Macros And Abstracts At Yonce Farm In Ridge Spring, SC: Part 5

Macros And Abstracts: Part 5

 

Part 5 is a continuation of the Macros And Abstracts blog posts.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 4, click here.

 

 

Macro daylily with dark petals and fiery center at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Fire Pit

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I loved the dark purples and reds in my Fire Pit piece.  In my mind’s eye, the yellows, oranges, and reds in the center reminded me of fire.  My artistic intent was to place a little bit of the really dark petal as a foreground border with strong flames searing above it while the filaments carry the anthers up through the blaze into the frame.  The little deformation near the lower right-hand corner was perfect because it appears to be some type of glowing ember.  A deflector was used to even out the light across the subject.  Surface texture as well as lots of pollen can be seen.

 

 

Macro daylily stamen and chicken fat at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Singular Beauty

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I found the scene in my Singular Beauty piece quite interesting.  First, it is not often that you are able to isolate a single stamen away from the others and the stigma.  Secondly, the chicken fat coming into the frame from the lower right-hand side had a rather unique shape that added visual interest.  I also appreciated how the curve of the filament is sort of echoed by a vein in the background petal.  Without purposefully trying, the anther is essentially bisected by the left most one third line (using the rule of thirds).  These days I do, on occasion, specifically align things, but many times, while composing, my artistic desires just naturally utilize lines from the rule of thirds.  Tiny pieces of pollen can be seen here as well thanks to the high level of captured detail.

 

 

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Abstract macro daylily petal surface wrinkles at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Wrinkled

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I was attracted to the textured features on the petal of the daylily in my Wrinkled piece.  I loved the pleating, scrunched look and the dark orange and brown earth tones combined with the nicely contrasting bright yellows.  As the petal’s rib nicely divided the naturally abstract patterns on the surface, I made the artistic decision to place the ridge on a diagonal that arcs up and out of the lower right-hand side corner.  I subsequently used the furrow as my focal point.  A deflector was used here as well to even out the light and allow more detail to be seen.

 

 

Abstract macro canna lily parts twist and curl at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Ribbon

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The canna lily in my Ribbon piece was another fairly large subject.  Of course, I loved the bold colors, but more than that, I was enamored with the shape of the stamen and its naturally abstract patterns.  In my mind’s eye, the curl of the stamen reminded me of how a ribbon on a present is sometimes formed into a coil to add a touch of artistic flair and a little extra love while wrapping it.  The deflector was utilized here too, which, once again, brings up a concession management topic.  When there is simply too much light on your subject, a deflector is a fantastic tool.  However, additional shutter time will be needed with all other settings being equal (e.g., ISO and F-stop).  Under windy conditions, reducing your available light may not work.  In this case, using my preferred methods, with the last of the golden hour light nearly gone and the wind starting to pick up, patience was the only available tool in the bag.  That and creating lots of images to sift through for the few that were perfectly stable.  Surface textures and tiny pieces of pollen are visible within the frame.

 

 

Abstract macro daylily throat and petals at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Feeling Purple

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I was attracted to the flower in my Feeling Purple piece by the gorgeous purples and greens.  My artistic vision was to position the naturally abstract darker purple inner arc horizontally across the frame.  The most difficult aspect of this was finding and keeping the angle that resulted in the most aesthetically pleasing image.  To pull in the fantastic greens, I needed to look down into the core of the daylily, however, the stamen, and more importantly, the tips of the anthers wanted to creep up into the bottom of the frame.  When you create at more than life size magnification, small amounts of subject movement can greatly affect your composition.  With that in mind, the wind can also be a significant factor as it tends to manipulate your subject’s position (even when using a plamp).  Once you can imagine what you want, keep checking the framing to ensure you’re capturing the desired result.  Continue to reposition the camera as needed to maintain what you envisioned and hope that Mother Nature calms the wind down long enough to capture it (in this case, two and half seconds).  Surface texture can be seen here thanks to the high level of detail.

 

 

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Macros And Abstracts At Yonce Farm In Ridge Spring, SC: Part 4

Macros And Abstracts: Part 4

 

Part 4 is a continuation of the Macros And Abstracts blog posts.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 3, click here.

