Shortly after composing the wild honeysuckle pieces I wrote about here, I wandered along the road searching for additional subjects while heading toward the entrance. Not far from the honeysuckle, I discovered some scary looking weeds. They were fairly tall and covered in thorns. Not something you would want to run into or fall on if you were wearing shorts.
Though not pretty per se (I do like the red bands and the yellowish tips), it certainly met my criteria of being interesting. As I began to more closely explore the subject in Barbed, I favored an abstract composition. To create a mixture of antagonism and beauty, I found a perspective that felt like I was looking down into a pain inducing tunnel or the throat of a monster. The reds, yellows, and spikes endow the piece with a menacing feeling while the greens and softer looking hairs help calm that back down. At the focal point, the high level of detail allows surface texture, individual hairs, and the sharpness of the barbs to be visible.
I found the subject in Thorny just a few paces away from the one in Barbed. With a decidedly less hostile look and feel (thanks in part to the colder purples and glowing greens), the sword-like thorns and sharp tips sticking out along its edges still give it an intimidating demeanor. I used a perspective that captured my intrigue with how each successive layer, moving away from the focal point into the background, repeats the pattern above it in a larger size. The high level of detail, at the focal point, permits surface texture, individual hairs, and the points of the prickly thorns to be seen.
On the second to last full day of my SC AIR trip, I spent the afternoon exploring different parts of the Hickory Top Wildlife Management Area. As I came into a relatively small and seemingly remote part of Hickory Top, I noticed a spot with a whole lot of color. Since I wanted to continue to assess the site and discover anything else it had to offer, I made a mental note of the location and planned to inspect it much closer when leaving. Even though this section of the WMA felt secluded, it had a nice paved road at least two lanes wide that was similar to an extended driveway. From the main road it went into the woods about three quarters of a mile before splitting at a turnaround that would bring you right back out. On the turnaround, the car scared another herd of wild pigs and they loudly squealed while frantically running for cover. The group seen earlier during the week at the Cuddo East Unit of Santee WMR had many more members, but the Hickory Top pigs appeared to be quite unaccustomed to visitors.
I had never seen wild honeysuckle with these colors before coming across the plants featured in this post. When I returned to the place noted earlier, I found an entire bush of the brightly colored flowers. I didn’t have to look very long to find a branch with blooms and buds that could be isolated against a nicely blurred background, which allowed me to create the Hickory Top Honeysuckle composition. The high level of detail permits surface textures and individual hairs to be seen.
For my Wild Honeysuckle composition, I decided to incorporate the background blossoms and buds instead of finding a cluster to separate away from the others. By using the top of the bush and a horizontal perspective as well as being physically closer, I created a frame filling scene that more closely resembles the majority of the bush – it was simply loaded with the colorful flowers. If for no other reason than they were so ornate and attractive, it seems like more people would have them on their property. I felt that this encounter was unique especially since they were growing in the middle of nowhere against a WMA border fence. Here too, the high level of detail captured allows surface texture, individual hairs, and pollen particles to be visible.
I came upon the subject in Rat Snake while hiking on a trail in the Hickory Top WMA on the next to last full day of my SC AIR trip. I was thrilled to find such a large snake (at least four feet long) just hanging out almost waiting for a photographer to come along and feature it in a composition. While it appears to be staring intently, perhaps measuring every movement being made and assessing risk factors, the arc of its mouth seems to give it a smirk. The high level of detail allows tiny pieces of a decaying tree (similar to saw dust) to be seen on the snake’s head, face, and eye. After allowing several compositions to be created, the snake retreated back into the tree where it presumably came from and likely picked up the aforementioned particles.