Macro Lilies At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC: Part 1

Museum Lilies: Part 1

 

The big, back garden at the Aiken County Historical Museum has been a reliable source for lily subjects over the years, and this past season was equal to or better than any I’ve experienced.  Perhaps the garden club that helps maintain it or the museum itself decided that you can’t go wrong with lilies when sprucing up the flora on your grounds.  Whatever the case, I found many fantastic scenes during my late spring and early summer explorations.

 

 

Macro abstract forked lily anthers at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Forked

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I was attracted to the scene in my Forked piece by the luscious colors and the arrangement/design of the daylily anthers.  My artistic vision was to add to my Naturally Abstract collection by featuring those qualities up close and personal.  Composing at two times life-size produces such a shallow depth of field that nearly all of the details in the background dissolved down into colors and lines.  Even the filaments tend to dissipate into the petal’s gorgeous tones which helps increase the abstract feel.  I love creating artwork where something familiar can be transformed into shapes, lines, and colors while maintaining just enough depth to where surface textures and individual pieces of pollen can still be seen.

 

 

Macro abstract lily anthers at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Bonfire Party

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The colors in my Bonfire Party piece are what initially caught my attention.  In fact, I reframed so that I could pull more of the yellows up into the left-hand corner.  My artistic vision was to, once again, feature the anthers in their naturally colorful setting.  And the background characteristics morphed into simple colors just as they previously did.  Because of the angles of the anthers and how they are arched, in my mind’s eye they appeared to be leaning toward the flames of a blazing campfire as if they were setting around it enjoying the warmth.  Individual pieces of pollen and surface textures are visible here too.

 

 

Macro abstract lily anthers at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Mellow Yellow

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The bright colors of the lily in my Mellow Yellow piece brought me over to this scene, and I really liked the lighter, calm, toasted brown tones of the anthers.  My artistic vision was to create a horizontally framed abstract anther composition, and I was pleased to find a group of stamen that worked well in that orientation.  As per usual in these circumstances, the very shallow depth of field assured that the background was nearly devoid of any defining attributes (with the exception of the filaments).  Even so, individual pieces of pollen and dew on the filaments can be seen.

 

 

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Macro skinny stamen at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Long Tall Stamen

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I loved the background colors in my Long Tall Stamen piece.  For me, the fiery yellows, oranges, and reds always provide a heightened level of excitement and enhanced zeal.  I was also quite pleased with the design of the stamen group and how they come up into the frame.  With the three front stamen being higher than the back three while having a nearly identical distance to the camera sensor, it increases the feeling of depth.  My artistic vision was to place the spindly stamen nearly centered within the frame with their squiggly filaments lifting the anthers above the heat of the intense backdrop colors.  Surface textures and pollen can be seen here as well.

 

 

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Macro Tickseed Center And Petals At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Coming Apart

 

Macro tickseed center and petals at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Coming Apart

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The yellow tickseed flower in my Coming Apart piece was in a group near where I park my car at the Aiken County Historical Museum.  In fact, it was growing no more than a few feet from where I prepare my gear.  Although proximity is only a small consideration, it does count.  Out of all of the flowers I looked at, I preferred this one because there were no gaps between the petals that would allow colors from other things behind the subject to show through.  Aesthetically speaking, I wanted to capture uniformity of color across the entire frame.  I also liked the abstract and chaotic feel of the petals (they are all over the place).  I focused on the center of the flower where there is structure on the inside and then a ring of chaos on the outside that literally looks like it is fragmenting.  I didn’t initially plan to use any rule of thirds when I framed this, but because there was enough wind to change the position of the flower even while employing a Plamp, it moved to where the left most one third line cuts through near the flower’s center.  The high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Azalea Petal Edge Divides Colors At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Curtain

 

Macro abstract azalea petal edge divides colors at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Curtain

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With all of the azalea flowers on the north east side of the Aiken County Historical Museum, I was certain that I could find a worthy subject among them.  I used the edge of an azalea petal to create the naturally abstract composition in my Curtain piece.  My artistic vision was to split the image diagonally where one part featured the petal’s edge and the flower it belonged to while the other section is an entirely different azalea blossom.  That took quite a bit of exploring blooms and trying different angles until I found a flower that had the colors I wanted behind it with an edge that wasn’t burned, discolored, or chewed up.  Additionally, the edge had to be far enough away from the details in the center that they would dissolve into colors even at a high F-stop, which was required to keep most of edge sharply in focus.  Of course, composing at two times life-size helped because the depth of field is quite shallow.  Even with that, surface texture along the petal edge can be seen.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Magnolia Petals Form Flame Shape In Aiken, SC

Magnolia Flame

 

Macro abstract magnolia petals form flame shape in Aiken, South Carolina
Magnolia Flame

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I was pulled over to the magnolia tree in a neighbor’s yard where I found the blossom in my Magnolia Flame piece by all of the flowers on the ground.  From a distance, it looked like there was a layer of pink surrounding the entire base of the tree.  I thought I might be able to create a naturally abstract composition from the flowers that had fallen off, but as I got closer it became clear that the remnants didn’t completely cover the grass and they were in fairly poor shape.  Not wanting to come home empty handed, I searched the branches for a new, better subject.  This particular bloom was fresh with excellent colors that drew me right in.  The shape that the petals formed immediately made me think of a flame (as if the fire from a candle was burning in a gorgeous pink tone).  Even though it was shot wide open with a very shallow depth of field, details including the surface texture and pollen can be seen.

