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.
After stopping at the marsh area for a couple of minutes, I hurried on to the beach. Although I wasn’t racing anyone to get there, a couple of other photographers had already beaten me to it. The twilight colors were just as spectacular as they had been all week. While composing Unspoiled, I thought about how lucky we are to have a state treasure like this that has gone so many years relatively untouched by human development. Earlier this year, I found out that the beach was closed indefinitely due to damage from Hurricane Matthew (apparently the beach trail bridge was destroyed). I hope all of the trees I photographed survived the storm, and I’d like to visit again sometime in the future.
While working new groups of subject trees, I was able to keep the fantastic reflections off the wet sand, colorful waves and reflections off the water, and gorgeous colors in the sky. The water levels at the beach vary from day to day, and I may have needed wading or hip boots to get to the spot I composed from for my Coastal Roots piece on any other morning. That’s one of the great things about returning to a location several times – you will likely have different conditions for your creations.
I was attracted to the scene in Choppy by the chaotic nature of the wood. As the sun got ever closer to the horizon, the golden tones continued to increase in the sky and reflect off from the water brought in by the waves. All of which raised my excitement level. I also love the twilight purples and the blues along the horizon and in the water.
As I saw this scene start to materialize, I grabbed my gear and literally ran to get into position. I love how the entire beach in my Color Wash piece is reflecting the golden hour colors. There is also a little serendipity at work here too as the foam from an earlier wave creates a somewhat serpentine leading line toward the sun. I specifically composed this so that the sun would be between two of the limbs, and, as a bonus, that created a feeling that the limbs are bowing to it like some type of primitive god.
While the subject tree in Boneyard is featured in other work from the beach, this composition is decidedly different. Most notably is the position of the tree in the frame and of the sun being clearly above the horizon. I love how the sun enhanced the reflection off of the wet sand, created a red toned path that fans out across the drier sand, and highlighted the shells/stones with a sparkle effect. As I inspected the image in the camera’s LCD monitor, it was yet another one that caused spontaneous, excited, chuckling. As I stood on the beach taking it all in, I was elated to have this as my final piece in the Botany Bay Beach Sunrise series.
When the sky has clouds like those in my Sunup piece, I will work scenes as long as possible. The sun had risen above the horizon, but there were so many clouds that you can just barely see it. Which led to some very nice golden hour colors in the sky and from the reflections off the wet sand. The additional available light allows for much more detail on the beach itself and on the trees and their root systems.
The foreground tree in my Weathered composition provides another example of how tough the trees on the Botany Bay beach are. With more light allowing additional detail on the tree to be seen, you can tell just how battered, torn, and worn it is. Several aesthetic decisions regarding placement went into this: first, I put the camera in a position to where the foreground and middleground trees wouldn’t touch each other (they come close, but I needed some room on the left hand side to keep that tree from leaving the frame); secondly, I put the sun within the V shape of the middleground tree (it’s hard to see exactly where it is due to all the clouds blocking it); and finally my goal was to maximize the amount of color in the sky and from the reflections off the wet sand.
With even more light available for Wave Reaction, a faster shutter speed could be used. That allowed the waves to be active and not quite so smooth. My favorite part of this piece is one of those serendipitous things that happen every once in a while. There is a bird in the sky above the branches on the right-hand side. I did not know that it was there until I processed the image. I’ve written in previous posts about how much I enjoy those little surprises.
My Golden Morning piece has the golden hour colors on full display. They have taken over nearly the entire palette. Even the dry sand has a gold tone. I love watching nature paint. When you compare the first piece in this post (which is the same group of trees) to this, the difference is incredible. And Mother Nature recolored everything and changed the light dispersion by altering the clouds in only twenty minutes.
I walked all the way down to the other end of Botany Bay beach to compose Alternative View. When arriving at the beach from the trail, I normally went left, but this is right and all the way down. I was curious about what was on the other side, and since I had lots of remaining golden light, I searched for other possible subjects. I was attracted to this tree by how many limbs and branches it has (especially some of the thinner limbs). I also liked how the sky above the tree had a wavy, bumpy look that was similar to the waves coming into the beach.