 

 

Abstract macro canna lily petal at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Red Rain

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I have always felt that canna lily petals have very nice naturally abstract patterns and shapes on them, and my artistic intent for Red Rain was to find an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of them.  As the petals are curved, finding an area that is flat simply isn’t possible.  Increasing the magnification helps a little because the slope is reduced as the surface area diminishes, but with a higher magnification the depth of field is shallower.  As I’ve written in many previous blog posts, photography is about concession management.  You likely can’t have everything you want, so you must accept the best you can get.

 

 

Abstract macro canna lily at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Big Wing

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Some of the canna lilies at the Yonce Farm have very large stamens.  The stamen in my Big Wing piece was almost the size of a petal on the canna lilies I see at Hopeland Gardens.  I’m not sure if they are a specific type of canna lily or Bob’s plants are just really happy with the soil conditions and grow bigger.  At any rate, I loved the naturally abstract patterns of lines and shapes on the stamen as well as the colors.  Individual pieces of pollen are visible too.

 

 

Abstract macro canna lily throat at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Whirl

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Once again, I loved the naturally abstract shapes and patterns on the canna lily in my Whirl piece, but my artistic intent was to create a composition that looked down into the flower.  In my mind’s eye, doing that produced a swirl like effect almost like the shapes were being pulled down a vortex.  Even the design of the stigma adds to that feeling with how it is curved and twisted.  As the flower itself was primarily backlit, I used a diffuser to even the light out and allow a deeper look down into it.

 

 

Abstract macro daylily filaments and petals at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Rise Up

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My artistic vision for the flower in Rise Up was to create an abstract that featured lines.  I used the petals along the bottom to create a border and then placed the filaments and stigma on an angle coming up from the lower right-hand corner into the frame.  Additionally, the ribs and veins in the background originate from the same area and arch up and out into the frame in a similar manner.  As the anthers were beyond the zone of sharpness, they dissolved down into shapes and colors.

 

 

Abstract macro daylily petals at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Petals

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I was attracted to the flower in my Petals piece by the gorgeous purples, but after seeing how nicely the colors of this daylily flowed combined with how the flower’s petals overlapped, I immediately knew that I wanted to create another naturally abstract composition using them.  I placed the left side petal in the frame so that the edge of it weaves its way up diagonally.  I also used the edge as my focal point.  Surface textures can be seen here as well.

 

 

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Macro Lilies At Yonce Farm In Ridge Spring, SC: Part 14

Yonce Lilies: Part 14

 

Part 14 is a continuation of the Yonce Lilies blog posts.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 13, click here.

 

 

 

Macro abstract rolled canna lily leaf interior at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Down The Drain

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Just a simple concept was enough to attract me to the canna lily leaves in my Down The Drain piece.  As I looked down the tube formed by the rolled leaves, my artistic vision was to create a naturally abstract composition that ventured into them.  I loved how they were swirled and pulled my eye deeper inside.  In my mind’s eye, the spiraling effect immediately made me think of a drain.  With the very shallow depth of field my experimental macro rig produces, making a determination as to where the focal point should be placed was tricky.  To increase my possible opportunities, several compositions were created with varying focal points.  I then selected the most aesthetically pleasing winner during my post processing evaluation phase using the much larger computer monitor.  Having a decently sized display (e.g., 27 inches) allows the ability to get a good overall feel of your artwork and makes picking the most desirable version easier.  And, don’t get me wrong, the promotion decision is strictly based on emotional response.

 

 

Macro abstract canna lily leaf and dew drop at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Injection

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I was attracted to the canna lily scene in my Injection piece by several factors.  For example, the overall naturally abstract feel, the lively striped background, the bands around the center stalk, and the fantastic dew drop.  This was one of those settings where you’re so pleased it makes you chuckle with excitement and anticipation.  In my mind’s eye, the large drop near the top of the needle-like protrusion immediately made me think of a liquid that had been forced from a syringe to ensure that no air bubbles exist.  Because I placed the focal point on the drop, the background stripes can be seen within it, which created another visually appealing element.  Even though the depth of field is quite shallow, enough detail remained in the background to create a psychedelic feel.  The background is actually fairly wet and covered with lots of dew drops, but they are faded just enough to where they add additional interest.

