Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 9

Tree Sap: Part 9

Part 9 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 8, click here.

 

 

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

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The unusual shape of the sap in my Spiked Drops piece is what attracted me to it.  If you’ve been following my Tree Sap posts, then you’ll recall that there were two limbs that had been cut.  This was under the smaller limb and was hanging down far enough that the extremely shallow depth of field, when shooting at two times life-size, reduced most of the background bark down to simple colors.  Both larger drops have nice reflections and refractions.  I loved the smaller tapered drop and wondered how it could have been formed in that manner without colliding with the larger drop and being absorbed.

 

 

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

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Molten is the final sap composition I was able to create.  I was surprised that a collection of sap so large still had such good clarity.  Most of the sap runs had at least started to dry and were turning a milky color.  These drops were lower on the tree trunk beneath the area where the larger limb had been trimmed.

 

I love the colors that the lowest drop on the bottom has pulled in and the color striations in all of the drops.  They also have some very nice multicolored refractions and colorful reflections.

 

The pieces in this series of blog posts, taken as a whole, feel like some type of a project – especially since I became accustomed to shooting at their location.  I was able to create compositions nearly all season long starting from the time I first discovered the limbs had been cut and the tree had sap running down it.  When there wasn’t much to point my camera at on any given day, I knew that I could at least get something from the sap tree.

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Bark At Aiken County Historical Museum In Aiken, SC

Tree Bark

 

Macro abstract tree bark at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Black Stars

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The discovery of the scene in my Black Stars piece was serendipitous.  I found it on one of the trees along the sidewalk on the side of the house at the Aiken County Historical Museum and it wasn’t what I initially set out to capture.  What originally attracted me to this area was some patches of nice pastel colors and a whole lot of holes burred into the bark in lines.  After setting up the tripod and getting my first view, the lens was pointing toward a spot without any of the holes, but the star patterns more than made up for that.  With the morning sun not yet up that far, it was pretty dark back there between the house and the wall, and this creation required 25 seconds of exposure time (which for macro is a fairly long exposure).  Interestingly, after I had captured several frames of the stars, I took a look at the scene I had originally intended to frame – it wasn’t artistically pleasing.  The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.

 

 

Macro abstract tree bark at Aiken County Historical Museum in Aiken, South Carolina
Earth Tones

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Coming around the side of the house and out into the front yard, I noticed a pine tree being lit by the sunrise.  The golden light enhanced the bark that was peeling off in nice abstract patterns and I was thrilled with its colors.  I examined the trunk for the area that had the best color in combination with the most aesthetic design.  I loved the oranges, yellows, and browns in my Earth Tones composition.  Surface textures can be seen here as well thanks to the high level of detail.

 

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Macro Abstract Tree Sap At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC: Part 8

Tree Sap: Part 8

Part 8 is a continuation of the Tree Sap blog posts from Hopeland Gardens.  To see works from or read The Artist’s Story for Part 7, click here.

 

 

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

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The sap in my Big Drop composition produced one of the largest single drops I had seen while creating these pieces.  I liked the mostly moss filled green background and this drop had a little bit of everything going for it.  For example, it has a couple of very nice sunstars, pulled in and warped background colors, pretty blue reflections, rainbow and multicolored refractions, and crystalline strained and stretched areas.  Simply put, I couldn’t resist it.

 

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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 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 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 Green Tree Frogs At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Froglets

Macro Green Tree Frogs at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Froglets

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While wandering the grounds in Hopeland Gardens, I was just east of the reflecting pools when I noticed a bunch of things falling out of the bushes.  I was too far away from them to tell what they were, but dozens of objects were suddenly falling.  At first I thought maybe they were blooms that had served their purpose and were being discarded, but it was strange so I stopped, listened, and watched a bit more intently.  It was green tree frogs – hundreds of them!  Obviously, they’ve really made a comeback.  I haven’t ever seen that many at Hopeland Gardens, and I can’t recall ever seeing a concentration of them like that (even at the swamp where I could count on seeing lots of these little guys).  That area was literally crawling with so many of them that they were crowded.  I think that the frogs in my Froglets piece haven’t been out of the water that long.  Their heads and backs are rounder and softer looking, they were small, and, if you look closely, you can still see a partial tail.

 

They apparently climb up onto the leaves, vines, and branches, and then when something scares them, they just jump down into the bigger leaves and ground cover below.  I lightly walked around and found a few that decided they liked their perch and were going to stay put.  I had to move real slow (you could say that I needed to sneak up on them) to get in place.  Of course, I estimated where the height of the tripod should be and already had it set so it was a matter of being very careful with both approaching them and positioning the tripod.  Making the setup more challenging was the fact that the frogs were in the shade while the rising sun was starting to really light up some of the nearby flora as it began to filter through the trees.  In order to avoid taking too much light away from the frogs (or blowing out portions of the background), I had to find a perspective that let me shoot into leaves and bushes not yet too brightly lit.  I think that’s one of the things that I love about photography – you constantly have to determine solutions that solve little problems (most of which have aesthetic consequences).

 

 

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