Edisto Beach Trip: Day 2 – Grove Plantation Abstracts

Day 2, Grove Plantation Abstracts

After lunch, we drove over to The Grove Plantation.  The Grove Plantation is part of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge.  With thousands of acres of land, I was sure I could find a few subjects.  I parked near the kiosk and quickly scouted the area near the entrance.  The fields on both sides of the road leading to the mansion (which is also the Wildlife Refuge Headquarters) had plenty of macro subjects in them.  While I prefer early morning light, a deflector can help calm the harsh afternoon light when shooting macro subjects.  Using a plamp helped keep subjects steady, but with a wind speed around nine miles per hour and quickly changing light due to partially cloudy skies, the conditions were one of the most challenging I’ve ever worked through.  In those circumstances, patience is your best asset.

 

Macro abstract Thistle in The Grove Plantation near Adams Run, South Carolina
Gold Strips

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The gold tones and wispy curves of the naturally abstract pattern on the thistle head in my Golden Strips piece grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go until I had created a composition.  I’ve always like abstracts, but I seem to have found an even greater attraction to them that steadily increased throughout the year.  The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual hairs to be seen.

 

 

Macro abstract Thistle in The Grove Plantation near Adams Run, South Carolina
Expansive

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The thistle in Expansive reminded me of an explosion.  It seemed to be bursting out and expanding in all directions from the center.  The hairy, string-like filaments that run throughout the focal plane added to the abstract quality.  I placed the center of the flower very near the left one third line, using the rule of thirds.  I then made the aesthetic decision to nudge the center just a bit to the right so that the left side of the frame could be filled with more of the tubular florets.  That also provided some additional space between the frame edge and the center.  The high level of detail allows pollen, surface textures, and individual hairs to be seen here too.

 

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After returning to the car, we drove up to the house and spent a couple of hours scouting the grounds, getting maps and brochures, etc.  Before we left, I already had ideas for what I wanted to do when we returned.

Thistle At Phinizy Swamp Nature Park In Augusta, GA

Phinizy Thistle

Macro Thistle at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia
Phinizy Thistle

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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.

 

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