Macro Gladiolus At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Hopeland Gardens Gladiolus

 

Sometimes you just have to give nature some help, which was the case the morning I composed the pieces in this post.  While surveying the area where I had found one years ago, I discovered two gladiolus plants next to each other that were lying flat on the ground.  They were both dead to the world and did not have the ability to stand on their own.  I have no idea what happened to them though an animal may have knocked them over, or perhaps it was the wind, or maybe their blossoms just got too heavy to hold up.  At any rate, it seemed like a real shame to have that much beauty going to waste.  One stalk was fairly tore up and the flowers were not in good shape at all, and the second had a couple of pretty decent looking blooms as well as others that were being overrun by ants.  I picked up the better of the two so that I could examine the flowers a bit closer.  After I felt that a composition existed, I tried to get it balanced or propped up high enough to where I could comfortably get my lens on it, but that didn’t work – it just fell right back down again.  So I got my plamp out and, after cleaning as many of the ants off from it as I could, I connected one of the clamps so that it would keep the plant from falling over.

 

 

Macro Gladiolus at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Reincarnated

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After effectively bringing the plant back to life, I searched for an artistically pleasing flower.  For my Reincarnated composition, I placed the center stalk of the stigma on the upper, leftmost one third line, using the rule of thirds.  Then while keeping the stigma at that location in the frame, I maneuvered the camera around to where the anthers had approximately the same amount of space to their respective side.  I focused on the stigma because it felt too prominent against the pink background to ignore.  The extremely shallow depth of field didn’t allow much else to fall into the zone of sharpness, and I wouldn’t argue too much against this being classified as naturally abstract.  However, the uniformity of the filaments, anthers, and stigma stalks (i.e., three, three, and three) helped convince me not to do that.  The high level of detail allows tiny hairs and texture to be seen.

 

 

Macro Gladiolus at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Stance

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While scouring the best remaining, ant-free blooms, I found one that I liked.  I decided to move the plamp into a position that would continue supporting the weight of the stalk and hold the flower steadier since the wind had started to pick up as the morning ticked away.  I focused at the top of the stigma here as well and that worked out pretty good considering the angle of the anthers.  I like how they slowly fade away.  I was also pleased with how the filaments blended right into the background of my Stance piece because it creates the illusion that the anthers are floating.  Tiny hairs and texture can be seen here too thanks to the high level of detail.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Wet Hydrangea At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Wet Hydrangea

 

Macro abstract wet hydrangea at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Wet Hydrangea

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I was attracted by the blues and purples in my Wet Hydrangea piece, and I had been wanting to create an abstract macro composition that featured hydrangea for a long time.  I searched over several bushes in Hopeland Gardens until I found a group of petals that just felt right artistically.  The foreground petals as well as the layers beneath them were nicely laid out, and the wet surfaces both enhanced the saturation and increased the abstract feel at the same time.  To bring a little sense of order to the scene, I placed the bud in the center of the foreground petals so that the rightmost one third line, using the rule of thirds, nearly bisected it.  That also allowed the leftmost foreground petal to remain within the frame, which was an important aesthetic concern since it is the subject’s most prominent attribute.  I also really like the abstract designs from the reflections off the petal’s wet surface.  Then I used the bud as my focal point to amplify its relative importance.  Because of the bud’s height, that brought many of the dew drops scattered around the petals into the zone of sharpness.  The high level of detail allows texture to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Wandering Jew Petals Form Butterfly Wings At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Butterfly Wings

 

Macro Wandering Jew petals form butterfly wings at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Butterfly Wings

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I don’t normally see two wandering Jew flowers growing so close to one another.  In fact, this was the very first time I had ever seen a pair that had petals touching each other, and their proximity caused me to see a familiar pattern in my mind’s eye.  Taken as a whole, the outside petals on both sides appear to create the shape of butterfly wings.  I didn’t want the wings to feel centered in the frame, so I left a little more space above and on the right side of the petals.  That caused the flowers to be placed in the frame where the left flower’s core/center is very near the lower, leftmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  With the anthers scattered around in different groups as well as being considerably above the surface of the petals (especially considering the shallow depth of field), I selected the rope-like strands that grow out of the filaments as my focal point.  That aesthetic decision simultaneously forced the anthers to be out of focus and enhanced the surface of the petals including the pollen that had fallen on them.  The high level of detail allows texture, dew drops, and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Rose At Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, SC

Unfurling

 

Macro Rose at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Unfurling

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As I had mentioned in my first post of the Orangeburg Daylilies series, I didn’t find any subjects on the east side of the rose gardens.  So, as I was leaving, I decided to check out the west side.  If I would have started on the west side, I don’t think I would have even discovered the daylilies because it had a whole lot more potential subjects in it with the possibility of keeping me busy the entire morning.  The first one that grabbed my attention was the rose in Unfurling.  I loved the colors, but the unusual shapes of the petals with their twists, arcs, and curves were almost as enticing.  I placed the core or center of the flower so that the lower one third crossing line, using the rule of thirds, essentially bisected it.  That allowed plenty of space above the interesting lines for the gorgeous colors to be displayed.  By the time I had composed this, the wind had started to pick up and the light was getting harsh.  I won’t let so much time pass between my next visit to the gardens and have already made plans for getting back there again soon.

