Trillium At Black Rock Mountain State Park In Mountain City, GA

Black Rock Mountain Trillium

Macro Trillium at Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, Georgia
Black Rock Mountain Trillium

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While hiking on a trail not far from the red mountain laurel, I discovered another flower that I had never seen before.  Luckily the subject in Black Rock Mountain Trillium was right next to the stairs and not too far from the trail head which made it easy to get to after returning to my car and gathering my gear.  I like the arcs and curls as well as the random sprinkling of color between the yellow strips of pollen on the stamen.  The high level of detail allows surface textures, individual hairs, and pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

Macro Trillium at Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, Georgia
Beckon

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The change of perspective in my Beckon piece makes the curls seem as if they are drawing you in or subtly calling out, asking you to come closer.  Their curvature creates a sense of pulling towards the center of the flower.  The high level of detail allows surface textures, individual hairs, and pieces of pollen to be seen here as well.

 

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Red Mountain Laurel At Black Rock Mountain State Park In Mountain City, GA

Red Mountain Laurel

Macro Mountain Laurel at Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, Georgia
Red Mountain Laurel

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A large swath of color caught my eye while out exploring the area during a long weekend stay in a cabin at Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, GA.  Upon closer inspection, I was pleasantly surprised to find blooming mountain laurel especially in an unfamiliar color.  I have seen both white and pink here in South Carolina and in the mountains of North Carolina, but the color in my Red Mountain Laurel piece was a new variety of the much beloved little flowers.  Because they bloom in clumps that are roughly spherical (i.e., there can be several inches of distance between a flower in front and one on the side) and their cups can be relatively deep when working with a very shallow depth of field, a frame filing composition with sharp focus throughout can be challenging to find.  I was able to resolve that issue by concentrating on a smaller group within a bloom that had a fairly full complement of flowers and buds.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.

 

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Abstract Weed Seeds At Phinizy Swamp Nature Park In Augusta, GA

Wind Seeds

Macro abstract seeds at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia
Wind Ready

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The focal point used in Wind Ready allows you to peer down inside the subject’s head of seeds.  Though these are a different type of seed, they share similarities with my Rainbow Seeds piece and display a reduced, but still visible, prism-like effect.  I like how the seed hairs shoot out like star bursts and they remind me of sparkles from fireworks.  Those small hairs have tiny, thinner and shorter hairs coming off from them that can be perceived as individual strands since a high level of detail was captured.

 

Macro abstract seeds at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia
Eversion

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By focusing near the center of the subject in Eversion, I was able to create an abstract composition that allows what is normally hidden beneath its fluffy hairs to be seen; effectively turning it inside out.  The outwardly radiating feeling is enhanced by, and gains an edgy attitude from, the ribs in and barbs along the seed blades.  The high level of detail allows surface texture, contours, and individual teeth-like spikes to be seen.

 

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Thistle At Phinizy Swamp Nature Park In Augusta, GA

Phinizy Thistle

Macro Thistle at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia
Phinizy Thistle

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I can see how a thistle could be a controversial subject.  On one hand, some folks may feel it’s ugly.  In part, their reasoning might be based on the fact that it is a weed and, by default, weeds are hated, despised, and should be eradicated.  I would concede that, despite being a nice purple color, the sharp thorns on the subject in Phinizy Thistle aren’t doing anything to help its pretty quotient.  And I would agree that for golf courses and other sites that wish to maintain pristine grassy areas, controlling the weed population is essential.  But where this subject was found, I would argue that they are just as important to the ecosystem as anything else.  I focused my attention on it because it had a nice flower and because it permitted me to alter the perspective so that I could maximize the amount of yellow in the background.  Being a flowering weed that is both pretty and ugly, perhaps thistle is just inherently contentious.  The high level of detail allows pieces of pollen, surface texture, contours, individual hairs, and thorn points to be seen.

 

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Rainbow Seeds At Phinizy Swamp Nature Park In Augusta, GA

Rainbow Seeds

Macro abstract seeds at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia
Rainbow Seeds

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I was creating abstract compositions of an open pod of seeds one spring afternoon in the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park when the light changed to a perfect amount and angle.  This was one of those serendipitous moments that photographers out in the field occasionally enjoy.   The tiny little hairs in Rainbow Seeds caught the light in a way that allowed a prism-like effect to occur.  I don’t believe it lasted more than two minutes, and I was already set up, focused, and ready to create when it happened.  The result was shimmering streaks of colors all through the composition.  The experience could very well be compared to some origins of riddles and tales of yore.  For example, you’ve no doubt heard that there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow?  Well, these little seeds could just as easily be picked up by the wind, carried to and planted in their final destination, then during the right sun and rain mix, sprout rainbows.  Who knows what Mother Nature is capable of?  😉  The high level of detail allows surface texture and contours on some seeds as well as glassy strands and very thin individual hairs to be seen.

 

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Water Moccasin At Phinizy Swamp Nature Park Plays Dead

Thanatosis….Or Not

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I’m an opportunistic wildlife shooter.  That is, if there is an opportunity, I’ll create a piece, but I don’t normally go out specifically looking for those types of shots.  On this particular morning I was making my way through one of the smaller swampy areas, across the road from the main campus, in the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, when I came upon what looked like a decapitated Cottonmouth snake.  I thought that, because I couldn’t see a tail or a head.  Just the body of a completely motionless, at least three foot long, snake laying there.  The CSRA was in the middle of a drought that eventually completely dried up that section of the park, but at the time, with my snake boots on, I was standing in about four inches of water.  I figured an animal had killed and dropped it when I disturbed their breakfast while sloshing through the weeds.  I was also thinking it would be pretty cool to have a Water Moccasin skin.  I did consider picking it up, but luckily that insane thought was quickly replaced with determining if it had a head before physically touching it.  I examined it the best I was able to, but could not ascertain if it was dead or headless.  Since I had my tripod with me, I decided to poke it with one of the legs and see what reaction that would bring.  I gave it a thump, and there was absolutely no response.  After a couple of seconds, I gave it two pretty good back-to-back bumps, and it still appeared to be dead to the world.  While watching and waiting for any sign of life, I thought, “I’ll give this one last try and then it should be safe to lift it up out of the water.”  So I gave it two more ‘this time I mean it’ pops and POW, in the blink of an eye, out comes an unhappy, hissing, white-mouthed monster.  I was scared (but just for a second since this wasn’t my first run in with one of these – I’ve got an even better story about another encounter that I wasn’t able to capture), but I think I was more startled than anything because I was beginning to believe that it was actually dead.  At that point, the photographer in me took over and as fast as I could I put the tripod down, grabbed the camera, composed the piece, focused, and hit the button on the remote switch.  The entire incident took place so fast that it was the only chance I got.  Before I even knew what happened, the snake had moved off towards the shore where the cattails and weeds were much taller.

I had a macro rig on the camera, so this piece is essentially a head-shot with the snake’s body as the primary background.  That also allowed for lots of detail in the head and mouth areas.  I like the eye, the oily surface, and the wetness which brings out a more saturated look across the body.

So kids, don’t try this at home or in a swamp near you.  While they may be “playing dead”, the operative word here is playing.

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