Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 7

Tree Sap: Part 7

Part 7 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 6, click here.

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Bubbles

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The sap in my Bubbles composition consists of several drops.  I liked the shapes that were created by the drops merging with each other and flowing through one another.  Because I really liked aspects of the top drop, I placed it on the upper left crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and used it as my focal point.  I loved the smoky ribbon that winds its way through that drop and the colors and patterns it has pulled in.  The most unusual feature of these drops is the amount of tiny bubbles above the top drop.  They are difficult to see in the larger version, but if you look between the milky layers above the drop you will notice them.  No other drops or runs of sap I saw had that.  I also liked the refraction in the bottom drop with its reds, yellows, and blues.

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 6

Tree Sap: Part 6

Part 6 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 5, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Double Drop

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The sap in Double Drop got my attention because of its shape.  It looked a little precarious as well, and I thought that it might fall off at any moment.  I framed the run on a bit of an angle so that it wasn’t so aesthetically static.  It reminded me of the glass I saw once at the end of a glass blower’s pipe during a demonstration in Jamestown, Virginia.  I loved the crystalline look and the colorful refractions and reflections.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Stuck

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In the smaller sized images, Stuck looks a bit like a messy, big pile of sap.  But, in the larger print sizes it really comes to life (unfortunately, this web site’s large display size doesn’t do it justice.  However, my POD site has the ability to show a portion of an image at 100% magnification which is more than enough to bring all those hidden details out.  Click on the purchase link above to view this at my POD site or contact me if you would like details on how to access that functionality).  I liked all of the various shapes and colors in the sap (especially the darker areas and the different brown hues).  There are intricate reflections being pulled, warped, and stretched all over the surface areas as well as sun spots glistening from the surfaces and creating colorful refractions.  There is so much to discover that you will likely find something that you previously haven’t seen each time your eye wanders around the frame.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Piles

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While it isn’t a vertical companion, Piles is similar to Stuck.  It includes the sap featured in Stuck, but I pulled back a little so that the entire area both above and below was captured.  The same caveat applies here as well and it simply can’t be fully appreciated without viewing it at larger sizes.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 5

Tree Sap: Part 5

Part 5 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 4, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Flat Drop

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I was attracted to the sap in my Flat Drop piece primarily because of its shape.  It seems to be expanding horizontally and getting wider instead of longer.  Which is curious because gravity should be pulling it down.  I also liked the color striations and patterns inside the sap.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Crystal Streak

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The run of sap in Crystal Streak caught my eye because of how clear (almost like glass) it was.  I decided to frame it diagonally for several aesthetic reasons.  First, it was so skinny that placing it vertically wasn’t nearly as visually interesting.  Secondly, the gap created by the moss and bark added visual interest when placed beside it diagonally, but seemed to take away from it when vertical.  And finally, the moss seemed to create a diagonal bed for the run to lay on with open bark areas in opposite corners (which didn’t exist when it was turned vertically).  Even though it is thin, there are some nice colorful refractions and reflections.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Light Catchers

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With a bit more golden hour light on the scene in my Light Catchers composition, I moved the lens down the tree a little.  Essentially, I placed the tip of the top drop on the first upper crossing line using the rule of thirds.  That drop is also at the end of the sap run in Crystal Streak, and I loved how it was throwing light on the bark beside it.  I also liked the random, abstract shape of the larger blob near the bottom of the frame and the fact that they are located diagonally from each other with the moss covered gap in the bark connecting them.  Both areas have wonderfully colored reflections and refractions (with the top drop having rainbow like colors) as well as sunstars.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 4

Tree Sap: Part 4

Part 4 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 3, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Gathering Colors

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If you’ve been following my previous posts in this series, then you know that I had been composing around the areas where the limbs had been trimmed from the tree.  At this point, those spots no longer had the most interesting subjects.  Gathering Colors comes from sap that has dripped and run down onto the tree trunk.  I loved the color striations and patterns being pulled into the two large drops.  I also liked how the moss acts as a natural highlighter (i.e., it is positioned around the sap and only has a small amount of direct influence) as well as the flatter stretched and strained area immediately above the large drop with its crystalline reflections.  The smaller double drip on the side was a bonus.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen (especially on the bark).

