I generally follow a circuitous route while exploring the Hopeland Gardens grounds. Over the years I’ve learned where I’ll likely have the best chance at finding something to point my camera at, and that changes depending on the season, the timeframe (e.g., early, mid, or late), weather patterns, etc. However, I will almost always make my way around the Dollhouse because when it is being properly tended to, the odds of discovering subjects are quite high. Such was the case the morning I created my Little Flowers piece. I couldn’t say when these were planted, but I didn’t remember seeing them on any prior trips around that area (maybe they were there, but they hadn’t yet bloomed). I was attracted to them by their vibrant colors and unique shape. They appear to bloom on top while their petals slope downward. My artistic vision was to capture both the flowers and the buds after lining them up with the gorgeous blue flowers in the background. To ensure that the background only consisted of colors, I had to compose nearly wide open. That didn’t allow for much depth, but, even with that, individual hairs and surface texture is visible.
Just a few feet north of where the previous flowers were growing, I composed my Icy Pink Flames piece. I had created a similar image from the same general location almost a month prior to composing this, so I thought another look at these flowers might be worth my time. I believe this may be a type of coneflower. Whatever it is, I loved the colors and naturally abstract patterns. In my mind’s eye, the florets looked like pink flames with light blue and purple tips. My artistic vision was to center it horizontally in the frame so that the flames could expand outward toward the edges. Thanks to the high level of captured detail, surface texture and individual hairs can be seen.
The coneflower in my Centrifugal piece was so vibrant and fresh that I had to create a composition with it. For artistic reasons, I placed the center of the flower very near the center of the frame. That produced a feeling of expanding outward like a controlled explosion of colors. It also allows the sharpness to fall off in even amounts starting from the center, where the focal point is, and heading across the frame toward both sides. The morning dew enhanced the saturation and provided a good deal of satisfaction for my color junkie cravings. After processing this one, it immediately became my new favorite coneflower. Individual pieces of pollen can be seen thanks to the high level of captured detail.
There were plenty of coneflowers in the back garden at the Aiken County Historical Museum where I composed Half Cone, but finding one that appealed to me artistically wasn’t easy. A bit of frame placement experimentation helped lead to the discovery of a perspective that I hadn’t previously considered. I felt that reducing it down into the best colors and shapes (by eliminating portions of the flower), created an interesting abstract. I liked how the sharp, pointed areas are calmed by the smooth, soft arcs which produces a nice balance. I was also very aware of what was being removed from (and what was permitted to remain in) the frame. To assist with the aesthetic equilibrium, I kept the left and right side spikes balanced as much as possible. The high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen to be seen.
The tube-like shapes in my Cones piece are what the spires of a coneflower look like at two times life-size after zooming in close enough to eliminate the normal flower indicators. The cones themselves are covered in tiny dew drops which adds sparkle and visual interest. I like how the lower layer just below the colorful cylinders appears to be ready to push a new cone out as if they were similar to shark teeth where a broken or missing tooth is simply replaced with a new one that was waiting to be called into service.
Zoomed out a little bit but still close enough for it to be abstract, the cones in my Spirals piece seem to create a visual illusion. The pattern they form gives the feeling of movement almost as if they were spinning or twirling around. The tips of the spires are covered in dew here as well.
While much more round and smooth thanks to their dew coating, the colorful spines on the coneflower in my Candy Cone piece remind me of rock candy suckers. To my eyes, the overall color palette seems to be candy themed. I like how the droplets both reflect and absorb different colors while imbuing it with a sense of being juicy.