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.
Prior to creating my Wet Hunter piece, I was exploring the swampy area in Hopeland Gardens where a couple of my favorite leaf compositions have come from looking for another leaf that had turned the right color and would be backlit by the rising sun. I didn’t find any cool leaves, but while I was searching, I looked up and this anole caught my eye.
Though I’ve posted previously about being an opportunistic wildlife shooter, the scene was simply too good to ignore. I created more than 240 images in an effort to get the best pose that I possibly could. I really had to work to get this. Multiple perspectives were needed because the rising sun occasionally brought too much light into the background which forced me to find an angle that looked into an area with better balance. Additionally, I used decreasing camera to subject distances as I worked my way closer by carefully repositioning the tripod. It likely would have taken fewer images under better conditions, but the wind was blowing the cattail around (which by extension was moving the anole), and my subject would not sit still for very long. It was frequently moving its head, and, when the head was still, the eye was moving all over the place.
I loved the dew drops all over its body, the position it was in, how the tail was wrapped behind the cattail leaf, the cattail head, the angle of the cattail leaf (diagonally up through the frame), and the nice colors. I love artistic nature pieces – especially work from the late Ronnie Gaubert (one of my luminaries). Ronnie had an ability to present nature as both documentary and beautifully artistic, and I think I may have been tapping into some of his influence that morning. This was my favorite of the several images I kept, and the others that made the cut are available as stock only. The high level of detail allows surface textures and individual dew drops to be seen.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog posts, you may remember a post where I described the no longer operational fountain in Hopeland Gardens. I discovered the female box turtle in my Private Pond piece in the catch basin portion of the fountain system. When the fountain was functioning, water from the canal would flow into the basin where it would, presumably, be pumped back up to the starting point. With no water streaming down the canal, only surface runoff, rain, etc. can get into the catch basin. I’m not sure how she got into the basin, but, because the cement walls are pretty high, she was essentially trapped until it fills with enough water (or perhaps something else she could utilize) for her to climb out. I didn’t see any other turtles so she has the whole area to herself. I had been checking on her during previous trips, but wasn’t happy with the background or her position. Being completely surrounded by duckweed presented the best opportunity I had been given. While she remained perfectly still, her throat was moving in and out (which I liked because it shows movement and implies breathing).
I loved the greens combined with the dark red veins in my Wet Canna Leaf piece. This is another composition from the area along the south wall at the Aiken County Historical Museum where the canna lilies live. Because of its abstract quality (i.e., simple colors and lines), I really appreciated the ability of the dew drops to bring additional visual interest. Aesthetically, I didn’t want it to feel too mathematically exact or mechanical so it’s not perfectly centered within the frame, but it’s close enough to give the impression that I intended it to be.
I was searching for abstract patterns on leaves in Hopeland Gardens when I noticed an incredible amount of water drops on a spider web. The concentration of drops wasn’t very big, but feels larger than it was thanks to composing at two times life-size. I like the variety of shapes and sizes (especially the tiny drops – some of which are just barely larger than the web they’re on). With the rising sun up far enough to break over the trees, the scene was well lit. I love all of the sunstars that were created from shooting at a high F-stop and the rainbow of colors on the web strands.
Both of the pieces in this post are from the same plant at the Aiken County Historical Museum that I previously posted about (the one in the front of the museum near the archway). The storm we had the night before these were composed left plenty of water drops on the surface of the leaves.
I was, once again, attracted to this plant by the gorgeous greens in the leaves. The abstract pattern of lines and water drops in my Chutes piece provided additional allure. I loved the randomness and number of the drops. I examined the plant while walking around it until I found an angle that let me accomplish my artistic vision. My first objective was to, as much as possible, fill the image with leaves from the foreground to the background by stacking and overlapping them. Secondly, I placed the leaves in the frame so that their arched edges originated below the bottom and came up and out as if they were growing/expanding (perhaps even as a response to being watered so well). The high level of detail allows surface texture and individual teeth along the leaf edges to be seen.
Cascades shares similar characteristics with Chutes. I really like the darker (almost jade) greens which helped bring out the lighter colored edges. My vision here was to fan the leaves out like a deck of cards from left to right. Individual edge teeth and surface texture can be seen here as well – thanks to the high level of detail.
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).
After a pretty good soaking rain from the previous day and night, I discovered some leaves with nice patterns of water drops on them in Hopeland Gardens. I’m not sure what type of flora the leaves come from (perhaps various vines or other growth that is relatively short), but they do seem to have a surface that creates cool abstract designs when wet.
I loved the colors in my Indubitably Green piece. Nearly the entire frame consists of different shades of greens. Most of the leaves in the area where this was found were wet enough to create similar mosaics, so the trick was searching for an arrangement that was artistically pleasing. Combining that desire with finding a surface capable of providing the best sharpness with an extremely shallow depth of field, increases the difficulty level. The most desirable subjects are relatively flat and allow the camera’s sensor plane to be easily aligned with their surface. Several leaves were tried and rejected before discovering one that met my aesthetic requirements. The high level of detail allows surface texture to be visible.
The drops in Drenched were attractive because of their shapes. While some are fairly round, most are drooping and have more oblong, sloping, or swooping lines and curves that tend to give them a bit more character. Once again, I loved the colors. The high level of detail allows surface texture to be visible here as well.
My Sub Lime composition has an interesting mixture of several elements. The hard, sharp edges of the reflections combined with the soft curves of the drops provide a nice balance. I also liked the random placement of the drops and their shapes as well as how they seem to have a bit better ability to magnify the surface beneath them. Finally, the colors here were equally attractive as they were in the previous pieces. Thanks to the high level of detail, surface texture can be seen here too.
Even some of the drops are irregular and chaotic in my abstract Wet Hair piece. I love discovering tiny scenes like this on something as seemingly nondescript as lambs ear. The drops act as magnifying glasses with refractive abilities as they sit on top of the hairs. I searched through a patch of them about eight feet wide and four feet deep looking for a surface that provided the most aesthetic satisfaction. That included consideration for the concentration of drops and, because of the extremely shallow depth of field when composing at two times life-size, the overall flatness and viewing angle. These leaves are quite low to the ground so wearing knee pads (like those that roofers or other contractors have) really paid off.
I was attracted to the rose in my Swirled piece by the random and chaotic colors. I also liked the abstract pattern of the petals I found upon viewing the scene at two times life-size. It was quite wet – in fact, it had standing water in the center and the petals were literally covered in drops. All of that water and the many drops add to the overall abstract feel.