As I had mentioned in my first post of the Orangeburg Daylilies series, I didn’t find any subjects on the east side of the rose gardens. So, as I was leaving, I decided to check out the west side. If I would have started on the west side, I don’t think I would have even discovered the daylilies because it had a whole lot more potential subjects in it with the possibility of keeping me busy the entire morning. The first one that grabbed my attention was the rose in Unfurling. I loved the colors, but the unusual shapes of the petals with their twists, arcs, and curves were almost as enticing. I placed the core or center of the flower so that the lower one third crossing line, using the rule of thirds, essentially bisected it. That allowed plenty of space above the interesting lines for the gorgeous colors to be displayed. By the time I had composed this, the wind had started to pick up and the light was getting harsh. I won’t let so much time pass between my next visit to the gardens and have already made plans for getting back there again soon.
My Peachy composition allows you to look right down the throat of this pastel colored flower. Being a color junkie, the pale pinks, oranges, and greens are not what I normally look for. But, as I’ve previously posted, that’s a good thing. Sometimes the more subdued colors are a nice change of pace (especially if they are different from what you usually see and even better if they are a departure from your typical palette). You can think of it as expanding your horizons or simply trying something new. For aesthetic reasons, I placed the anther farthest to the left on the upper, leftmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds. I then focused on the larger foreground anther on the right side which created good sharpness across all of them. Individual pieces of pollen on the anthers and filaments can be seen due to the high level of detail.
Pink Paradise was composed looking right down the flower’s throat as well, but the colors are decidedly different from Peachy. They are much more bold and saturated as well as satisfying to my color junkie needs. The gorgeous pinks and reds are a nice complement to the bright yellows and greens, and one of my artistic goals was to feature them as much as possible. To accomplish that desire, I found an angle that would allow those colors to fill the top of the frame while lifting the stamen up and off of the bottom. I also wanted to hold the anthers near the yellows as their darker colors are naturally enhanced against the more vibrant tones. While I used the first foreground anther as my focal point, the extremely shallow depth of field, when shooting at two times life-size, only allowed the zone of sharpness to extend just behind it to the middleground anthers. Even so, the high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen to be seen.
I was attracted to the flower in my Orange Curls piece because it was so different from what a normal daylily looks like. It was immediately apparent that any composition using this subject would produce an abstract. Since it was the only one in the area, and I didn’t have anything else to compare it to, I can’t say if this particular type of flower usually grows in this manner. Perhaps it was lacking something or deformed in some way. Whatever the case, I loved all the loopy, wavy lines Mother Nature endowed it with. The stigma has character as well and is bent and curled like it had been abused. Though the anthers aren’t as easy to see because they have the same color as the petals, I did place one at the lower, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds. I then used that anther as my focal point. The high level of detail allows tiny dew drops to be seen.
After having seen the gorgeous oranges and reds in my Marmalade piece from several feet away, I could hardly wait to get the tripod moved and setup in front of this subject. My main objective was providing enough space above the anthers for those attractive colors to be on full display. Strangely enough, while I wasn’t concerned with the rule of thirds and didn’t even initially check the grid lines during framing, I actually put the anther farthest to the left on the lower, leftmost crossing line. Which made me wonder if I’m starting to intrinsically see and compose that way. I also liked the subtle blues in the anthers and their complementary blacks against the yellows. Surface textures and individual pieces of pollen can be seen thanks to the high level of detail.
The background of the daylily in Exquisite Fat was being backlit by the morning sun. Those golden tones lighting up the petals created an irresistible beacon that drew my eyes and attention right to it. I loved how the chicken fat along the petal edges, with their gorgeous colors, formed a V. I placed the anthers where they were lifted up off the bottom while keeping additional space above them because one of my primary artistic desires was getting as much as I could of the backlit petals in the frame. To ensure that I was able to sharply capture the anthers, focus stacking was used. The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.
My artistic vision for Fat Liner was to, once again, utilize the chicken fat as much as I could. I decided to place it along the edges of the frame so that it almost formed a border. I spent time adjusting angles and the distance from the lens to the subject until I felt I had maximized what the flower was able to give me while also considering the relative positions of the stamen. Just like everything else in photography, ultimately, it was about making compromises (i.e., giving up one thing to get something else). While not really caring where the anthers were with regard to the grid lines, using the rule of thirds, I got lucky with their placement. The bottom one third line cuts right through the main group of anthers, and the outlier touches the rightmost one third line. I also feel that I was fortunate in that the arcs created by the filaments share similarities with those in the petals.
Most of my rose works are from the Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, and I’ve written about the gardens and adjacent areas in previous posts. It’s a great resource to have relatively close by. Too much time had passed since I last visited, so I decided a road trip was in order. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a single subject worthy of closer inspection in any section of the roses I initially examined. I think the early Spring with the warm weather and then the hard freeze caused a lot of subtle problems with our flora. After checking out all the gardens on the east side, I decided to head toward the ponds. That was a good decision because I walked right up on a part of the gardens that didn’t exist the last time I had been there. A whole new section of daylilies had been planted and they were looking really good.
The colors in my Garden Gem piece immediately drew me in. The pastels combined with the oranges, yellows, and greens were all very attractive. The most prominent outside anthers were placed on the upper crossing lines, using the rule of thirds, so that the stamen came up into the foreground from the throat of the flower. I focused on the rightmost foreground anther and let everything else fall where it was in the zone of sharpness. The high level of captured detail allows texture and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.
