"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.

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!


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


  1. I agree completely. There is some really amazing stuff being done with software these days. I’m curious as to whether or not you’ve done any HDR, or even heard of it, for that matter. A lot of people hate it because there are many who abuse it, thinking it can make up for their poor composition skills, etc. I did an HDR photo recently that I thought turned out nicely. I’d like you to take a look at it and see what you think, since I trust your photographic judgement. :) Check it out here:


    Comment by An Enlightened Fellow | May 30, 2006

  2. couldn’t agree more… I’ve found myself experimenting quite a bit lately… instead of just trying to produce a “good” image. Lot’s of fun and it does make you think differently as you’re shooting.

    Comment by alan | May 30, 2006

  3. Michael, you have such great skill with Photoshop. Your skills only enhance what is already a good photo. Nothing wrong with that, they were doing it in the darkroom for years. I’ve got to get me a full version of PS. Elements has done the job for me for a couple of years, but now that I see the power of the full version, I want more. :-)

    Comment by Paul | May 30, 2006

  4. Thanks guys!

    Fellow, … HDR is a fantastic way of pushing that envelope, and I love it!
    Unfortunately, and from what I can remember, I can only work with HDR with Photoshop CS2, and I am only using PS CS right now. Did not see a real need as of yet to upgrade to CS2, so I am stuck with that for the moment.
    Then, with some of the other software available in order to try HDR requires OSX Panther, and I am still on Jaguar since I did not see a need for a upgrade there neither.
    But, I just may give it a try here soon with someone who teaches Photoshop here at USC to see what all the fuss is about! :)
    I like the image you posted over at Flickr.
    It almost has a textured feel to it with its depth that you achieved, and fabulous colors. Even the blacks seemed rich enough on this calibrated monitor. Hey, … I like it!!

    Alan, .. it can really work for you both ways actually.
    Sometimes while shooting, you suddenly will see something through your lens that will do well as a mixed media type painting, and shoot for that.
    Then one day you may be working on a mixed media piece, and think to yourself “wow, .. wonder if I can do that in camera?”
    Really keeps those braincells churning! :)

    Thanks Paul,
    Yes, when I made the jump from Elements to a full PS version, … I pretty much slapped myself in the face! LoL!
    Much more powerful tools and a more awesome since of creativity overcame me as soon as I got into it more in depth.
    Can’t you get a cheaper upgrade to PS from Elements, … I think? I don’t know actually. Something to look into.

    Anyway, let me go put some lotion on this sunburned neck of mine!
    What a shooting day today!! :)

    Take care guys, and again, … many thanks!

    Comment by MBrown | May 30, 2006

  5. I’ve been learning CS2 over the past month and I can’t believe what it can do. So far I’m mostly using it to make minor adjustments to my photos, but I will try your recommendation of getting a bit more artsy.

    Comment by Timmybomb | May 31, 2006

  6. beautiful photos! and interesting that you say a wacom tablet is a must. maybe it’s time i invested in one.

    Comment by caitriona | May 31, 2006

  7. Michael, I love the photo of the flower with the “sun” beating down on it. Just curious as to which Wacom tablet you use?

    Great work. I love exploring your sight.

    Comment by MacroMoments | May 31, 2006

  8. Michael, thanks for the suggestion. It does appear that Adobe offers and upgrade path for Elements->CS2. It saves me about $70, which is about what I spent on Elements. Which makes the total cost, $499.00.

    Comment by Paul | May 31, 2006

  9. Beautiful!

    Comment by Tasha | June 3, 2006

  10. Both of these are absolutely stunning, Michael!

    Comment by Judith Polakoff | June 5, 2006

  11. Love the blue tone on the top one!!

    Comment by Jill | June 10, 2006

  12. The moonlit picture is beautiful like a fairytale.

    Comment by therese | October 25, 2006

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