 

 

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Macro Daylilies At Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, SC: Part 3

Orangeburg Daylilies: Part 3

 

Part 3 is a continuation of the Orangeburg Daylilies posts from the Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, South Carolina.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 2, click here.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Peachy

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My Peachy composition allows you to look right down the throat of this pastel colored flower.  Being a color junkie, the pale pinks, oranges, and greens are not what I normally look for.  But, as I’ve previously posted, that’s a good thing.  Sometimes the more subdued colors are a nice change of pace (especially if they are different from what you usually see and even better if they are a departure from your typical palette).  You can think of it as expanding your horizons or simply trying something new.  For aesthetic reasons, I placed the anther farthest to the left on the upper, leftmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  I then focused on the larger foreground anther on the right side which created good sharpness across all of them.  Individual pieces of pollen on the anthers and filaments can be seen due to the high level of detail.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Pink Paradise

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Pink Paradise was composed looking right down the flower’s throat as well, but the colors are decidedly different from Peachy.  They are much more bold and saturated as well as satisfying to my color junkie needs.  The gorgeous pinks and reds are a nice complement to the bright yellows and greens, and one of my artistic goals was to feature them as much as possible.  To accomplish that desire, I found an angle that would allow those colors to fill the top of the frame while lifting the stamen up and off of the bottom.  I also wanted to hold the anthers near the yellows as their darker colors are naturally enhanced against the more vibrant tones.  While I used the first foreground anther as my focal point, the extremely shallow depth of field, when shooting at two times life-size, only allowed the zone of sharpness to extend just behind it to the middleground anthers.  Even so, the high level of detail allows individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

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Macro abstract Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Orange Curls

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I was attracted to the flower in my Orange Curls piece because it was so different from what a normal daylily looks like.  It was immediately apparent that any composition using this subject would produce an abstract.  Since it was the only one in the area, and I didn’t have anything else to compare it to, I can’t say if this particular type of flower usually grows in this manner.  Perhaps it was lacking something or deformed in some way.  Whatever the case, I loved all the loopy, wavy lines Mother Nature endowed it with.  The stigma has character as well and is bent and curled like it had been abused.  Though the anthers aren’t as easy to see because they have the same color as the petals, I did place one at the lower, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  I then used that anther as my focal point.  The high level of detail allows tiny dew drops to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Daylilies At Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, SC: Part 2

Orangeburg Daylilies: Part 2

Part 2 is a continuation of the Orangeburg Daylilies posts from the Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, South Carolina.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 1, click here.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Marmalade

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After having seen the gorgeous oranges and reds in my Marmalade piece from several feet away, I could hardly wait to get the tripod moved and setup in front of this subject.  My main objective was providing enough space above the anthers for those attractive colors to be on full display.  Strangely enough, while I wasn’t concerned with the rule of thirds and didn’t even initially check the grid lines during framing, I actually put the anther farthest to the left on the lower, leftmost crossing line.  Which made me wonder if I’m starting to intrinsically see and compose that way.  I also liked the subtle blues in the anthers and their complementary blacks against the yellows.  Surface textures and individual pieces of pollen can be seen thanks to the high level of detail.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Exquisite Fat

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The background of the daylily in Exquisite Fat was being backlit by the morning sun.  Those golden tones lighting up the petals created an irresistible beacon that drew my eyes and attention right to it.  I loved how the chicken fat along the petal edges, with their gorgeous colors, formed a V.  I placed the anthers where they were lifted up off the bottom while keeping additional space above them because one of my primary artistic desires was getting as much as I could of the backlit petals in the frame.  To ensure that I was able to sharply capture the anthers, focus stacking was used.  The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Fat Liner

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My artistic vision for Fat Liner was to, once again, utilize the chicken fat as much as I could.  I decided to place it along the edges of the frame so that it almost formed a border.  I spent time adjusting angles and the distance from the lens to the subject until I felt I had maximized what the flower was able to give me while also considering the relative positions of the stamen.  Just like everything else in photography, ultimately, it was about making compromises (i.e., giving up one thing to get something else).  While not really caring where the anthers were with regard to the grid lines, using the rule of thirds, I got lucky with their placement.  The bottom one third line cuts right through the main group of anthers, and the outlier touches the rightmost one third line.  I also feel that I was fortunate in that the arcs created by the filaments share similarities with those in the petals.

 

 

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Macro Daylilies At Edisto Memorial Gardens In Orangeburg, SC: Part 1

Orangeburg Daylilies: Part 1

Most of my rose works are from the Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, and I’ve written about the gardens and adjacent areas in previous posts.  It’s a great resource to have relatively close by.  Too much time had passed since I last visited, so I decided a road trip was in order.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find a single subject worthy of closer inspection in any section of the roses I initially examined.  I think the early Spring with the warm weather and then the hard freeze caused a lot of subtle problems with our flora.  After checking out all the gardens on the east side, I decided to head toward the ponds.  That was a good decision because I walked right up on a part of the gardens that didn’t exist the last time I had been there.  A whole new section of daylilies had been planted and they were looking really good.

