Macro Abstract Wood Surface And Knot At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Benched

When I moved to Aiken there was a huge Deodar Cedar tree on the south side of the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.  Not only did it have multiple trunks, the tree’s individual limbs were quite large (bigger than most of the trees in my backyard).  What made it even more interesting was how the pieces had grown up and out in that location.  The area they spanned could have easily been more than 20 feet across.  By all indications, the tree was a very popular spot for families and visitors to create snap shots or vacation photos – especially since with a little effort you could easily climb into the heart of them and find yourself standing several feet above the ground.  At some point a portion of the tree died and had to be removed.  Then a really bad ice storm came through a couple of years ago.  Aiken county was one of the hardest hit areas in the entire state and Hopeland Gardens took a serious blow.  Among the casualties was their Acacia, too many limbs to count, and what was left of the much beloved tree.  Fortunately, when the original paring was done, a portion of the tree was preserved, and, as a form of remembrance or dedication, it was used to create wooden benches that are placed near where the tree originally stood.

 

Macro abstract wood surface and knot at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Benched

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As a color junkie, I’ve been attracted to the surfaces of the benches for a while, but never found a composition that I was happy enough with to press the shutter.  With my Benched piece, that problem was overcome.  I liked the line that runs to and around the knot and, for aesthetic reasons, decided to place it diagonally so that it split the frame.  The center of the knot was placed near the bottom right one third crossing line, using the rule of thirds, but then bumped up and to the left a bit so that more of the diagonal line would remain in the frame.  The high level of captured detail allows rings and surface textures to be seen.

 

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Macro Fall Pansy At Rye Patch In Aiken, SC

Dew Point

 

Macro Pansy at Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina
Dew Point

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I just realized, as I was writing this, that I ended the season at the exact same place I started with an identical type of flower.  Patsy’s Garden in the Rye Patch Rose Garden had been recently replanted with pansies.  Artistically pleasing specimens were fairly sparse, but this one stood out.  I liked the colors (of course), but the tiny dew drops made the difference.  The petal surfaces are nearly completely covered resulting in a sparkling effect.  Aesthetically, I placed the green heart in the center of the flower just below the bottom one third line, using the rule of thirds, and used it as my focal point.  The high level of detail allows surface texture, individual dew drops, and individual pollen pieces to be seen.

 

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Macro Berries And Fall Leaves At Rye Patch In Aiken, SC

Fall Berries

 

Macro berries and fall leaves at Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina
Fall Berries

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The leaves on the tree where my Fall Berries piece was created can be quite colorful in the Fall.  They were, as they have been in the past, loud enough to call me over from across the lawn at the Rye Patch.  I searched around the tree for artistically pleasing scenes.  I wanted good colors in the leaves and at least one berry.  For the scene I settled on, I liked how the dark colors of the berries contrasted nicely against the brighter leaves as well as their mixture of purples with the blue reflections.  Aesthetically, I found a perspective that kept the berries from touching each other.  Then I placed the left most berry on the first lower left crossing line (a little off center), using the rule of thirds, and used it as my focal point.

 

I normally try to get as much depth of field as I possibly can, but sometimes I have to dial back the F-stop setting.  As I’ve posted about previously, photography is about concession management.  The wind picked up just as I began exploring the leaves.  With the sun not yet able to provide much light through the surrounding trees, I needed several seconds of exposure time.  But, Mother Nature insisted on rustling the leaves with a breeze coming on shorter intervals than what I required.  To come to an equitable agreement with her, I dropped my F-stop down to F/11 which cut my exposure time down to two seconds.  Voila, everybody was happy.  And, as a bonus, the background leaves nearly completely dissolved down into simple colors.  Even with a shallow depth of field, the high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.

 

 

 

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Wandering Jew At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Wandering Through Green

 

Wandering Jew surrounded by green leaves at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Wandering Through Green

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I found this wandering Jew nestled between the gorgeous green leaves on the north side of the circular driveway at the Aiken County Historical Museum.  I searched for a section that wasn’t too ate up, had an artistically pleasing pattern, and the ability to fill as much of the frame as possible with leaves.  I then placed the flower of the wandering Jew on the top left most crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and used it as my focal point.  I really liked how the dark purple and green complement each other and create an attractive scene.  I think the gardener that planted this section also believed that the two colors would work well with each other.  The high level of detail allows surface texture, individual hairs, and individual dew drops 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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Macro Tree Flowers At Rye Patch In Aiken, SC

Tree Flowers

 

