Abstract Macro Dandelions At Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, SC

Dandelions

 

While exploring the north side of the museum grounds, I found some dandelions that I decided to play around with.  After examining them, I picked a favorite (or at least one that I wanted to use for compositions).  Due to the very early time of day and the lack of light on that side, use of a plamp was required.  My initial measurement for shutter speed was at six seconds and Mother Nature rarely gives you that much time without some wind.  The problem with a flower head that you can see through is that the resulting image will often be influenced by the plamp (depending on placement, of course).  One way to counter that is to find something that can be used to cover the plamp that has the same colors as other flora found in the flower’s natural environment.  A large leaf from a nearby weed with nice purples and greens was perfect to hide the plamp.

 

 

Abstract macro dandelion seeds at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Dandy

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For my Dandy piece, my artistic vision was to focus down inside the head.  That decision created an abstract with what appears to be an explosion of seeds shooting out in all directions.  Due to the razor thin depth of field at nearly two times life size magnification, the pappus disks (sometimes referred to as a parachute) are outside the zone of sharpness and add white splashes and strands.  Pieces of pollen and tiny hairs on the achenes can be seen.

 

 

Abstract macro dandelion seeds at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Wispy

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For Wispy, I decided to see pull the focal point back to the top of the pappus disks.  That still created an abstract, just with different qualities.  Though both images were created using the same subject, they appear quite different.  Additionally, the light had dramatically improved by the time I composed this so I was able to reduce the shutter speed by more than half.  Pollen and individual hairs can be seen here as well.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Dandelion At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Layers

I don’t see much wildlife at the museum (aside from the birds and an occasional squirrel) presumably because the grounds are surrounded by a fairly substantial wall.  So I was pretty surprised when, after having only taken about three steps off the walkway going down the hill to find a suitable dandelion subject, I scared two fawns out from where they were hunkered down.  They certainly weren’t very old, still had their spots, and probably only weighed around 35 pounds.  They ran in opposite directions, one going left and the other heading right toward South Boundary.  The one that went right, ran up ahead of me but not down towards the cabin.  Most likely because someone with a trailer was in the parking area on the other side of the wall opening doors and making quite a bit of noise.  I thought that if I could find it, I might be able to create a rather unique composition so I walked towards the area where I lost track of it.  But, before I could even get my camera into position, it came up out of where it was, ran down the walkway, and left the museum through the open gate.  It then crossed Newberry and went into the trees on the other side of the road.  Later as I was searching for subjects near the corner of the grounds where New Lane and Newberry Street meet, the other one (that had went left) came out of hiding and bolted right past me.  Poor little things.  I’ll bet their mother won’t use the museum grounds as a hiding place again after I scared the hell out of them.

 

Macro abstract Dandelion at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Layers

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I discovered the dandelion in my abstract Layers piece along the hill in back of the Aiken County Historical Museum following my initial interaction with the fawns.  I liked how the orange cones and yellow petals are arranged on top of each other.  I also liked the relatively busy look and the sunstar feel with rays and light shooting out in all directions from the center.  Due to the extremely shallow depth of field, I preferred the aesthetics of a lower focal point where the subject becomes sharper as your eye descends down into it.

 

 

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Edisto Beach Trip: Day 6 – Botany Bay Flowers

Day 6, Botany Bay Flowers

With plenty of golden hour light remaining after getting off the beach the morning of day six, I drove down the driving tour road looking for possible macro subjects.  We had a fairly warm late winter that continued into spring and that caused lots of early blooms.  While most of the spring flowers had already bloomed, I was able to find some that were reasonably fresh.

 

Macro abstract False Dandelion beside Mrs Pepper's Oak in Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Tubes

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I found the false dandelion in my Tubes piece beside Mrs. Pepper’s Oak near the edge of Picnic Pond (which is area eight on the driving tour map).  Composing at two times life-size combined with close proximity to the subject results in an extremely shallow depth of field, which helps create a sense that the tube-like structures fall away into a sparkly mist.

 

 

Macro abstract False Dandelion beside Mrs Pepper's Oak in Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Picnic Pond Flower

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Picnic Pond Flower is close to being a vertical companion to Tubes.  It is the same flower, but the distance to the subject has been increased.  I often create both a horizontal and vertical version for a piece (especially when the subject permits it), which allows both orientations to be available.

 

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Macro flower at Sea Cloud Plantation in Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Sea Cloud

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I discovered the flower in my Sea Cloud piece beside fencing that completely surrounds the ruins of the Sea Cloud Plantation (which is area eleven on the driving tour map).  The map information states that the builder (Ephraim Mikell Seabrook) attached the Sea Cloud name to the property in 1825.  It was apparently quite elegant with a ballroom that spanned the entire third floor and gardens both in the front and back of the house.  A foundation and some walls are all that remain.  I don’t know if anyone has knowledge of what was grown in the gardens, and I’m not sure what type of flower this is, but, while composing, I thought that it would be neat if it was something that once grew there.

 

 

Macro False Dandelion at Sea Cloud Plantation in Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Untrue

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The false dandelion in Untrue was also composed at the Sea Cloud Plantation.  There was a patch of them about 25 feet or so from the fence where the subject in Sea Cloud was found.  This flower is obviously in a different stage of life than the subject discovered at Picnic Pond since it has what appears to be open mouths at the end of crusty, coated stems (perhaps with pollen) that have emerged from the tube-like structures.  I decided to put the point of focus on the stems because they were quite interesting all by themselves.  I love exploring at the macro level – you just never know what you’re going to find.

 

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