Macro Flowers At Swan Lake Iris Gardens In Sumter, SC: Part 4

Swan Lake Iris Gardens: Part 4

Part 4 is a continuation of the Swan Lake Iris Gardens blog posts.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 3, click here.

 

 

Macro flower buds at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Butterfly Garden Buds

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After having worked the Chocolate Garden, I returned to the Butterfly Garden to give it a better going over.  I had basically picked the low hanging fruit in the morning, but after lunch, I didn’t feel as pressed for time.  That allowed me to go a little slower, take additional time to examine more perspectives, and create multiple frames of any given subject.  Luckily the shooting conditions were quite favorable for midday (i.e., I had a diffused sky with periods of rain and not too much wind).  I loved the size and gorgeous red colors of the buds in my Butterfly Garden Buds composition.  I maneuvered around them until I could find an angle that 1) allowed me to keep the buds separated, and 2) have them originate from the top right corner and come down and out into the frame.  Thanks to the high level of detail, surface texture and a rain drop can be seen.

 

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Macro flower at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Diagonal

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Of the images I created featuring the flower in my Diagonal piece, I liked this one the best.  I had a couple of initial objectives for this composition.  First, I concentrated on the anthers and used them as my focal point.  Secondly, I wanted a petal to run diagonally across and down the frame from left to right with the sharp tip ending near the lower corner.  While I had resolved those two intentions, I felt that it could be improved with an additional change.  I believed that it would be artistically stronger to force the majority of the filaments to originate within the frame (that is, to make it possible to see where they were coming from vice entering the frame from outside of it).  So, I found a perspective that brought them back while maintaining the aforementioned goals.

 

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Macro abstract Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Slit

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I concentrated on the structures above the unopened disc florets in my Slit composition.  In my mind’s eye, the center area reminded me of an eyeball, and the opening it has brought to mind a pupil.  It felt almost as if Mother Nature had created a flower that could look back at its admirers.  I positioned the lens to where the diameter of the eye used just about the entire height of the frame while the first one third line (using the rule of thirds) runs right through the pupil nearly splitting it in half.  That also allowed the disc florets to create a fuzzy ring around the eye and exposed some petals.

 

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Macro Flowers At Swan Lake Iris Gardens In Sumter, SC: Part 2

Swan Lake Iris Gardens: Part 2

Part 2 is a continuation of the Swan Lake Iris Gardens blog posts.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 1, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Sugar

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I loved the soft rolls and arcs in my Sugar piece.  Of course, I was attracted by the lovely colors (they have a candy-like sweetness), but the abstract design I discovered at two times life-size was more than enough to ensure that this subject would be captured.  I also liked the pink flames randomly scattered among the tubes in the very center of the flower.  The high level of detail allows individual hairs and pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

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Macro flower at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Party Colors

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The flower in Party Colors wasn’t exactly in the Butterfly Garden.  There was a small section along the bathrooms that are near the Butterfly Garden that was full of these beauties, and their pinks, purples, reds, and yellows called me over to them.  In fact, there were no other flowers that colorful in any of the other gardens.  I loved the color scheme and how the pinks/purples change to reds/oranges.  I also loved the nice little water drop at the tip of the disc floret.  The high level of detail allows surface texture and individual hairs to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Flowers At Swan Lake Iris Gardens In Sumter, SC: Part 1

Swan Lake Iris Gardens: Part 1

We took a picnic lunch over to the Swan Lake Iris Gardens in early July.  I created and scouted in the morning, had lunch, and then continued creating after lunch with a little more scouting as well.  I look forward to having an opportunity to shoot when the iris is in full bloom (perhaps this coming summer).

 

Macro abstract Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Rolls

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The lush oranges and the abstract pattern formed by the rolled up petals near the center attracted me to the flower in my Rolls piece.  In my mind’s eye, the objects concentrated in the very center (and seeping around the tubes) looked like little red and orange flames.  Their points and sharper edges are softened by the circles, arcs, and curves of the petals.  Taken together, they create tension in the center that dissipates in waves that flow out into the frame as the petals become larger and open up after being released.  The sharp points along the curved edges of the petals help strengthen that feeling.

 

 

Macro abstract Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Vortex

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My artistic goal for Vortex was all about capturing the pink and red structure that forms an arch above the unopened disk florets in the center of the flower.  Perhaps because it has a hole in it or because the shapes are curved like they are being forcefully pulled toward the center, it brought to mind a whirling eddy.  Upon closer examination, the sharp tips lining the opening reminded me of the Sarlacc pit in the desert of Tatooine in Star Wars Return of the Jedi.  I placed the mouth near the left one third line, using the rule of thirds, and used it for the focal point.  Shooting at two times life-size quite close to the subject, the depth of field was very shallow.

 

 

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Macro Hibiscus at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Pink Tinge

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I discovered the hibiscus in Pink Tinge at the Butterfly Garden.  It was quite large which initially got my attention all by itself.  I liked how the flower had pink tones that were blended in with the whites of the petals.  Of course, the water drops were a bonus and all but forced me to create a composition.  I placed the stigma discs very near the lower right side crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and used them as the focal point.  I felt that placement gave the center reds, pistil, and petals a nice circular flow both into and around the frame.

 

 

Macro Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Churn

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I had a couple of artistic goals for the zinnia in my Churn piece.  First, I wanted to capture the ring of disc florets.  But, being directly over the top of them wasn’t desirable because I preferred maintaining approximately the same amount of space to the frame edges and including more of the petals.  So, to do that, I used a perspective that allowed more petal length while simultaneously compressing the ring.  As I’ve previously posted, more often than not, photography is about compromises.  With the distance to the subject being so close, the depth of field was very shallow, but the angle I used forced the disc florets to deflect away from the camera’s sensor.  Which meant that they would quickly exit the zone of sharpness that begins just before the focal point on the left side.  Secondly, I wanted the petals and the gaps between them to feel like they were shooting out like sunstar beams from behind the disc florets.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Butterfly Bush At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Hi Five

Macro abstract Butterfly Bush at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Hi Five

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The abstract scene in Hi Five is quite chaotic with anthers and stamen shooting out all over the place.  I believe this is some type of butterfly bush that lives off to the side of the stage at Hopeland Gardens.  While I was initially attracted by its color, that quickly turned to fascination when I looked through the view finder and later at the LCD monitor.  The red, five pronged structures in the center of each bloom that look like fingers in various poses (including what appears to be waving or gesturing) were quite captivating.  The high level of detail allows surface texture and individual pieces of pollen and hairs to be seen.

 

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Wet Butterfly Bush At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Dripping Purple

Macro Butterfly Bush flowers at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Dripping Purple

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The butterfly bush in my Dripping Purple piece was still quite wet from its morning watering when I created the composition.  Dew, rain drops, and water in general can enhance photographic art by boosting saturation and adding visual interest.  Of course, like most things, it’s best when used in moderation.  When glare is an issue, a polarizing filter can be used.  Compositionally speaking, that wasn’t possible here as the shutter time required for the depth of field I wanted was already more than one second.  If I would have added the aforementioned filter, a trade off with other factors could not have been avoided.  Further, expecting to get calm wind conditions where the subject sits motionless for more than one second (especially a bush that has a much larger surface area than a flower) is a gift not too often received.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.

 

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