 

 

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This is the final post from my visits to the Yonce farm.  It is such a great place to find colorful and interesting subjects.  I also had a couple of nice visits with Bob after having created during the best light of the morning.  The last time we met he was recovering from being run over by his antique tractor in an unusual, freak accident where he managed to start it while it was in gear when standing in front of a rear wheel.  He was actually pretty lucky to get out of the situation as well as he did because the outcome could have been much worse.  He indicated that he was going to continue to “slow down” and maybe concentrate on the front gardens while letting the others go in the coming growing season.  I hope to get back over there soon if for no other reason than to just visit with them.

Macro Lilies At Yonce Farm In Ridge Spring, SC: Part 6

Yonce Lilies: Part 6

 

Part 6 is a continuation of the Yonce Lilies blog posts.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 5, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract orange canna lily at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Orange Canna

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I was attracted to the canna lily in my Orange Canna piece by the hues.  In fact, they called to me from all the way across the width of the farm’s largest garden.  I simply had to determine what type of flower had such gorgeous orange and yellow tones.  I was surprised to learn that it was a canna lily since I had not previously seen one clad in those colors.  My artistic vision was to concentrate on the stigma while capturing all of the curves, arcs, and lines, and I felt that doing so would ensure that I could add another subject to my Naturally Abstract gallery.  Even though the morning sun was providing nice front lighting, it was a bit too harsh.  So, I used a diffuser to level it out and remove the hard shadows.  The high level of detail allows surface texture and pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

Macro abstract canna leaf at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Canna Waves

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My excitement level shot off the scale upon seeing the abstract pattern and colors in this canna lily leaf.  For my Canna Waves piece, I tried to capture as much of that initial scene as I could get.  Though not all of the backlighting remained, I was fortunate to be quick enough to utilize some of it for this composition.  I would have needed to be stationed in front of the leaf with everything perfect and ready to go before the sun reached its sweet spot in order to catch what I originally witnessed.  Most folks don’t realize how fast the sun changes, but for photographers that have waited for the right light during a rising or setting, we know full well just how ephemeral it is.  I was only able to create a couple of images before it was completely gone from this setting.  Mother Nature did give me a little bonus dew drop though.

 

 

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Macro daylily center at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Irresistible

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I liked the yellows and greens on the daylily in my Irresistible piece.  I also liked the area of chicken fat along the petal edge.  Something, perhaps some type of bug, has taken a bite out of one of the front anthers on its left-hand side.  I don’t mind having imperfect subjects every now and then especially if it makes them more interesting.  In this case, it made me wonder what would do that.  I guess it didn’t taste all that good since the missing portion isn’t very big.  Surface texture and individual pieces of pollen are visible here as well thanks to the high level of captured detail.

 

 

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Macro Lilies At Yonce Farm In Ridge Spring, SC: Part 5

Yonce Lilies: Part 5

 

Part 5 is a continuation of the Yonce Lilies blog posts.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 4, click here.

 

Macro abstract pink canna lily at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Twisted Wing

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While the majority of flowers at the Yonce farm are daylilies, they have other photographically worthy subjects.  One example of that is their canna lilies.  I was attracted to the flower in my Twisted Wing piece by the colors and its naturally abstract feel.  The only place I’ve ever seen a pink canna lily is in their gardens, which piqued my interest all by itself.  Perhaps because it is twisted and rolled over, the design on the left-hand side of the stamen is very different from the ribbed lines on the right.  That being said, they work quite nicely together and help solidify the overall abstract quality.  Even with a very shallow depth of field, individual dew drops and pieces of pollen are visible.

 

 

Macro abstract canna lily at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Ejected

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The colors and abstract pattern of shapes on the canna lily in my Ejected piece were irresistible.  In my mind’s eye, their splattered appearance made it feel like the splotches had been sprayed up and out of the center, and they became elongated while dripping or running down the petals.  My aesthetic goal was to find an angle that allowed the center stalk-like part (perhaps the stigma) to coalesce with the splashes and petals while creating a visual flow that encompassed it.  Thanks to the high level of detail, dew and individual pieces of pollen can be seen.