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Drips

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I framed the sap in Drips so that it would be on a diagonal.  That aesthetic decision was made primarily because I wanted to ensure that I could include all three of the larger drops.  I especially liked the pattern created in the middle drop with the refractions, reflections, and surrounding colors being pulled in.  Though it’s on a bit of an angle, I also liked that the drop in the top right corner has a classic teardrop shape.  Surface textures on the drops can be seen thanks to the high level of detail.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Flooded

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I utilized a completely different perspective for my Flooded piece.  Instead of lining up the camera’s sensor with the sap to maximize the amount of sharpness available in the shallow depth of field, I traded that in for a distinctive feel.  I made the aesthetic decision to shoot up at the drops to provide more of a sense that they were running down toward the viewer.  I loved the colors lit up under the sap and the reflections off from it as well as both clear and dark colored drops.  With the high level of detail, surface textures can also be seen here.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 3

Tree Sap: Part 3

Part 3 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 2, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Stretched

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The sap in my Stretched piece formed a fairly substantial drop.  I loved how the greens from the background moss were picked up and combined with the blues from the sky reflecting off the surfaces as well as how warped and contorted the drop looks.  I also liked the crystalline threads created as the sap flattens while being pulled and drawn across the moss and bark.  The strain required to hold the drop in place is evident.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Gravity

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I had two aesthetic goals for my Gravity composition.  My first was to focus on the drops, their crystal tails, and the syrupy remnants and spills nearby.  My second was to ensure that the perspective I utilized brought in the gorgeous color layers.  I love how the colorful reflections are being pulled and distorted as if they were drops of paint that had been added to the sap that continue to change as its own weight draws it downward.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Breakthrough

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I was initially attracted to the scene in Breakthrough by the colors.  The wood surrounding the sap was quite colorful, but the reds and oranges under the surface of the sap were like a beacon.  As I examined it more closely, the canister looking sap that had pushed its way through the wall of the original run was intriguing.  I wondered if there was anything specific that caused the area to weaken or be unable to handle the pressure building up against it.  I also thought about the elongated shape of the new sap path and how it was different than the other drops I had seen.  Nature is wonderfully random.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Overrun

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I love the colors in, on, and under the sap in my Overrun piece as well as the randomly stacked drops and strands.  Of course, the color layers from the fibrous wood and bark helped lift my excitement level.  The reflections and refractions are simply amazing.  Because of the amount of sap and the way it has piled up, nuances and intricacies were created that simply can’t be appreciated in a smaller size.  This piece offers additional levels of life and complexity when viewed at increasingly larger sizes.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Icicle

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If you’ve been following the posts in this series, then you will recall that two limbs were trimmed.  The area in and around the bigger limb is where most of the compositions were created.  The sap in Icicle was near where the second, smaller limb was trimmed.  I was immediately attracted to it by the shape of the drop.  Aesthetically, I loved how the wood was uneven and had sharp points protruding out from the cut area because the sap also comes to a point.  Additionally, I found the reds, yellows, and oranges just under the surface of the sap next to the bark quite attractive, and I liked the pattern that those colors formed.

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 2

Tree Sap: Part 2

Part 2 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 1, click here.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Glassy

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I discovered the sap in Glassy on the side of the tree where the larger limb had been cut.  I loved the design of the drops.  They reminded me of blown glass.  This was composed at two times life-size, and, artistically, I wanted nearly the entire frame to consist of the sap so the lens was brought closer to it.  I loved the color striations within the sap that were picked up from the background and the blue reflections off the surfaces.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Conglomerated

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My Conglomerated composition is a collection of drops that have run down and piled up on top of each other.  I loved the background color layers, colors under and within the sap, reflections of blues and greens off the surfaces, and sunstars.  The high level of detail allows surface textures and intricate light and color streaks to be seen.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Strands

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I loved the large drop and the stretched trail of sap it left as it slipped down the tree in my Strands piece.  Another artistic placement fight happened with this image.  I wanted to get colors from each layer in the frame, but doing that caused sap on the right side to leave the frame.  I pulled the frame over to where some green was in the background and the large drop had additional space between it and the edge – again, tradeoffs were made.  But, as I’ve posted previously, if you’re aware of it and that’s what you wanted to do, I think it’s fine.  I love the color patterns in the large drop and the reflections off from the various surfaces.

