I love the intricate little landscapes that can be found within flowers. When you explore a flower at two times life-size, you will often discover unexpected properties. For example, the gerbera daisy in my Golden Rings piece has concentric rows of tiny flowers that form rings around the center’s hair-like strands. It’s like having a thousand little blooms hidden inside the larger daisy. If you were just looking at the daisy by itself from a distance, you’d see it and never know that the rest of those inner blooms existed. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I love shooting macro. To me, this composition feels like the sun with its white-hot center and ever increasingly cooler yellows and golds moving outward. The high level of captured detail allows single strands, pollen, and surface textures to be seen.
The colors and shapes of this Stokes Aster I found on the side of the Dollhouse met both my colorful and interesting criteria. As I framed the composition for my White Flames piece, I felt that the inner shapes, with their sharp tips and orientation, resembled flames. It reminds me of the magic campfire colors I’ve seen, albeit burning in purple, blue, and white. While concentrated in the bottom center, they are shooting out in all directions which gives it a sense of being active. The high level of captured detail allows individual hairs, pollen, dew, water drops, and surface texture to be seen.
On one side of the Dollhouse in Hopeland Gardens there is some Daphne up next to the house and then an open area with some sitting benches. Beyond that is a patio with some flower pots placed around the outside edges. I’m not sure who updates the flowers in the pots (it could be the grounds keepers or perhaps it is the Aiken Garden Club), but I’ve been able to create some nice work from that area including the Dahlia below and the macro pansies from my four-part post.
I was initially attracted to the Dahlia in my Succulent piece by the colors and shapes. I was close enough to eliminate most of the flower identification cues thereby creating an abstract composition by reducing it to colors and lines. I like how the edges of the petals form arcs that curve and sweep up and out. Their round qualities provide a sense of softness and calm while the sharpness of the tips add just a bit of tension. The high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen and surface texture to be seen.
My Color Portals piece is close to being a horizontal companion to Succulent, but the distance from the subject changed enough to where the petals now fill the frame. That makes this composition a bit more abstract since there is no longer even a hint of the background. The high level of detail allows hairs and surface texture to be visible here as well.
While searching for a suitable subject one early summer morning, I discovered that magnolia blooms apparently shed their stamen. From what I observed, it appears that in most cases they land in and are held by the tepal where they wait for some Fine Art photographer to notice their abstract quality and capture them before they fall to the ground. 😉
As I’ve written about previously, I don’t use focus stacking that much, but my Fallen Away piece really benefitted from employing it. This composition was created so close to the subjects that the depth of field was extremely shallow and stacking was called for here so that I could get the majority of the stamen in focus. The high level of detail allows surface texture and pollen to be seen.
I can see how a thistle could be a controversial subject. On one hand, some folks may feel it’s ugly. In part, their reasoning might be based on the fact that it is a weed and, by default, weeds are hated, despised, and should be eradicated. I would concede that, despite being a nice purple color, the sharp thorns on the subject in Phinizy Thistle aren’t doing anything to help its pretty quotient. And I would agree that for golf courses and other sites that wish to maintain pristine grassy areas, controlling the weed population is essential. But where this subject was found, I would argue that they are just as important to the ecosystem as anything else. I focused my attention on it because it had a nice flower and because it permitted me to alter the perspective so that I could maximize the amount of yellow in the background. Being a flowering weed that is both pretty and ugly, perhaps thistle is just inherently contentious. The high level of detail allows pieces of pollen, surface texture, contours, individual hairs, and thorn points 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 created Bluff Unit Honeysuckle, while waiting for the sun to set, near the Santee NWR visitor center in the early evening of the first full day of my South Carolina Artist In Residence (AIR) trip. The piece has a joyful mood as the angles of the Honeysuckle pair and the curves of their filaments make them appear to be happily dancing. The high level of detail allows surface texture, contours, individual hairs, and pollen particles to be seen.
Intrigued with its center, I was closely examining the inside of a periwinkle before creating Periwinkled Camellia. Especially interesting was its pentagonal shape as well as the tiny, orange looking core with hair-like structures surrounding it. Positioning the camera close to the subject meant that the flower’s petals and everything in the background was almost completely blurred. The bokeh was great, but the color scheme was not very attractive. The background had a little bit of green in it, but mostly consisted of a dirty brown. During my earlier exploration of the grounds, I had noticed that some of the nearby Camellia petals had fallen to the ground. Since pink and red are complementary to blue and purple, I decided to gather some of the fallen petals and place them under the Periwinkle so that they would form a new, much more colorful, background. I felt that the arranged scene was significantly more aesthetically pleasing. The piece also gives the impression of movement; like the petals of the Periwinkle are fan blades that are spinning clockwise perhaps powered by the energy of its core. This was composed at two times life-size with the focus and concentration of detail on the flower’s center, which allows surface texture, hairs, and even pollen particles to be seen.