"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

The “Stick Drill” – Compositions & Funky Crops

© 2005 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.



When I am in need of a tune up, something to get those braincells churning and operating like they should before I go out shooting, many times I will simply go outside and do my “stick drill”.
This is nothing more than getting in a area where there are a lot of sticks of varying shapes and sizes, putting my eye up to the viewfinder, and start to follow some of the sticks with my eyes and while moving the camera/lens.

© 2005 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

“Stick & Leaf – Abstract”


I will often look at how those sticks will become compositions, how they move in and out of the frame, how the depth is working, the light, … all comes into play with my “stick drill”.
Now many times, while this is nothing more than a drill of mine that I do just to get my mind going in the right direction, sometimes I am really getting into it and then soon discover some views that are a bit different, … then I starting shooting.
I do love some of those “funky crops”, and often ask myself how would most photographers shoot this? When I have what I think is the answer to that question, then I will shoot the exact opposite. I just like being different!

© 2005 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

“Spent Blades Of Grass”


So anyway, if you ever find yourself simply wanting to get that mind set for a day of creativity, … give yourself 10 minutes with some sticks. Find those interesting lines, compositions, depths, textures, … and while you are just practicing a bit, you may find some fun images to play with.
Have fun creating gang!


February 8, 2006 - Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hiking, horticulture, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography | , , , , ,


  1. Woohoo! I’m the first to comment!
    Anyway :) These are so striking! To me the simplest images are the most powerful, the most moving. My fave is the last one. Absolutely stunning the way you took some plain ole sticks and captured them so artistically.
    Did you find these as is or did you arrange them to your liking, for instance the second one.
    After reading this I want to do a “stick drill”! Maybe I’ll post my results on my blog…

    Comment by lotus | February 8, 2006

  2. Hi girl!

    Nope, these are pretty much they way that I found them.
    The last one you mentioned was pushed over at a odd position from the garden tractor, but the rest were as I found them.

    Just play, have fun, relax, … and create something different than you have in the past.
    Hey, ….. it’s good for the heart too!! :)

    Comment by MBrown | February 8, 2006

  3. Nice and calm colours and compositions (especially the last one).I really like your idea about the “stick drill”. I´ll try it when the snow will disappear (if it ever does!).

    Comment by markisen | February 8, 2006

  4. Hi michael,
    These photos are really talking to me, specially the last one. They are full of words.
    It seems we have some common points buddy, because I am used to practice with leaves and sticks to improve (or at least keep) my sense of creativity. Thanks for sharing the idea, now I feel that I am in a right track.

    Comment by Arash Sharifi | February 8, 2006

  5. What I love about this blog is all the lessons that I can try the next time I’m out with the camera. Thanks!

    Comment by Sparky Lightbulb | February 8, 2006

  6. Sticks. Hmmm. I must try that. A few of us at work have started a little photo club (trying to get some creativity happening). We are picking a word every two weeks and we must photograph something that portrays the definition of the chosen word. It’s fun!

    Comment by Plankton, Evil Genius | February 8, 2006

  7. More elegant images of simple things transformed.

    Comment by John | February 9, 2006

  8. Excellent advice.

    Comment by Donna | February 9, 2006

  9. These are simple images yet inspiring – I love them! cheers

    Comment by David Kleinert | February 9, 2006

  10. I love to shoot sticks, leaves, tree branches.
    Last fall, I tried to follow ladybugs on a branch with my camera as they wove themselves under, over and through yellow and orange leaves. This was all good until I realized the tree was swarmed with ladybugs and I had them dropping on my head the whole time I was shooting. In the future, I’ll stick with moving myself during explorations, and stay away from the crawling critters.

    Comment by solaria | February 9, 2006

  11. Great Stuff!! Love the DOF!!

    Comment by Rick Lee | February 9, 2006

  12. Thanks for the great advice Mike!
    I did my first “stick drill” this morning after a light dust of snow. I feel better.

    Comment by Joy | February 9, 2006

  13. I like sticks! At this time of year there’s not much else around here anyway.
    Good to see you back Mike.

    Comment by Markarian | February 9, 2006

  14. hi there mbrown, more than the images, the desire to see potential and the ability to make the mundane come alive stands out to speak the hidden meanings of perception.

    beautifull … thank you !

    cheers !

    Comment by wildpic | February 9, 2006

  15. Hi Micheal..
    these are great… i have a few stick pics as well tho i just never find anything as pretty as this… my fave of the 3 is the 2nd one.. it some how reminds me of home.. dead prongs from palm trees…lol
    they are all great tho.. i finally have enuff $$$ to get a 2X teleconverter (yippeee) cause i finally got that cheque for that photo i sold :)

    Comment by Leisa | February 10, 2006

  16. Thanks everyone!

    Mark, … hope that snow gets out of the way for you soon buddy!

    Arash, you have always been on the right track! Keep’em coming!!

    Sparky, glad to be able to help another individual out whenever I can, and hopefully give them some ideas that they can use.

    Plankton, … sounds like you have a cool place to work at if a bunch of you are into the same thing, … photography!

    Solaria, ……….. shampoo! : )

    Leisa, now put that teleconverter to good use and let’s see what you have come up with. And, when you have some time, tell me about the pic you sold.
    Congrats on that one!! : )

    Again to everyone, … many thanks!

    Comment by MBrown | February 10, 2006

  17. The last one is stunning! I need to take more macros.

    Comment by jason | February 10, 2006

  18. I like them all but these last two are espesially deep and perfect. Lots of zen feelings here, harmony, calm, I love those images.

    You really have a gift.–>

    Comment by Brock | February 15, 2006

  19. […] I felt that I needed to warm up a bit to get my thoughts into place, so I decided to run through my “stick drill” that I sometimes use before shooting. This is a “Japanese Red Maple” tree that grows […]

    Pingback by Playful Compositions & Light In Photography « “Macro Art In Nature” | January 14, 2007

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