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 1

Tree Sap: Part 1

I discovered the sap in this series of posts on a conifer in Hopeland Gardens that had recently been trimmed (likely due to some type of storm damage).  I was near the reflecting pools when I noticed an area on the trunk of a tree where a limb was missing and decided to investigate it for potential abstract patterns.  Upon arriving at the tree, I found sap dripping down along the edges of two severed limbs and some very cool abstract designs.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Tears

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In my mind’s eye, the design of the sap in Tears made me think of crying.  As if the tree’s open wounds were painful or it was mourning the loss of a photosynthesis contributor.  The limbs had likely been removed just days earlier and with the wet weather we had, the interior color of the wood was gorgeous.  Being a confessed color junkie, I had to get as much of those rusty oranges in the frame as possible, but I also liked how the moss and bark brought their own distinct layers.  Artistically, there was a little bit of a fight going on between colors and sap (I didn’t want the color layers to be too even in the amount of frame real estate they were taking up, but keeping the big, reflection warping, main drop close to a crossing line using the rule of thirds was also an important consideration).  As is normal with photography, a compromise, in some form, is often necessary.  I love the colors under the surface of the sap and the blues being reflected off the various surfaces.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen and you can almost feel the stretching and pulling of the sticky sap (especially in larger sizes).

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Globs

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The colors in the big, main drop of my Globs piece attracted me to this tiny scene.  I loved how the sunlight was bouncing around inside the sap creating wonderfully colorful refractions with their own patterns and designs.  While there was essentially no moss in this particular spot, plenty of the gorgeous rusty oranges and browns from the bark created a nice backdrop.  Since they add a touch of blue, I was pleased with the reflections here as well.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen here too.

 

 

Macro abstract tree sap at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Hook Shot

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I was intrigued with the shape and color of the sap in Hook Shot.  This particular run of sap was completely within the interior of the missing limb.  That meant that there would be no fight between color and sap for frame placement – the entire background consists of the rusty oranges.  Artistically, I still placed the bulk of the sap (i.e., the larger bottom drop) at a crossing line using the rule of thirds.  The little hole near the bottom of the frame that something burred into the surface was simply a bonus that provides additional visual interest.  While I have no idea what caused it and it is quite curious, I loved how the sap went from a crystalline clear color to a gorgeous ruby red.  Surface texture is visible here as well thanks to the high level of detail.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Pine Sap At Dreher Island State Park In Prosperity, SC

Pine Sap

Near the end of June, we took an excursion up to Dreher Island State Park.  We found an open shelter on Sweet Gum and claimed a spot.  I did some scouting in the woods and along the shoreline before having a very good picnic lunch.  After eating, I continued to explore near the water’s edge and came across some pine trees that had large areas of bark that had been stripped away (likely from a beaver).  All of the images in this post are compositions featuring sap found on the trees in that area.

 

Macro abstract pine tree sap at Dreher Island State Park in Prosperity, South Carolina
Fractured

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I loved the almost crystalline or icy look of the sap in my Fractured piece, but I was also attracted to the scene by the gorgeous colors underneath it.  It felt quite abstract with the scratches, gashes, and gouges randomly scattered all across the surface.  The most colorful areas reminded me of rock candy.  My artistic approach was fairly simple; maximize the amount of surface breaks while pulling in the most color.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen (the tiny stress/compaction lines are amazing).

 

 

Macro abstract pine tree sap at Dreher Island State Park in Prosperity, South Carolina
Orange Cracks

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The area where my Orange Cracks composition came from had some great colors.  I was immediately drawn to the lush oranges below the white, flaky coating.  The difficulty was that the surface of the sap was littered with the corpses of all different types of bugs.  They apparently got stuck in the sap and then, because they couldn’t break free, died on the surface.  New sap continued to drip down and cover some of the bodies so that they became embedded.  Searching for a section that had good color and was relatively clean (and free of bug bodies), was challenging.  This perspective brought to mind some type of tasty, frozen or shaved ice, orange drink or perhaps broken pieces of hard candy.

 

 

Macro abstract pine tree sap at Dreher Island State Park in Prosperity, South Carolina
Sap Channel

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I was excited to discover the two, big, active drips in my Sap Channel piece.  The coating on either side of them reminded me of cracked and broken sheets of ice in a river that looked like they could be flowing downstream.  Artistically, I preferred the frame in a position to where the channel ran across and down it diagonally.  While not possible to recognize in a static capture, I was able to see the sap trickle down the furrow.  The high level of detail allows surface textures and reflections off the sap to be seen.