 

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Macro Mullein Flower At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Museum Mullein: Part 2

 

Part 2 is a continuation of the Museum Mullein posts from the Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 1, click here.

 

 

Macro mullein flower at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Hairy Stamen

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The new, larger mullein plant continued to grow during the time I created the image in the first post of this series.  In fact, it was likely seven feet tall when I composed my Hairy Stamen piece.  Just like the first plant, the second one also had flowers that bloomed.  Because I liked the artistic feel of the scene, I selected a subject that had a fuzzy stalk in the middleground.  Helping that decision was the fact that the flower itself was fresh and nice looking (i.e., it was clean and free of odd looking, dark colored substances that were on several other blooms).  I knew that the leaves and stalks had lots of hair on them, but I was surprised by how furry the flowers themselves were.  And, upon seeing the stamen at nearly two times life-size, I was intrigued with the amount and length of the hairs they had.  My artistic goal, from then on, was to ensure that they received the attention by using the center group of them as my focal point.  Though not completely in the zone of sharpness or nearly as hairy, I like how the lower stamens help provide balance.  The high level of detail allows tiny individual hairs to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Wet Hydrangea At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Wet Hydrangea

 

Macro abstract wet hydrangea at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Wet Hydrangea

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I was attracted by the blues and purples in my Wet Hydrangea piece, and I had been wanting to create an abstract macro composition that featured hydrangea for a long time.  I searched over several bushes in Hopeland Gardens until I found a group of petals that just felt right artistically.  The foreground petals as well as the layers beneath them were nicely laid out, and the wet surfaces both enhanced the saturation and increased the abstract feel at the same time.  To bring a little sense of order to the scene, I placed the bud in the center of the foreground petals so that the rightmost one third line, using the rule of thirds, nearly bisected it.  That also allowed the leftmost foreground petal to remain within the frame, which was an important aesthetic concern since it is the subject’s most prominent attribute.  I also really like the abstract designs from the reflections off the petal’s wet surface.  Then I used the bud as my focal point to amplify its relative importance.  Because of the bud’s height, that brought many of the dew drops scattered around the petals into the zone of sharpness.  The high level of detail allows texture to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Wandering Jew Petals Form Butterfly Wings At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Butterfly Wings

 

Macro Wandering Jew petals form butterfly wings at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Butterfly Wings

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I don’t normally see two wandering Jew flowers growing so close to one another.  In fact, this was the very first time I had ever seen a pair that had petals touching each other, and their proximity caused me to see a familiar pattern in my mind’s eye.  Taken as a whole, the outside petals on both sides appear to create the shape of butterfly wings.  I didn’t want the wings to feel centered in the frame, so I left a little more space above and on the right side of the petals.  That caused the flowers to be placed in the frame where the left flower’s core/center is very near the lower, leftmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  With the anthers scattered around in different groups as well as being considerably above the surface of the petals (especially considering the shallow depth of field), I selected the rope-like strands that grow out of the filaments as my focal point.  That aesthetic decision simultaneously forced the anthers to be out of focus and enhanced the surface of the petals including the pollen that had fallen on them.  The high level of detail allows texture, dew drops, and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Rose At Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, SC

Unfurling

 

Macro Rose at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Unfurling

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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.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Hibiscus Leaf At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Meal Design

 

Macro abstract partially consumed Hibiscus leaf at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Meal Design

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My Meal Design piece consists of three basic components: a hibiscus leaf, sepal, and petal.  I loved the design cut into the yellow leaf likely by some type of insect that had eaten it.  I placed it in the frame so that the midrib would run diagonally while filling the bug holes with the colors of the petal behind it.  With a bit of aesthetic luck, the ribs of the background petal were also running up the frame on diagonal lines.  I couldn’t do much with the green sepal as it was connected to the petal, but I felt that it was fine adding just a touch of additional color to the lower corner.  The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual fibers to be seen.

 

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Macro Periwinkle At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC: Part 2

Periwinkle: Part 2

Part 2 is a continuation of the Periwinkle posts from the Aiken County Historical Museum.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 1, click here.

 

 

Macro Periwinkle at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Star Light

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The flower in my Star Light piece was fairly large compared to the periwinkle I normally see.  In fact, that is what caused me to stop and look at it more closely.  And, I’m glad I did.  I loved the little wheel looking object in the very center of the flower and the ample amount of yellow encircling it.  I also liked how the white was shooting away from the center (i.e., beams of varying lengths that fade in intensity as they travel farther from the center) as if it was some type of light rays.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.

 

 

Macro Periwinkle at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Pink Pair

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I discovered the group of periwinkle in my Pink Pair just off the sidewalk as I was headed toward the patio area.  I found them attractive because they were fresh and pretty.  I loved the subtle pink tones in their petals and their gorgeous centers.  I placed the right side flower’s center on the right most crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and used it as my focal point.  Luckily both flower centers were nearly the same distance from the camera sensor which meant that the left side fell squarely into the zone of sharpness.  The high level of detail allows individual hairs to be seen.

 

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