Day 2, Grove Plantation Abstracts
After lunch, we drove over to The Grove Plantation. The Grove Plantation is part of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. With thousands of acres of land, I was sure I could find a few subjects. I parked near the kiosk and quickly scouted the area near the entrance. The fields on both sides of the road leading to the mansion (which is also the Wildlife Refuge Headquarters) had plenty of macro subjects in them. While I prefer early morning light, a deflector can help calm the harsh afternoon light when shooting macro subjects. Using a plamp helped keep subjects steady, but with a wind speed around nine miles per hour and quickly changing light due to partially cloudy skies, the conditions were one of the most challenging I’ve ever worked through. In those circumstances, patience is your best asset.
The gold tones and wispy curves of the naturally abstract pattern on the thistle head in my Golden Strips piece grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go until I had created a composition. I’ve always like abstracts, but I seem to have found an even greater attraction to them that steadily increased throughout the year. The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual hairs to be seen.
The thistle in Expansive reminded me of an explosion. It seemed to be bursting out and expanding in all directions from the center. The hairy, string-like filaments that run throughout the focal plane added to the abstract quality. I placed the center of the flower very near the left one third line, using the rule of thirds. I then made the aesthetic decision to nudge the center just a bit to the right so that the left side of the frame could be filled with more of the tubular florets. That also provided some additional space between the frame edge and the center. The high level of detail allows pollen, surface textures, and individual hairs to be seen here too.
After returning to the car, we drove up to the house and spent a couple of hours scouting the grounds, getting maps and brochures, etc. Before we left, I already had ideas for what I wanted to do when we returned.