"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

“Moonlit Masquerade”

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

Sometimes I think that one of the most creative tools to use for my photography is not what I am shooting with at the time, or what is in my vest or camera bag, but in the comfort of my home. That chair right in front of my screen and using mixed media many times will result in how well I shoot out in the field the next time that I venture out.
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I do a lot of mixed media type images.
Rendering a totally different creation from the original and using various software that is now available often will open my eyes of what I could have done out in the field, and many times, will show me a whole bunch of diffrent options that I can try out the next time I am shooting.
It is something that I highly recommend for everyone!

This above is a simple image (Moonlit Masquerade – larger image) and composite that I whipped up in a matter of minutes today in Photoshop CS.
More importantly, I can sit here and look or stare at it, conjuring up some ideas and experiments for the next day of shooting.
I will often ask myself, “how can I do something like this out in the field?”
I might come up with some type of attempt at it, and I just might fail miserably, but I usually will learn a valuable lesson from it and use it to my advantage the next time I make that same attempt.
Working in mixed media for me is simply a excercise I use for the brain. It allows me to think, to dream, to allow all of those possibilities to flow freely.

And then again, working in mixed media gives me another avenue when not in the field.
It may give me the chance to play in oils, watercolors, inks, etc., and simply to learn something different while at the computer.
Eye coordination, contrasting colors, textures with various brushes, … just so many things one can learn from and to have fun with in mixed media.

The image above is a composite of a foliage image that I was experimenting with, and a dragonfly image that my son shot the other day.
Take a look at his image of a “Calico Pennant Dragonfly, and you can see the transformation of this dragonfly to the one above. (With his permission to use it)
Now, … what can I do to achieve this out in the field maybe?

© 2004 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.


This is a very simple to do image that I took into Photoshop CS, and then added something like the sun in the background area. This idea from simply playing around in mixed media allowed me to figure out how I wanted to achieve this same look while out in the field. Just one week later, the results were pretty darn pleasing!
Mixed media allowed me to see something different, … then I went out in the field to create it.

The software that I use today in most of my mixed media creations are Photoshop CS, Painter IX, Studio Artist 3.0, and Vue Infinity 5 – (vue d’esprit), and all using the Wacom tablet, which is a must for detailed creations in mixed media or for serious touch ups with your photographs.

So, when you have some time on your hands, grab you some software, … “any software”, … and get started.
Just play, experiment, have fun, and learn from it.
Get yourself a glass of wine too. Certainly want hurt!!

Take care gang!

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May 30, 2006 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, dragonfly, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hiking, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife | 12 Comments

“Lynx Spider” – With Macro Photography, … Always Be Ready For The Unexpected!

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

Personally, I think that having a heightened sense while shooting macro is a plus. Having a heightened sense in any style/type of photography is a huge plus, but it seems to be needed more so in the world of macro. I always seem to be running across those “unexpected moments”, and sometimes I seem to know that it is about to happen beforehand, as it did with this Lynx spider.

I was shooting some abstracts, cramming my lens down inside a daylily when I noticed a very tiny speck that looked like it was sitting on the pistil of the flower, deep within the throat area.
I thought that it was a small speck of pollen, but noticed a little hair like structure behind that speck.
I thought that it might be the very tip end of a spider’s leg that was barely showing.
I thought that if I moved my finger on the outside of the flower causing a bit of a shadow, and if in fact it was a spider that was hiding from me, it might make the spider a bit wary of that shadow and to move up into the frame and away from that shadow.
I had the camera on the tripod, the small area already framed and focused, moved my finger along side the flower, the spider moved up into the frame, … and bingo!
A slight readjustment with my focusing, two more shots, and this little guy was off deep into the flower.

It does not always work out like this, but if you can just get a feel for how nature will react to certain things, and be ready for the unexpected, … good things will happen for you!

Canon 100mm macro & 2x teleconverter
Tripod, macro slider, wimberly plamp, reflector
1/200 sec. @ f2.8
ISO 400

The older brother is visiting from Ireland, and I’m taking them all to the zoo for a bit of fun today so I’m outta here! :)

Everyone take care,
Michael

May 26, 2006 Posted by | art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, Digital, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hemerocallis, hiking, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop | , , , , , | 11 Comments

Adding Space To A Image In Photoshop Using The “Free Transform” Tool

Ever wished that you had just a touch more room on the side, or maybe even the top of a image but you just did not know what you could do about it?
The “Free Transform” tool in Photoshop could do the trick for you, helping you to possibly save a few images that you just might normally trash.
Here is just two examples of what you can do with portraits, nature images, product images, etc., and some of the steps needed to transform and save some of your images.

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

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“Free Transforming” in Photoshop is simply taking a image that you need some additional room, and transforming or adding some space to the top or sides of the image. It is sort of like a quick clone in Photoshop.
This works very well if you have a fairly smooth, clean area that does not show much detail and/or features. I am using this image of a flower with some slightly blurred details in the background just to show you how it can work with some hint of blurred features/details.
The last example used is of a insect, one that had a smooth, clean background for its expansion.

Now, select your image.

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In Photoshop, (I use Photoshop CS), go to “Image” and down to “Canvas Size”.
Select the width, then add the size you want in inches or pixels.
Click on your anchor point, directing which side the canvas addition will move to.
Click OK.

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When you click OK, you will see the additional canvas that you added appear to the right side of the image.

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In your toolbar area, (left side), select the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” that should be at the top.
Select a area of your image with the Marquee tool, and making sure you do not select any of the main subject, or an area with lots of details. Select a area that is clean.
On your keyboard, use “control – T” while clicking inside of your marquee selection.
A box will appear, and you move down to “Free Transform”. Click on that.
Small boxes will appear on the lines of your marquee selection. Grab one and pull/drag it in the direction that you would like to transform that area to.
Double click inside the transformed area. After that, you may need to click one time outside of your selected/transformed area.