 

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Macro Abstract Water Drops At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Water Drops

After a pretty good soaking rain from the previous day and night, I discovered some leaves with nice patterns of water drops on them in Hopeland Gardens.  I’m not sure what type of flora the leaves come from (perhaps various vines or other growth that is relatively short), but they do seem to have a surface that creates cool abstract designs when wet.

 

Macro abstract water drops on leaf at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Indubitably Green

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I loved the colors in my Indubitably Green piece.  Nearly the entire frame consists of different shades of greens.  Most of the leaves in the area where this was found were wet enough to create similar mosaics, so the trick was searching for an arrangement that was artistically pleasing.  Combining that desire with finding a surface capable of providing the best sharpness with an extremely shallow depth of field, increases the difficulty level.  The most desirable subjects are relatively flat and allow the camera’s sensor plane to be easily aligned with their surface.  Several leaves were tried and rejected before discovering one that met my aesthetic requirements.  The high level of detail allows surface texture to be visible.

 

 

Macro abstract water drops on leaf at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Drenched

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The drops in Drenched were attractive because of their shapes.  While some are fairly round, most are drooping and have more oblong, sloping, or swooping lines and curves that tend to give them a bit more character.  Once again, I loved the colors.  The high level of detail allows surface texture to be visible here as well.

 

 

Macro abstract water drops on leaf at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Sub Lime

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My Sub Lime composition has an interesting mixture of several elements.  The hard, sharp edges of the reflections combined with the soft curves of the drops provide a nice balance.  I also liked the random placement of the drops and their shapes as well as how they seem to have a bit better ability to magnify the surface beneath them.  Finally, the colors here were equally attractive as they were in the previous pieces.  Thanks to the high level of detail, surface texture can be seen here too.

 

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Edisto Beach Trip: Day 7 – Botany Bay Beach Sunrise

Day 7, Botany Bay Beach Sunrise

 

Sunrise over Atlantic Ocean at Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Unspoiled

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After stopping at the marsh area for a couple of minutes, I hurried on to the beach.  Although I wasn’t racing anyone to get there, a couple of other photographers had already beaten me to it.  The twilight colors were just as spectacular as they had been all week.  While composing Unspoiled, I thought about how lucky we are to have a state treasure like this that has gone so many years relatively untouched by human development.  Earlier this year, I found out that the beach was closed indefinitely due to damage from Hurricane Matthew (apparently the beach trail bridge was destroyed).  I hope all of the trees I photographed survived the storm, and I’d like to visit again sometime in the future.

 

 

Sunrise over Atlantic Ocean at Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Coastal Roots

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While working new groups of subject trees, I was able to keep the fantastic reflections off the wet sand, colorful waves and reflections off the water, and gorgeous colors in the sky.  The water levels at the beach vary from day to day, and I may have needed wading or hip boots to get to the spot I composed from for my Coastal Roots piece on any other morning.  That’s one of the great things about returning to a location several times – you will likely have different conditions for your creations.

 

 

Sunrise over Atlantic Ocean at Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Choppy

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I was attracted to the scene in Choppy by the chaotic nature of the wood.  As the sun got ever closer to the horizon, the golden tones continued to increase in the sky and reflect off from the water brought in by the waves.  All of which raised my excitement level.  I also love the twilight purples and the blues along the horizon and in the water.

 

 

Sunrise over Atlantic Ocean at Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Color Wash

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As I saw this scene start to materialize, I grabbed my gear and literally ran to get into position.  I love how the entire beach in my Color Wash piece is reflecting the golden hour colors.  There is also a little serendipity at work here too as the foam from an earlier wave creates a somewhat serpentine leading line toward the sun.  I specifically composed this so that the sun would be between two of the limbs, and, as a bonus, that created a feeling that the limbs are bowing to it like some type of primitive god.

 

 

Sunrise over Atlantic Ocean at Botany Bay near Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Boneyard

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While the subject tree in Boneyard is featured in other work from the beach, this composition is decidedly different.  Most notably is the position of the tree in the frame and of the sun being clearly above the horizon.  I love how the sun enhanced the reflection off of the wet sand, created a red toned path that fans out across the drier sand, and highlighted the shells/stones with a sparkle effect.  As I inspected the image in the camera’s LCD monitor, it was yet another one that caused spontaneous, excited, chuckling.  As I stood on the beach taking it all in, I was elated to have this as my final piece in the Botany Bay Beach Sunrise series.

 

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