warm colors in Brewing Storm reminded me of how nature paints clouds during a sunrise, and, in accordance with the adage, the red in the sky is a sailor’s warning.  Texture, saw dust pieces, and cracks in the wood can be seen here as well thanks to the high level of captured detail.

 

 

Macro abstract stump art at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Dunes

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The swirled lines, arcs, and colors in my Dunes composition reminded me of sand.  As if Mother Nature attempted to render what blowing, drifting sandbanks look like using only the wood from inside a tree as the canvas.  As in the previous pieces, the high level of captured detail allows texture, saw dust pieces, and cracks in the wood to be seen here too.

 

 

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Macro Leaf At Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, SC

Scimitar

 

Macro leaf at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Scimitar

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I had been keeping an eye on the colorful, newly planted coleus in the big, back garden at the Aiken County Historical Museum since I first discovered them.  In fact, I had looked at several different possible compositions on a previous trip, but couldn’t quite get everything that I wanted so I hadn’t captured anything.  At the time I created my Scimitar piece, the plants themselves were less than two feet tall and had fresh looking leaves with nice colors.  While exploring them for enticing patterns, I came across one that reminded me of the type of blade that a pirate or genie might have.  I placed the leaf in the frame so that the sharp tip and bottom left hand side had about the same amount of distance to their respective edges.  I then found an angle that allowed most of my subject to be surrounded by the enhancing background colors of the leaf directly beneath it.  I placed the focal point on the tip, and by keeping the sensor plane aligned with the leaf, as much as I could, I maintained sharpness across the surface.  The high level of captured detail allows texture and tiny hairs along the edges of the leaf to be seen.

 

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Macro Abstract Wood Surface And Knot At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Benched

When I moved to Aiken there was a huge Deodar Cedar tree on the south side of the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.  Not only did it have multiple trunks, the tree’s individual limbs were quite large (bigger than most of the trees in my backyard).  What made it even more interesting was how the pieces had grown up and out in that location.  The area they spanned could have easily been more than 20 feet across.  By all indications, the tree was a very popular spot for families and visitors to create snap shots or vacation photos – especially since with a little effort you could easily climb into the heart of them and find yourself standing several feet above the ground.  At some point a portion of the tree died and had to be removed.  Then a really bad ice storm came through a couple of years ago.  Aiken county was one of the hardest hit areas in the entire state and Hopeland Gardens took a serious blow.  Among the casualties was their Acacia, too many limbs to count, and what was left of the much beloved tree.  Fortunately, when the original paring was done, a portion of the tree was preserved, and, as a form of remembrance or dedication, it was used to create wooden benches that are placed near where the tree originally stood.

 

Macro abstract wood surface and knot at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Benched

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As a color junkie, I’ve been attracted to the surfaces of the benches for a while, but never found a composition that I was happy enough with to press the shutter.  With my Benched piece, that problem was overcome.  I liked the line that runs to and around the knot and, for aesthetic reasons, decided to place it diagonally so that it split the frame.  The center of the knot was placed near the bottom right one third crossing line, using the rule of thirds, but then bumped up and to the left a bit so that more of the diagonal line would remain in the frame.  The high level of captured detail allows rings and surface textures to be seen.

 

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Macro Fall Pansy At Rye Patch In Aiken, SC

Dew Point

 

Macro Pansy at Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina
Dew Point

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I just realized, as I was writing this, that I ended the season at the exact same place I started with an identical type of flower.  Patsy’s Garden in the Rye Patch Rose Garden had been recently replanted with pansies.  Artistically pleasing specimens were fairly sparse, but this one stood out.  I liked the colors (of course), but the tiny dew drops made the difference.  The petal surfaces are nearly completely covered resulting in a sparkling effect.  Aesthetically, I placed the green heart in the center of the flower just below the bottom one third line, using the rule of thirds, and used it as my focal point.  The high level of detail allows surface texture, individual dew drops, and individual pollen pieces to be seen.

 

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