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Here you can see how easy you can extend a image, and how it can stretch your image and how it effects a background with hints of details in the background.

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

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This next image is one with a much smoother, cleaner background. With a image such as this one, you could add lots of space on the right side, making this image into an extreme pano, … if one would wish to do so that is!
This one is a simple example, … and so easy to do.

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

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

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So, if you ever find yourself wishing that the petal was not so close to the edge and need more room, or you nearly cut your childs ear off and need some additional room on the side to make the image more pleasing to look at, … this can really help!

Hope this Photoshop tip works for you, and maybe it can help save some of those images that might need just a wee bit of help!

Take care gang!

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

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May 22, 2006 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife, wordpress | , , , , , | 20 Comments

Knocking On Heaven’s Door – “In Their World” Series

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

He still struggles to survive, to keep moving on, yet his end is near.
Broken, and with only subtle movements left in his body, he is knocking on heaven’s door.
The flower petal is his final resting spot, surrounded by stamen arms that holds him gently, … his death bed.
Sunlight breaks the trees, giving the inside of the flower a steady stream of light.
The light is now brighter.
The little one no longer moves.
The door has opened for him.


I only took one shot, as I felt that this was all that was needed to tell the final story of a little one who once lived inside a mysterious and magical world.

*From my “In Their World” series.

Michael Brown – Photographer

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

May 18, 2006 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Macro Abstract

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

Have been trying to keep up with this blog, and to go down the list and visit about 10 other blogs per day while doing a million other things. Still, I am sort of managing in keeping up with it!

This is a abstract macro type shot that I took yesterday, and I am trying to write up a article on how I approach abstracts in the world of macro, and maybe our Sr. Editor over at NSN can use it, … plus I am working on a idea or two that may be something to persue farther with the newspaper.

This is a abstract shot deep within the throat of a daylily flower right where the pistil and stamens emerge from the throat. I have many more similar to this, and will get to uploading them to my portfolio later.
They are fun and easy to do!


Everyone take care, and we will see you next week sometime!

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May 12, 2006 Posted by | abstract, art, composition, Digital, flora, flowers, horticulture, macro, nature, outdoors, Photo Blog, photography | 14 Comments

“Control The Background In Your Photography”

The images below can be seen larger by clicking on the links at the end of this piece.

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

Well yes, it is a bit repetitive on my part but is something that I will emphasize over and over again. You simply got to learn to take control of your backgrounds in your photography.
It is something that is so important, and no matter what type or style of photography you are interested in, most of those style types seem to require a certain amount of control in order to achieve the type of shot you want and to make your subject to stand out even more.
Do you shoot portraits? Do you do more of a candid/street style of photography?
Do you do weddings? Pet photography?
Wildlife & nature photography?
No matter what you shoot, eventually you will need to learn how to control certain elements in that background. The camera/lens does not do it for you. You do it!
You might want totally blurred backgrounds, maybe a background with soft but noticeable details, or a highly detailed background.
Figure out what you want and just how to get it! Take the helm!!


Personally, I enjoy shooting wide open and controling the background from there. I like a soft background, but many times I will try as much as I possibly can to use that background almost as if it is a subject on its own. A seperate subject from the main subject, which can create a visual feast for the viewer, and to give the image a overall impact that some images may lack at times.
I will work a image with the background as a total blur at first, then make lens adjustments or camera to subject movements in order to get the right depth and feel that I want, and maybe to get more of that detail in there. Just about all of your subjects are different, and you may have to play and to experiment a good bit to get a feel for what you like and/or dislike.



Look for repeating shapes/patterns which can be a pleasing blur with hints of details, or a single element, which when thrown out of focus can easily become a subject on its own. Make up your mind this season that this is indeed the season for change.
You will take that next step in your photography, and have a blast doing it! You will create something unique this season and learn from it.

You will reach that goal, and you will be happy at the end.
Now, ….. go out and do it!

“Macro Art In Nature”

May 10, 2006 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hiking, horticulture, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop | , , , , , | 13 Comments

Assassin Bug Nymph – (Pristhesancus plagipennis) – “In Their World” Series

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

Really love these little guys in their nymph stage.
It was very cloudy and dark yesterday morning at the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens, a bit windy, … a general pain for shooting actually!
I found a area where some of the small assassin bug nymphs were hanging out, they were not very active at the time, so I set up as best as I could in some cramped quarters.
I took some shots with and without flash, and was more pleased with the look of the natural lighting, but I had to bump the ISO up quite a bit to suit the conditions that I had.
Still, as much as I hate to use flash on insects, I needed a “ever so slight” bump in light to help fill in some areas, so I ran the cord from the camera to the off camera 420EX flash, and shot through a diffuser held about 3 feet behind the camera and above it.
It helped to give just the right touch of light. Without it, this would have looked somewhat flat in appearance.

Assassin Bug Nymph – “Pristhesancus plagipennis”

As I have mentioned in the past, I like the less documentary type images when it comes to any type of insect.
I like that “in their world” feel.
I do sometimes wonder as I view and photograph them, if they are looking around their world not only for a meal, not only for a mate, not only looking for any kind of danger, but if they sometimes are looking at the beautiful world that they live in, … taking it all in?
I wonder!

Canon 100mm macro & 2x teleconverter
Tripod, macro slider, reflector, Canon 420EX flash
1/60 sec. @ f8
ISO 800

Thanks for looking gang!

May 9, 2006 Posted by | canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flowers, hiking, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife | , , , , , | 8 Comments

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