I discovered the subjects in this post near the garden area at Redcliffe Plantation State Park. Perhaps on site demonstrations were previously performed to show example living conditions at the plantation during the time it was fully operational. If so, someone may have been growing it for use in a recipe, tea, or candles.
The grass behind the subject in Purple Cone worked really well and the piece has excellent bokeh. There are no patterns, shapes, or lines visible in the background – just some color gradations. I like the petals sticking up at the top of the flower, and they remind me of rabbit ears.
When the pieces in this post were created, Hopeland Gardens had an Acacia tree that would bloom in the spring. Unfortunately, the tree was a victim of the devastating freezing rain and ice brought by Winter Storm Pax and no longer exists. I’m not sure if a bloom like the one in Wattle can be found anywhere else in the CSRA. I’m just glad that I have some compositions because I might not ever see another one of them.
The perspective of Non-native brings out the feeling that this tree is not from around here. The scaly branch the bloom is budding from adds support to that assertion. From what I was told, the tree may have been imported from Africa where it is also known as Mimosa, Thorntree, and several other names.
Acacia Pom-poms illustrates how colorful the tree could be by zooming out a little and taking in a wider view. The little flowers reminded me of pom-poms and made me feel like the tree was cheering on spring and the arrival of warmer temperatures.
It can be said that the Acacia tree’s colorful little balls are pretty, some may even suggest that they are cute and resemble a furball or a tribble, however, much like a rose, beauty can sometimes be accompanied by the possibility of pain. My intent with Adorned Thorns was to capture that dichotomy. I split the focus difference between the flower and thorns so that some parts of both could be seen. That also allowed me to hold the thorns in the middleground – as if this was a visual warning to be careful.
The Aiken County Historical Museum is another local spot where I can find macro subjects now and then. The daisy in Museum Greeter was on their front porch in a large pot with other flowers that had complementary colors. The folks that work there were likely using the display to add some color and beauty to their entryway, and, in this case, I’d say they were successful because it was the first thing that I saw and immediately got my attention. The focal point of the piece feels like a big, shining sun and gives the impression that it is radiating warmth and happiness vibes. The high level of detail allows individual hairs and surface texture on the petals to be seen.
Shortly after creating the pieces in this post, I learned another lesson. The end result was an understanding that just because something is open to the public doesn’t mean that it is publicly available. To start at the beginning, I had read about the gardens and plants at Rose Hill and was intrigued by the possibility of finding another location similar to Hopeland Gardens that might offer macro subjects (especially something more exotic or that didn’t exist anywhere else in Aiken). I picked a day that they were closed to carry out my initial exploration of the grounds since fewer people typically means there would be more parking spots available and scouting is generally easier the less crowded it is. That appeared to be a good decision because I walked the entire area without seeing another person, but I didn’t discover anything particularly unusual. However, they did have some very nice iris. They seemed to be physically larger than others I had previously seen or captured and were quite pretty. I don’t normally take gear with me when investigating a new area, so I planned to return as soon as possible.
A couple of days passed before I made it back to Rose Hill, and, when I arrived, they weren’t yet open. I came in the back way since there was a gravel parking lot without a single car in it and that area was closer to the iris I planned to capture. I had worked several subjects and felt that I might have a couple of keepers, but fighting with the wind had slowed me down a little. I wasn’t quite ready to pack up and go home when a man came up and engaged me in a conversation. His first words were, “What are you doing here?” I thought that was a little strange since it was pretty obvious that I had a camera on a tripod and other gear in plain sight, but I answered, “Trying to get some images of these iris.” To that he asked, “What agency are you working for?” Not being a professional photographer, no one had ever asked me a question like that before. I didn’t even understand the concept of an agency, and I wasn’t really sure how to respond, but I managed to get out, “I’m not working for an agency, I’m just taking some pictures.” So he inquired further, “Who sent you?” At that point, I was starting to feel a bit uneasy. I wasn’t yet sure why, but this seemed to be leaning more towards an interrogation vice a conversation about what camera gear we use or what we like to point them at. Never-the-less I continued, “Nobody sent me. I just saw these a few days ago and wanted to get some shots of them.” Then he dropped a bomb on me, “You’re trespassing. This is private property.”
Ugh, I felt about two inches tall. I had no idea. I had mistakenly assumed that since it was open to the public, everyone was welcome to wander the premises. I apologized for being uninformed and for violating his privacy and assured him that it would never happen again and that I would leave immediately. I was ashamed, and I’m pretty sure he realized that because his tone changed. He told me that he was the owner, and we had a short conversation as I was tearing my gear down. He asked me if I was going to sell what I had created. At that point, I hadn’t really put too much thought into selling my work, but I did have a web site and it seemed logical that I might pursue that sometime in the future, so I responded affirmatively. He invited me to return and purchase a meal at his establishment while suggesting that we might have a conversation about my being able to return, with his blessing, to capture anything I was interested in. He was very fair.
Truth be told, I was too embarrassed to go back. In addition to that, my severe hypoglycemia means I’m forced to maintain a very strict eating schedule and it rarely lines up with the hours fancy restaurants keep. He requested only one thing from me; that anything I posted on my web page mentions that it was composed at Rose Hill. He may not even remember me or our conversation, but I am a man of my word, and it is important to me to keep a promise.
The perspective used to create Mouthful Of Color gives the impression of looking into the mouth of an iris. I was attracted to the gorgeous colors on display (especially the golden glow warming up the background). I also really like the beard and the random patterns in the fall.