 

 

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Macro pastel daylily center at Yonce Farm in Ridge Spring, South Carolina
Accentuated

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I was attracted to the design in the petals of the daylily in my Accentuated piece.  The dramatic lines are obvious above the anthers, but they actually nearly surround the stamens.  In my mind’s eye, it was almost as if the anthers were so brilliant that they were causing rays of light to shoot out in all directions around them.  My aesthetic goal was to enhance the starburst-like effect by placing the stamen group lower in the frame.  The depth of field is a little deeper here since this was composed at slightly less than two times life-size.  The high level of detail allows surface texture to be seen on the anthers.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Canna Lilies At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Abstract Canna Lilies

 

Macro abstract twisted canna lily at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Warped

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While making my way around the big pond in Hopeland Gardens, I noticed that the canna lilies were nicely blooming and fresh.  I am quite familiar with the area where they live after having created artwork there on several occasions over the years.  I searched through the flowers for naturally abstract scenes and was enticed by the design in my Warped piece.  My artistic vision was to concentrate on what I believe is the stamen and its alluring colors and abstract patterns.  Aesthetically, I liked having it come up and into the frame from the left-hand side corner because that allowed the telltale twist to be immediately apparent while highlighting the stamen.  Isolating the subject was, once again, aided by composing at two times life-size which produces simple colors and lines around it in the background.  Even though the depth of field is very shallow, some surface texture is visible.

 

 

 

Macro abstract canna lily curl at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Canna Curl

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I discovered the stamen in my Canna Curl piece in the same area where Warped was found.  It was so tantalizing that I refused to give up until I felt that I had captured everything I wanted.  The environmental conditions were really challenging (e.g., continually changing light due to shifting cloud cover, low light, and wind) and nearly 200 compositions were created to get this single image (don’t get me wrong, this isn’t focus stacked).  My artistic vision required very specific details, and I wasn’t going to accept anything less even though Mother Nature raised the difficultly level.  For example, my desire to have similar distances from the top, bottom, and sides while the wind kept constantly moving the subject around.  In my mind’s eye, the way it was curled made it feel like a tube which, after deciding to frame it vertically, meant that I needed it to sit in a position that would best enhance that impression.  Thankfully, composing at two times life-size made subject isolation fairly easy by dissolving background details.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Canna Lily At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC: Part 2

Abstract Canna Lilies: Part 2

Part 2 is a continuation of the Abstract Canna Lilies posts from the same plant group in the big back garden at the Aiken County Historical Museum.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 1, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract Canna Lily at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Undulating

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I was called over to the lily in my Undulating composition by its bold colors.  In fact, this flower had the most attractive colors out of any I had seen blooming from this group all season.  But, I was even more impressed with the pattern they created.  I loved how the petals felt like waves rolling away from and crashing back into the center.  The high level of detail allows individual dew drops and surface texture to be seen.

 

 

Macro abstract Canna Lily at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Inner Smile

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Inner Smile is essentially the vertical companion to Undulating.  Though the pattern the colors form is the same, it does have a different feel when viewed vertically.  Thanks to the high level of detail, individual dew drops and surface texture can be seen here as well.

 

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Macro Abstract Canna Lily Leaf At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Wet Canna Leaf

 

Macro abstract Canna Lily leaf at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Wet Canna Leaf

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I loved the greens combined with the dark red veins in my Wet Canna Leaf piece.  This is another composition from the area along the south wall at the Aiken County Historical Museum where the canna lilies live.  Because of its abstract quality (i.e., simple colors and lines), I really appreciated the ability of the dew drops to bring additional visual interest.  Aesthetically, I didn’t want it to feel too mathematically exact or mechanical so it’s not perfectly centered within the frame, but it’s close enough to give the impression that I intended it to be.

