I was intrigued with the subject of my Blooming Bloom piece. I have seen flowers on the hydrangea bushes in the area of Hopeland Gardens where this was created several times over the years, but I hadn’t ever found anything that set my artistic radar off. That is, until I looked much closer at the flowers. Upon examination of this hydrangea at two times life-size, I discovered that the center of the flower itself had what appeared to be stamen, anthers, and stigma. The most interesting part of that realization was that not very many of them had similar centers. In fact, the majority of them (at least 90 percent) had a tightly closed, nodule-like, raised bump that wasn’t nearly as attractive. This flower had an open center that showed off the gorgeous blues and purples that are apparently hidden inside of it most of the time. Increasing my fascination quotient was the fact that the area of flowers that were blooming seemed to have plenty of smaller blooms (without any petals) that had stamen on them. The high level of detail allows surface textures and dew to be seen.
While exploring one of the swampy areas of Hopeland Gardens, I came across the scene in my Swamp Curves piece. I was initially attracted to it by the gorgeous greens in the leaves, but the sweeping curves of the foreground leaf convinced me to create this. I love the tiny dew drops along the edge of the leaf and how the curves seem to flow out and away from the midrib as if they were ripples on a green lake.
I was attracted to the iris in Risen by the brilliant yellow colors on the falls. The design they created reminded me of the flames that form at the end of a rocket engine when gas, fuel, or some type of propellant is burned. I liked the shape of the crest so I placed the focal point on it and let the rest of the flower parts assume their position in the zone of sharpness. Due to the color mixture and shallow depth of field, a streaking effect was created in the background which helped increase the sense of upward motion and of being propelled. The high level of detail allows surface textures and dew drops to be seen.
I had been searching for an artistically pleasing scene among the iris on the east side of the stage in Hopeland Gardens for quite some time. Since I wasn’t having any luck, I had considered leaving a couple of times and felt like I may be spending too much time in one place. I’ve previously posted about how I prefer to work in morning light and there is only so much of that each day. You can easily convince yourself that there is something better just around the corner waiting for you to come find it. But since there were so many purple iris blooming, I decided to keep hunting until I had covered the entire area before moving on. Once again, the “perseverance is half the battle” adage was proven. With nearly all the blooms inspected, I discovered the subject in my Inner Flower piece. This “thing” was growing out of the side of an iris and hiding close to the shoreline (in fact, I had to put one shoe on the wooden rail that runs along the shore for balance). I have no idea what it is, and I’ve never seen anything like it before. It certainly doesn’t look like any part of an iris so it could be some type of deformed growth. At any rate, I loved the shape of it, the fact that it was covered in dew, and the little gem-like blue liquid on the upper surface.
When I saw the concentration of drops on this lambs ear in Hopeland Gardens, I couldn’t resist creating another composition from the same area where a previous subject was captured. I loved the number of drops and their shapes. And, I love how they act as miniature magnifying glasses with splashes of refracted color. Some of the globes of water in Ear Drops remind me of a Plasma Lamp. The scene itself is fairly complex, which is aided by the high level of detail (e.g., individual strands of hair can be seen).
I discovered the unique looking lily in my Translucent piece along the front edge of the big garden at the Aiken County Historical Museum. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, and it was on the same plant as other lilies that didn’t have this unusual property. I don’t know if it was sick, lacking something, or just very special, but it had almost translucent petals. These lilies weren’t very big and were low to the ground (which made getting into a good position from which to create a composition a bit challenging). I liked the curves of the filaments and the designs created by what appears to be veins in the petals. The anthers give the impression of being electrically charged and sending out bolts of energy like some type of Tesla machine.
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 discovered the group of evergreens where my Spiked Berries piece was created while wandering the Hopeland Gardens grounds. I was immediately attracted to the berries due to their unusual shapes. But, when I observed them through the viewfinder at two times life-size they became even more interesting with their fascinating ripples and surface patterns. They looked like some kind of strange eggs with inherent horns for protection. I then searched through the trees for an artistically pleasing group of berries that included as many of the tiny, colorful blooms as possible. The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.
The canna lilies in my Staged piece come from an area on the west side of the big pond in Hopeland Gardens where they’ve been blooming for many years. In fact, I’ve created other works from the same location. My artistic vision for this composition was to capture the various life stages of these flowers by sort of blending two of my other images Curly and Canna Buds. I placed the focal point on the curl and the gorgeous colors of the foreground flower, kept the buds in the middleground as sharp and distinctive as I could, and then filled out the frame with the surrounding blooms. The high level of detail allows dew drops and surface textures 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.