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Garden Gem

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The colors in my Garden Gem piece immediately drew me in.  The pastels combined with the oranges, yellows, and greens were all very attractive.  The most prominent outside anthers were placed on the upper crossing lines, using the rule of thirds, so that the stamen came up into the foreground from the throat of the flower.  I focused on the rightmost foreground anther and let everything else fall where it was in the zone of sharpness.  The high level of captured detail allows texture and individual pieces of pollen to be seen.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Outreach

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I simply could not deny the bright yellows of the daylily in Outreach, and they, by themselves, forced me to create it.  Artistically, the sweeping arcs of the filaments and being able to see them from their origination point in the flower’s throat coming out into the foreground of the frame was my highest priority.  And while I didn’t care that much where the anthers were in relation to any of the grid lines, using the rule of thirds, the center of the group is very near the rightmost lower crossing line.  In fact, I used that particular anther as my focal point which tends to subtly increase the importance of its placement.  Sometimes we just get lucky and other aesthetic concerns drive a composition into a familiar layout without consciously trying.  Surface textures on the anthers can be seen thanks to the high level of captured detail.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Chiffon

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Thanks to the time I spent with Bob Yonce and the wonderful daylilies he grows on his farm, I was aware of chicken fat.  Upon finding the flower in my Chiffon piece, I immediately wanted to feature that aspect of it by prominently placing it along the edges of the frame.  Because the anthers were in such a nice tight grouping, I placed them so that the bottom was very near the lower, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  Those two artistic decisions also allowed the filaments to arch up and out of the flower’s throat and the ribs in the main petal to arc up and out as it stretches upward.  Here too, the high level of detail allows surface textures and pollen to be seen.

 

 

Macro Daylily at Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Excitingly Grape

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The gorgeous purple colors in Excitingly Grape grabbed my attention and held it.  I also liked how the inner colors form an ellipse as they transition from a light purple, to white, then yellow, and finally green.  The anthers were in a group here as well so I placed the anther farthest to the right on the upper, rightmost crossing line, using the rule of thirds.  That particular angle caused the arched rib lines behind the anthers, that emanate in the background, to come up and out from the flower’s throat into the middleground.  And the flow of the stamen and stigma arcs echo those lines.  The diagonal lines in the foreground pleats act as short leading lines that lead to the focal point.  To ensure that I had good sharpness on that area as well as the other anthers, I used focus stacking.  That aesthetic decision also allowed me to keep the stigma in the zone of sharpness.  Surface textures and tiny dew drops along the anther edges are both visible due to the high level of captured detail.  This was one of my favorites from the outing and would have made the trip worthwhile all by itself.

 

 

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Macro Abstract Leaves Covered By Web Full Of Dew At Rye Patch In Aiken, SC

Dew Veil

 

Macro abstract leaves covered by web full of dew at Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina
Dew Veil

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As I was walking through the Rye Patch Rose Garden looking for subjects, I discovered a naturally abstract scene that I couldn’t pass without further investigation.  The Rose Garden is an enclosed area with two side entrances that each have a swinging door.  Within the garden boundaries are hedges that are usually neatly trimmed in a rectangular shape that further segregate the various areas.  On top of one of the hedge rows was a web that was completely covered in dew.  Upon closer examination of the area I subsequently captured in Dew Veil, I was struck by how I could see the leaves underneath the web while at the same time the drops of dew created a mask over them.  It was a curious effect and almost felt as if I was looking at leaves that had been embedded in glass.  I found a group of leaves that had a couple of tips poking up and out of the web as well as other leaves surrounding it in an artistic manner.  I then placed that group in the frame so that the rightmost vertical one third line, using the rule of thirds, nearly bisected them.  To achieve side-to-side sharpness across the entire frame, a technique known as focus stacking was employed.  The high level of captured detail allows web strands and a whole bunch of tiny dew drops to be seen.

 

 

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Macro Wet Spiderwort At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Wet Spiderwort

 

Macro wet Spiderwort at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Wet Spiderwort

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I was attracted to my Wet Spiderwort piece by how nicely the yellow anthers popped against the complementary blues.  But, as is often the case, upon viewing the scene at nearly two times life-size, I discovered something even more enticing.  I loved how the water drops had formed in and around the anthers and stigma.  By dialing back the already shallow depth of field, I could have reduced the detail in the background, however, my desire to hold a selection of anthers and the water drops sharply in focus outweighed any other aesthetic priorities.  Further, I like how the drops on the petals add to the overall soaked feel.  To place them in an artistically pleasing location within the frame, the largest drops in the group of anthers were concentrated near the left most, bottom crossing line, using the rule of thirds, and they all touch (or are split by) one of the horizontal or vertical grid lines.  The high level of captured detail allows textures and drop reflections to be seen.

 

 

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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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