 

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Macro Red Canna Lily At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Red Canna Lily

 

Macro Red Canna Lily at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Points

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The bright red colors called me over to the canna lily in my Points composition from across the south lawn at the Aiken County Historical Museum.  While it has an almost abstract feel, I liked the concentration of buds with the single flower.  When you are shooting real close to a given subject, the depth of field can be extremely shallow, but as you increase the distance between your lens and the subject, the zone of sharpness expands.  Composing while using a higher F-stop can result in background objects being visible.  In severe cases, the background can cause an image to become cluttered and confuse the viewer since they may not understand what the subject is.  To please my aesthetic eye, I do my best to avoid busy backgrounds, and this was one case where an adjustment was required.  This lily was fairly close to leaves, vines, and other flora in the background.  To dissolve those things down into colors, I dialed back the F-stop to a smaller number.  That is yet another example of the many artistic tradeoffs I’ve posted about previously.  You have to consciously decide how much subject sharpness you want to give away to get the background you need.  Once again, if you find yourself in this situation, your Depth Of Field Preview while using your camera’s Live View capability is quite valuable because you can use it to judge when you’ve produced the desired amount of blur.  Of course, there are processing tricks you can use to achieve similar results, but I believe in getting it right in the camera.  To me, the final result is always better, and you’ll spend significantly less time processing.

 

 

Macro Red Canna Lily at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Skinny

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I liked the mixture of hard points and softer round edges in my Skinny piece.  The blend of the buds and petals create a nice contrast.  This is the same subject featured in Points composed from a completely different perspective.  While keeping the majority of the buds, I wanted to bring more attention to the flower.  For the same reasons outlined above, I had to trade some subject sharpness for background blur here as well.

 

 

Macro Red Canna Lily at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Red Canna

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I liked how the petals far outnumbered the buds in my Red Canna composition.  It’s interesting that this subject was quite close to the previous subject yet it had significantly more blooms.  Though the combination of buds to flowers is nearly opposite of the earlier pieces, I felt that it had a nice mixture, and I liked how they filled out the frame.  Once again, the proximity to background objects was a concern and subject sharpness had to be reduced by using a smaller F-stop.  The water drops were from a quickly moving shower that started spitting just before I pressed the shutter a couple more times.  I grabbed my gear and moved everything under the roof area on the south side of the museum until the rain stopped.  The high level of detail allows pieces of pollen and rain drops to be seen.

 

Macro Red Canna Lily at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Lily Tower

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Before I was run off by the thought of my equipment getting drenched, I had considered whether or not the prior lily subject could be shot at a higher F-stop.  Since the rain had ended, I returned to the subject, set the area up a bit, and composed Lily Tower.  Though I had to arrange some vines and use a plamp to hold the scene together, I was able to find a perspective and position the tripod so that there was a whole lot of space between the subject and the background (like 40 or 50 feet which was way outside the sharpness zone).  I liked the background because it was a bit darker against the bright reds (thanks to an angle that had the lens pointed into the leaves of a background tree).  The increased depth of field and high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen and surface textures to be seen.

 

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Macro Abstract Canna Lily Leaves At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Canna Lily Leaves

I mentioned in a previous post that the Aiken County Historical Museum was surrounded by a fairly substantial wall.  In some places along the wall, grass or other natural cover exists, but in other spots there are areas with a variety of flora (including flowers and flowering bushes).  Both of the pieces in this post were discovered next to the wall that borders the south side of the property.

 

Macro abstract Canna Lily leaf at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Life Lines

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I was attracted to the leaf in my Life Lines piece by the size and color.  This leaf is quite large and since it was primarily backlit, the colors were especially striking.  I placed the midrib diagonally because I liked how the veins flowed away from it out into and across the frame.  Due to the shallow depth of field, I could have wished that the leaf wasn’t curled on the bottom, but artistically, I love the sweeping arcs.  The high level of detail allows surface texture, water drops, and wetness to be seen.

 

Macro abstract Canna Lily leaves at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Lily Leaves

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I loved how the foreground leaf in my Lily Leaves composition was lit up by the rising sun.  I worked the camera into a position where the subject leaf was still being backlit while the background was filled with another canna lily leaf.  I liked how the complementary colors worked so well together.  I also liked the little tip, the darker ribs, and the water drops on the red leaf.

 

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