"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

“Cram It” Photography Using A Phlox Flower

This is about a favorite technique used when I am out shooting, and especially for floral type abstracts.

© 2005 – Michael Brown
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“Phlox Bloom”


If anyone is familiar with the “phlox” flower, you know that almost all of them will send up long stems or stalks, and at the end will be a large head filled with buds. Maybe 100 or so buds can be found. I like to find a large grouping that has about half of the blooms already opened, and the other half maybe a few days from opening. Shooting with the lens setting at wide open, this can easily give me a solid wall of color in the background while selectively focusing in on another section of buds, or already opened flowers.
Now, ….. for the fun part!
Just cram your lens in that large head of flowers & buds with the lens setting at wide open. Do it “while looking through the camera/lens”, and you will suddenly find yourself traveling through a maze of wonderful abstract compositions with varying light and shadows. Some of those visions will be detailed, some a total blur, with some of those visions becoming a mixture of both. Do not let something directly in front of your lens bother you. You will be shooting wide open, … so you will virtually be looking right through whatever is in front of your lens anyway, as it becomes a totally thin blur.
Just make it a point of giving this a shot. The world of macro is not meant for “details” alone, … like some think!
So, …… cram it!

The above image was taken using the Canon 100mm macro lens and extension tube, 1 white reflector to the right side, tripod, plamp.
1/60 sec. @ f2.8
ISO 100

So, do something a bit different this year, and make sure you have fun while doing it too!

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

January 1, 2006 - Posted by | abstract, art, blog, Blogroll, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, horticulture, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop | , , , , ,


  1. Hey Mike – this is another beautiful “cram” photo. I have a question. Will this type of photo–cramming the lens into the flowers–work without an extension? I own the EF 100mm and am curious. Guess I’ll have to just try it.

    Thanks for all the good advice this blog provides. It’s a joy to visit here.

    Comment by Photo Buffet | February 21, 2007

  2. Absolutely!
    I often will shoot without any kind of extenders or tubes.
    A cool little technique to use not only with flowers, but for crawling through grasses and letting the out of focus grasses to act in a way like a soft focus filter.

    Thanks again! :)

    Comment by macroartinnature | February 21, 2007

  3. […] “cramming.” I had used this technique for a number of years before I learned macro photographer Michael Brown coined the phrase “cram-it.” It’s fun, and it takes a bit of practice, so if you’re willing […]

    Pingback by Photo Cascadia Blog | February 8, 2016

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