Macro tree flower at the Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina
Stigma Star

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White blossoms on a small tree called to me from across the Rye Patch lawn.  I’ve never seen a bloom like these in that area before, but I don’t think that it has been planted there for very long.  In fact, the tree itself was only a couple of feet taller than I am.  The honey bees just loved the flowers and were all over them.  After more closely examining one, I loved the star shaped stigma surrounded by the bright orange and yellow anthers and filaments.  For my Stigma Star composition, I utilized the stigma as my focal point and placed it on the right most line using the rule of thirds (just a little off center).  I wanted to keep as many of the anthers in the frame as possible so the lens was moved slightly right to accommodate that aesthetic desire.  The high level of detail allows surface textures on the stigma and anthers to be seen.

 

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Macro tree flowers at the Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina
Tree Flowers

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After successfully creating a macro version of one of the flowers, I wanted my Tree Flowers composition to show them blooming on the tree.  I had to fight a bit more wind to get it, but luckily there was enough light to where I could keep my shutter speed under a second while maintaining a decent depth of field setting.  Interestingly, it appears that only one of the flower’s petals has a fuzzy/furry edge.  The high level of detail allows individual hairs (around a petal edge) and surface textures to be seen.

 

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Macro Rose Of Sharon At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Snowballs

 

Macro Rose Of Sharon at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Snowballs

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Having great colors is almost an automatic way to get my attention, but occasionally I’m attracted to a given blossom by how easy I believe it should be to work with.  That was the case with the subject in my Snowballs piece.  This is on the same little bush at the Aiken County Historical Museum that I created an abstract from in a previous post and it offered several potential subject blooms.  I loved the blood red colors and the design formed as the reds go from purples to pinks as they flow away from the flower’s center.  I placed the snow white stigma discs on the lower crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and used them as my focal point.

 

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Macro Flowers At Swan Lake Iris Gardens In Sumter, SC: Part 4

Swan Lake Iris Gardens: Part 4

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

 

 

Macro flower buds at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Butterfly Garden Buds

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After having worked the Chocolate Garden, I returned to the Butterfly Garden to give it a better going over.  I had basically picked the low hanging fruit in the morning, but after lunch, I didn’t feel as pressed for time.  That allowed me to go a little slower, take additional time to examine more perspectives, and create multiple frames of any given subject.  Luckily the shooting conditions were quite favorable for midday (i.e., I had a diffused sky with periods of rain and not too much wind).  I loved the size and gorgeous red colors of the buds in my Butterfly Garden Buds composition.  I maneuvered around them until I could find an angle that 1) allowed me to keep the buds separated, and 2) have them originate from the top right corner and come down and out into the frame.  Thanks to the high level of detail, surface texture and a rain drop can be seen.

 

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Macro flower at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Diagonal

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Of the images I created featuring the flower in my Diagonal piece, I liked this one the best.  I had a couple of initial objectives for this composition.  First, I concentrated on the anthers and used them as my focal point.  Secondly, I wanted a petal to run diagonally across and down the frame from left to right with the sharp tip ending near the lower corner.  While I had resolved those two intentions, I felt that it could be improved with an additional change.  I believed that it would be artistically stronger to force the majority of the filaments to originate within the frame (that is, to make it possible to see where they were coming from vice entering the frame from outside of it).  So, I found a perspective that brought them back while maintaining the aforementioned goals.

 

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Macro abstract Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Slit

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I concentrated on the structures above the unopened disc florets in my Slit composition.  In my mind’s eye, the center area reminded me of an eyeball, and the opening it has brought to mind a pupil.  It felt almost as if Mother Nature had created a flower that could look back at its admirers.  I positioned the lens to where the diameter of the eye used just about the entire height of the frame while the first one third line (using the rule of thirds) runs right through the pupil nearly splitting it in half.  That also allowed the disc florets to create a fuzzy ring around the eye and exposed some petals.

 

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Macro Flowers At Swan Lake Iris Gardens In Sumter, SC: Part 3

Swan Lake Iris Gardens: Part 3

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

 

 

Macro flower at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Enticed

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I was attracted to the flower in Enticed by how unique the center was.  While the flower had a similar color scheme (the very cool pinks/purples that change to orange), the middle was unlike any of the other flowers.  For example, there are no disc florets or the cool looking flame like structures.  That made me wonder if it was a different flower type completely (planted within the area along the bathrooms at the Butterfly Garden because it had comparable colors) or perhaps some genetically altered version.

