The grounds keepers and gardeners that keep the Aiken County Historical Museum looking good have butterfly bush or lantana growing in a couple of places. In previous years, my timing was always a bit off for being there during peak blooms (i.e., early, but in most cases too late). However, my regular weekly visits during this season put me on site with some superb opportunities.
I previously posted about how prolific the lantana blooms can be and that it can be challenging to find an angle that keeps them separated, but for my Dome composition I, once again, didn’t seek isolation. In fact, my artistic vision was the exact opposite. I searched the entire bush looking for an aesthetically pleasing bloom with a viewing angle that pulled as much additional color into the frame as possible while maintaining edge distinction. The shallow depth of field ensured that the background flowers would dissolve into simple colors which provided excellent bokeh and some assistance with the loss of boundary integrity due to color blending. The greens from the leaves and stem provide an outstanding gap while there was just enough sharpness to create a border between similar background colors. In situations like these, your camera’s Depth of Field Preview button is quite valuable. I also use the Live View feature in combination so that I don’t have to wait for my eyes to adjust to the loss of light when the lens is stopped down. The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.
There were no boundary integrity concerns with my Circular piece. While searching for subjects on the butterfly bush, I found one blossom that was by itself with a spectacular background. I was able to find an angle that lined it up in front of the blues from a blooming hydrangea. I love finding scenes like this where complimentary colors can be utilized in the composition. To my eyes, this one was special because you don’t normally see lantana with such gorgeous blue bokeh, and I wasn’t about to leave until I had captured it.