The Iris Beard composition really is all about the beard. The physically large size of this specimen allowed me to isolate the beard away from everything else – removing any normal frame of reference that would indicate this was a flower. As there are no sharp edges with lots of round shapes and arcs, the piece has a soft, calm tone and feels almost like something you want to run your finger across or reach out and pet.
The subject in Rose Hill Iris really showcases the naturally abstract beauty inside of these flowers. I love the color transition in the fall from the darker reds near the top to the purples at the bottom, how the beard sits almost perfectly in the valley between the sides, and the subtle golden glow in the background. The soft tone combined with stunning glamour makes me feel like it expects photographers from miles around to knock each other over for the opportunity to shoot it. Considering my trespassing faux pas, that apparently makes me part of the fine art and nature paparazzi. 😉
While it may have a limited color palette, the marigold in Full On Yellow has a lot going on. I especially like the shark teeth, individual hairs, and water droplets. In my mind’s eye, this beautiful, random, chaos could be what an entire day of emotions from a normally happy person would look like if it were possible to graphically create and visually combine them. For example, the overall yellow tone represents happiness, and the softer round edges are calm, but the little hairs along their edges show a degree of tension or apprehension. The shark teeth symbolize a period of being angry, while the water drops are a pleasurable or peaceful time. Finally, the hairy or spiked areas indicate stress.
This area gets pretty excited in the days leading up to and during the Masters Tournament. The schools even schedule their spring break vacations to coincide with it and some folks rent their house out to pay for a two week stay anywhere they can think of going and still have lots of spending money left. So it was not unusual to see the Woodside Plantation entrance looking especially colorful as I drove past it that week. I turned around, went back, found a parking spot, and then walked up to talk to the guard. I asked for and was granted permission to see if I could find a flower or two worth capturing.
I believe the subject in my Plantation Queen piece is a Queen Of The Night tulip. The deep, dark colors got and held my attention, forcing me to be patient and wait for the wind to calm down long enough to create a composition. They also help the focal point pop by making it seem like a spot light is illuminating the stigma and, to some degree, the anthers. As I’ve previously written, I don’t use focus stacking very often, but that was employed here and helps achieve a high level of detail allowing surface texture and contours on the stigma, anthers, and petals to be seen.
The subject in Woodside Tulip was equally challenging to compose, which was mainly due to the working conditions. That is, very little room to maneuver being so close to the entrance way sign and wind. It was a bit noisy too and not from the heavy traffic on Silver Bluff road; apparently the folks visiting or living in the subdivision are quite fond of photographers and the driver of every other car or so felt compelled to toot their horn. 😉
While driving down Hitchcock Parkway, I noticed a lot of color next to the sign for the Foxchase subdivision. I don’t know much about their neighborhood and have never even driven through it, but they certainly had a spiffy looking presence at the entryway. I was attracted to the colors of the flower in Foxchase Petunia, and I really like the almost random pattern of lines formed by the veins in the petals. The center focal point feels like it is shy or attempting to hide inside the colorful cave.
The center focal point in Revealed is hiding so far into the Petunia’s hole that getting a sharp focus on it caused the rest of the flower to dissolve into just colors and lines. I like the effect and it has the added bonus of really making that part of the flower jump out. It feels as if a spot light is shining on the center while the rest of the stage is bathed in red.
The abstract colors, lines, and patterns of the Azalea in Pink Leopard were found at the Rye Patch in Aiken, SC. By successfully employing a macro rig’s ability to sharply focus at close proximity combined with its narrow angle of view, I was able to eliminate any usual frame of reference that would provide an indication this was a flower. I’ve previously written about my love of naturally abstract subjects and the ability to distill them down to this form, and I was pleased to add this one to that growing body of work. The patterns remind me of the spots on a leopard. At this distance there isn’t as much detail to see, but texture across the surface was captured and remains visible.
The subject in Spattered was also discovered at the Rye Patch. The top portion of the composition gives the impression that it was colored by paint flung at a canvas from a brush. The center rib or veins bring a little order to the chaos while creating the appearance of a tree with limbs and branches – as if nature randomly formed a picture of itself.
I get lucky every now and then while exploring the Rye Patch grounds by coming across flowers that were presumably left behind after some type of an event. On this particular spring afternoon, I discovered some very nice daisies. Since I don’t know what purpose they served I can’t say the occasion had any relationship to Clemson, but the subject in Clemson Clad certainly has the right color scheme. The purple ring really creates an attention target for the center of the flower. To me, the piece projects a feeling of power as if the center was a Clemson sun or star that was radiating their purple and orange light beams.
While the Color Bowl composition shares the same color scheme, it isn’t a horizontal companion to Clemson Clad. From the full view perspective, it projects less overall drama, but when the details are examined, the mood changes. Upon closer observation of the center, the orange particles appear to be boiling over and spewing from the pods or that it is being forced up and out of fissure vents like some type of molten lava. The yellows in the core underneath that activity take on a sense of extreme heat. Zoomed in, it feels like looking down into the mouth of a Clemson volcano.
The focal point in Pistil Packer feels like it is holding its own against a strong vortex. The arcs, veins, and color patterns seem to create a sense of force, as if the hole was trying to pull everything down into it. The patterns of the veins in the center add tension and suggest the level of strength is greatest in that area since they appear to be collapsing. Yet it has the power to remain in place and fight through any difficulties.