 

 

Macro flower at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Confectionery

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Confectionery is close to being a vertical companion to Enticed.  It is the same flower, but the perspective was changed.  I loved how the petals were layered so I pulled back from the flower a little to bring a bit more of them into the frame.  The colors were so sweet that they made me think of candy.

 

 

Macro flower at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Attractive

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The flower in my Attractive composition, once again, has a similar color scheme with another distinctive center.  I loved how the petals were layered and overlap each other here as well (that makes it easy to fill the frame with very nice colors).  I also liked the furry looking edges of the petals in the very center and the stubble at the bottom of the petals next to them.  The high level of detail allows individual hairs to be seen.

 

 

Macro Hibiscus at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Chocolate Garden Hibiscus

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I only had a couple of minutes to check things out at the Chocolate Garden before heading back to the car for lunch.  I looked at a couple of compositions, but didn’t feel that I had enough time to create anything.  So, after our picnic, the Chocolate Garden was the first place I headed to.  Due to conditions and lighting changes, none of the ideas I had before lunch looked good upon my return.  However, I did discover the flower in my Chocolate Garden Hibiscus piece.  The flower itself was quite large, but it was really low and close to the ground.  That made positioning the tripod fairly challenging, and I had to work at it for a few minutes before I was able to manipulate the legs into a suitable arrangement.  Aesthetically, I wanted the pistil to come down and away from the center of the flower vertically.  I placed the two lower stigma discs on the bottom one third line, using the rule of thirds, and used that area as my focal point.  That allowed the crossing line to fall nearly at the center of the stigma and lifted the pistil up into the corner of the frame.  The high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen (on the stigma discs) and individual hairs (on the stigma stems) to be seen.

 

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Macro Flowers At Swan Lake Iris Gardens In Sumter, SC: Part 1

Swan Lake Iris Gardens: Part 1

We took a picnic lunch over to the Swan Lake Iris Gardens in early July.  I created and scouted in the morning, had lunch, and then continued creating after lunch with a little more scouting as well.  I look forward to having an opportunity to shoot when the iris is in full bloom (perhaps this coming summer).

 

Macro abstract Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Rolls

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The lush oranges and the abstract pattern formed by the rolled up petals near the center attracted me to the flower in my Rolls piece.  In my mind’s eye, the objects concentrated in the very center (and seeping around the tubes) looked like little red and orange flames.  Their points and sharper edges are softened by the circles, arcs, and curves of the petals.  Taken together, they create tension in the center that dissipates in waves that flow out into the frame as the petals become larger and open up after being released.  The sharp points along the curved edges of the petals help strengthen that feeling.

 

 

Macro abstract Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Vortex

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My artistic goal for Vortex was all about capturing the pink and red structure that forms an arch above the unopened disk florets in the center of the flower.  Perhaps because it has a hole in it or because the shapes are curved like they are being forcefully pulled toward the center, it brought to mind a whirling eddy.  Upon closer examination, the sharp tips lining the opening reminded me of the Sarlacc pit in the desert of Tatooine in Star Wars Return of the Jedi.  I placed the mouth near the left one third line, using the rule of thirds, and used it for the focal point.  Shooting at two times life-size quite close to the subject, the depth of field was very shallow.

 

 

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Macro Hibiscus at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Pink Tinge

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I discovered the hibiscus in Pink Tinge at the Butterfly Garden.  It was quite large which initially got my attention all by itself.  I liked how the flower had pink tones that were blended in with the whites of the petals.  Of course, the water drops were a bonus and all but forced me to create a composition.  I placed the stigma discs very near the lower right side crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and used them as the focal point.  I felt that placement gave the center reds, pistil, and petals a nice circular flow both into and around the frame.

 

 

Macro Zinnia at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina
Churn

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I had a couple of artistic goals for the zinnia in my Churn piece.  First, I wanted to capture the ring of disc florets.  But, being directly over the top of them wasn’t desirable because I preferred maintaining approximately the same amount of space to the frame edges and including more of the petals.  So, to do that, I used a perspective that allowed more petal length while simultaneously compressing the ring.  As I’ve previously posted, more often than not, photography is about compromises.  With the distance to the subject being so close, the depth of field was very shallow, but the angle I used forced the disc florets to deflect away from the camera’s sensor.  Which meant that they would quickly exit the zone of sharpness that begins just before the focal point on the left side.  Secondly, I wanted the petals and the gaps between them to feel like they were shooting out like sunstar beams from behind the disc florets.

 

 

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