I simply could not deny the bright yellows of the daylily in Outreach, and they, by themselves, forced me to create it. Artistically, the sweeping arcs of the filaments and being able to see them from their origination point in the flower’s throat coming out into the foreground of the frame was my highest priority. And while I didn’t care that much where the anthers were in relation to any of the grid lines, using the rule of thirds, the center of the group is very near the rightmost lower crossing line. In fact, I used that particular anther as my focal point which tends to subtly increase the importance of its placement. Sometimes we just get lucky and other aesthetic concerns drive a composition into a familiar layout without consciously trying. Surface textures on the anthers can be seen thanks to the high level of captured detail.
Thanks to the time I spent with Bob Yonce and the wonderful daylilies he grows on his farm, I was aware of chicken fat. Upon finding the flower in my Chiffon piece, I immediately wanted to feature that aspect of it by prominently placing it along the edges of the frame. Because the anthers were in such a nice tight grouping, I placed them so that the bottom was very near the lower, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds. Those two artistic decisions also allowed the filaments to arch up and out of the flower’s throat and the ribs in the main petal to arc up and out as it stretches upward. Here too, the high level of detail allows surface textures and pollen to be seen.
The gorgeous purple colors in Excitingly Grape grabbed my attention and held it. I also liked how the inner colors form an ellipse as they transition from a light purple, to white, then yellow, and finally green. The anthers were in a group here as well so I placed the anther farthest to the right on the upper, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds. That particular angle caused the arched rib lines behind the anthers, that emanate in the background, to come up and out from the flower’s throat into the middleground. And the flow of the stamen and stigma arcs echo those lines. The diagonal lines in the foreground pleats act as short leading lines that lead to the focal point. To ensure that I had good sharpness on that area as well as the other anthers, I used focus stacking. That aesthetic decision also allowed me to keep the stigma in the zone of sharpness. Surface textures and tiny dew drops along the anther edges are both visible due to the high level of captured detail. This was one of my favorites from the outing and would have made the trip worthwhile all by itself.
A few years ago I discovered an area in Edisto Memorial Gardens where Torch Lilies come up, and I had attempted to create a composition using them several times since then. They are an interesting looking flower with their unusual shape, bright colors, and dangling anthers. If you plan to visit the gardens, I have one tip: be aware that during the couple of weeks leading up to the Festival Of Roses, the gardens are treated. The maintenance folks must use something fairly strong because, as a precaution, they leave signs up for several hours that warn everyone not to touch any of the roses and to be cautious when walking around them. Since the Torch Lilies are on the other side of the AARS Rose Display Gardens and I didn’t want to go through them after having read one of the signs, I looped around the back by using the trails in Horne Wetland Park. I wasn’t sure if they would be blooming as I hadn’t ever checked before the festival signs had been hung.
Most of my previous efforts featured several flowers, but because I had the macro rig on the camera, I decided to try something different. The close proximity to the subject in Torch Lily allowed me to fill the frame with shapes and patterns while removing some of its flower indicators. The resulting abstract composition gives the impression of life bursting out of a pod. The piece feels like I froze the process of the buds blasting open and expelling their contents as if they were exploding in an organized way from left to right and bottom to top.
After having completed my exploration of the area near the Sensory Garden, I was headed toward the Horne Wetland Park when the center color of some small flowers planted along both sides of the walkway got my attention. In addition to having a brilliant color, their centers looked like five-pointed stars. Since both my colorful and interesting criteria had been met, I was forced to stop and investigate further. Upon closer inspection, I found the spring morning dew drops quite compelling. While proximity to the subject in Pink Periwinkle caused the star pattern to break down, visibility of the dew, and the circles and arcs they formed, was significantly increased. I was intrigued with how the light played off the water; reflecting nearby colors and objects, magnifying surface textures, as well as creating highlights by focusing the light. The high level of detail allows hairs, surface texture, and other minutiae to be seen (including my fingers and the diffuser I’m holding in the reflection of some of the dew drops).
If you like roses, you should consider an outing to the Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, SC. I’ve spent quite a bit of time there exploring the various gardens and surrounding areas. To view pieces I composed in the rose gardens click here. The Horne Wetland Park is also part of the site and its boardwalk trails are a great way to experience nature without getting wet or dirty. In fact, my first encounter with a Golden Orb Weaver was while walking along the boardwalk. The Golden Orb Weaver spiders seem to really like the area in and around the Edisto River, and I’ve been there during times where you could spot at least one every 50 feet. To view one of my Golden Orb Weaver compositions click here. There is also a pond on the other side of the AARS Rose Display Gardens that usually has turtles, ducks, or geese in or around it. My Playing Green piece was created there while watching a Green Heron play with a stick that was floating on the water. To view Playing Green click here. The gardens and adjacent areas are a publicly available, free place to visit and make a wonderful asset to the city of Orangeburg.
After parking in the upper lot, I started exploring near the Sensory Garden the spring morning I created Edisto Pretoria. The Pretoria leaves in that area caught my attention due to their large size and striped colors. This abstract was created by being physically close enough to remove indicators from the frame that would normally establish the subject as being a plant. I focused the composition on the very tip of the Canna Striata and let everything else fall into the mid and background. That choice helps give the piece a feeling of power as if the stalk is full of energy and capable of creating the surging light show behind it. Forming a description using a more nature-based point of view, I feel Edisto Pretoria carries a sense of being a proud bird with a long skinny beak displaying yellow and green plumage so loud that it can’t be ignored.