I liked the design in the center of the daisy in my Bloom Ring piece. The disc florets that aren’t yet blooming produce a nice abstract pattern all by themselves. I made the aesthetic decision to place the flower so that the left one third line, using the rule of thirds, crossed it directly at the midpoint. I also found it interesting that the disc florets that have bloomed form a ring (perhaps because they started from the outside and are working their way toward the very center). I came across this flower in one of the smaller, side gardens at the Aiken County Historical Museum. The high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen to be seen.
I discovered my Tree Fern composition on the south side of the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum in Hopeland Gardens. This little fern and the moss behind it was living on one of the big magnolia trees. I find it fascinating that a tree can have other organisms growing out of and/or subsisting on it. It’s almost as if the tree is so old and entrenched that Mother Nature starts treating the base like it was part of the surrounding ground by letting other flora invade and take up full time residency. I liked the richness of the greens. Aesthetically, I placed the fern in the frame so that the spine would be on a diagonal and the tips of the leaves form an arch above it. The high level of detail allows dew drops, pollen, surface texture, and individual hairs to be seen.
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.
All the lilies in this post were found in various spots of the front lawn area at the Aiken County Historical Museum. I don’t normally spend much time searching for subjects in that location because the gardens usually offer more potential. However, their bright colors were like beacons that guided me right to the blooms.
The impression that the stamen in my Fire Escape piece created was that they were scampering away from intense heat or quickly trying to avoid being burned. The yellows, oranges, and reds in the background reminded me of flames. Even the anthers appear to be looking at and/or encouraging each other to ensure that they are all of the same mindset with regard to fleeing. The high level of detail allows pollen and surface textures to be seen.
Sizzling has a similar fire/flames related theme with the stamen shooting up and out of the core where the most extreme heat exists. In my mind’s eye, the two center stamen provide a sense of something frequently seen in nature; a mother followed very close by its baby (to the point of physically touching). I also really like the yellow area to the right of the rightmost filament as it appears to be a flickering flame which strengthens the sensation of burning. The high level of detail allows surface textures and pollen to be seen here too.
The stamen in Tines reminded me of a pitch fork. I’ve posted before about how much I like lilies, and I’ve spent a lot of time shooting them. I can say from experience that it is uncommon to find stamen by themselves with no apparent interference from the stigma. The stigma is normally close to the stamen (or intrudes into the scene by being an out of focus object in front of them) and can be problematic when you want to create a composition of the stamen or anthers in isolation. So, I was pleased to find this set of stamen with a hidden stigma. I also liked how the two outside anthers curve outward (the leftmost one to the left and the rightmost one to the right).
I found the nicely blooming lantana in my Spring Ornament piece while working my way back to the big garden in the rear corner of the Aiken County Historical Museum. When these showy little color balls really start to bloom, they can be so prolific that keeping them separated from each other becomes challenging. However, in this case, my artistic vision was to utilize the pinks, purples, reds, yellows, and oranges by pulling as much of them as possible into the frame. Shooting at two times life-size with a fairly shallow depth of field made it easier to dissolve the background flower into colors, but another important consideration remained. Because of the similarities between the foreground blossom and the background bokeh, I wanted to keep matching colors from intersecting to avoid edge confusion. By altering the viewing angle while simultaneously holding my main subject where I wanted it in the frame, I was able to arrange them so that, as much as possible, similar colors didn’t touch each other. The way it floats and the colorful, nearly spherical shape reminded me of a decoration. The high level of detail allows pollen and individual hairs to be seen.
I occasionally see another photographer while I’m working in Hopeland Gardens, but I’ve never before seen artists that were painting. On this particular morning, a woman was painting at the gazebo that overlooks the pond almost directly across from where I was creating my Iris Spike composition. And there was a man painting on an easel that was setup in the walkway at the east end of the pond. I didn’t have time to talk to either of them, I just said, “Excuse me” as I walked past the man since it felt like I was interrupting him.
I was attracted to this flower by the sharp, pointed structure in the middleground behind the main subject. I’m not sure what part of an iris it is, and I’ve never seen anything like that before (I guess this was a morning of firsts). It shares some of the same colors as the foreground flower so it’s possible that it is similar to a bud that when fully opened will reveal another iris. I placed it prominently just off center because: it is unique; I liked the serrated edge, tapered tip, and softer, pleated, roll on the opposite side; and I liked the overall shape and colors. However, I purposefully left it on the other side of the flower by keeping the focal point on the falls, standards, and crest. My artistic vision was to say that it’s an important part of the story, but the flower is still the star of the show. The extremely shallow depth of field when shooting at two times life-size ensured that the background iris blooms would dissolve into colors. The high level of detail allows pollen, dew drops, and surface textures to be seen.
I had been keeping an eye on the foxglove flowers at the Aiken County Historical Museum during previous outings there. The morning I created my Purple Spots piece, I discovered that only a single stalk was still standing upright. The other stalks were damaged and lying on the ground (perhaps they were knocked over by wind and/or rain). Many of their flowers had fallen off and were scattered around on the ground. While I was disappointed that a subject I had planned to shoot was in really bad shape, I decided to make the best of the situation. I picked up one of the discarded flowers, opened it, and placed it back on the ground while spreading it out across some bark. That allowed this two times life-size abstract to be created. Most of the frame consists of an area that is normally hidden from view since it would be up inside the flower. The high level of detail permits individual hairs, pollen, and surface texture to be seen.
Stamen Pile is similar to a horizontal composition I created at Hopeland Gardens several years ago. Both are abstract and feature magnolia stamens that have fallen away and landed on a petal inside the flower. This scene was found on the side of the Rye Patch driveway and has fewer stamen than my previous piece. I find it interesting how the stamen are essentially cast off after having performed their function but then collected by the flower (as if going to the ground as a group was better or more important than falling independently). I’m sure Mother Nature has a perfectly reasonable explanation for this behavior and perhaps some botanist could provide an answer, but, for me, I’ll simply enjoy the mystery and the random design they create. The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.
The flowers in my Hopeland Azalea piece were fairly late bloomers. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we had a warm late winter and early spring so most of them had long since bloomed. Perhaps this specific type of azalea naturally blossom on a different schedule. Since I was a bit surprised to find such nice colors, I couldn’t hardly walk right past them without at least looking at them through the lens. I positioned the camera so that these little beauties filled the frame in layers from front to back while maintaining sharpness on the stamen and stigma. The high level of detail allows individual hairs, surface texture, and pollen to be seen.
The stokes aster in my Epicenter piece is fairly well covered in pollen. As I was most attracted to the very center of the flower where all of the action appears to be taking place, I focused on it. I liked how the white, flame-like strands are tightly grouped around that point and then become looser and more independent as they get further away from that area. For aesthetic reasons, I placed the center so that the left one third line, using the rule of thirds, nearly bisected it. The extremely shallow depth of field also created another artistically pleasing effect. Since it wasn’t possible to hold everything in focus within a single image, the white, pollen covered stems dissolved and took on the appearance of being ejected or sprayed outward. The high level of detail allows texture and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.