"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

Continuing This Blog, … Black & White Macros, … Some Photoshop, … And Kids In Nature.

Well, you guys talked me into it!
I will continue this blog, but maybe on a limited basis only.
It will probably amount to a couple of posts per month, and posts that I hope will have some substance to it, … something that maybe one can learn from.
I still have something to say!

© 2006 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
This is a image of some leaves from a Bradford Pear tree. I decided to use this image as a black and white, as it seems we simply do not have enough macro type images in black and white and I have been working on a whole series similar to this one.
I picked up about a dozen or so of these brilliant red leaves that had fallen to the ground and took them inside the house.
I then placed them on top of a old lightbox that gives off some strong backlight, then added some white reflectors on two sides which bounced some lighting into the subject area from the available light coming in from the window.
I took a series of shots with different depth/details/exposures, and giving some different arrangements while shooting.
The images I got were very appealing, but still, I wanted something a bit different from the norm.
So, the select few images that I came up with were then duplicated, and the duplicates were painted over using Studio Artist 3.0 along with a touch of Photoshop CS.
Then I will take the original, take the blurred/painted version, use the Orton method and merge the two in Photoshop, and you see the results. Easy to do!
I have also found myself drawn to using the “diffused glow” in photoshop with the bright white background.
Something like this looks outstanding (in my opinion), if it is somewhat “over-sharpened” and printed not much larger than a 8×10. The oversharpening seems to give it a bit more “punch”, … making it stand out even more.
This is something that everyone could try, to experiment with, to learn from, … and to enjoy.

Again, you just do not see that many macro subjects, whether it be flowers or insects, to be done as black and white. Some macros are simply more visually appealing if done this way, as some colors in the world of macro do not translate very well and especially if you are off with your lighting. Black and white tends to save the day, and again, gives you something different from the norm!
So, … open up your Photoshop or whatever image editing tools you prefer, and see what you can do. You just may make your jaw hit the floor!!

For the past year, and especially since I have begun to work with art buyers and various clients, I have been meaning to get into Photoshop a little deeper and to learn some things that will help me along the way.
This is a old and damaged photograph of my grandmother that my mother scanned to see if I could do anything with it. (I do not think I want to try this again for a long time!!)
But, it did give me a chance to experiment and to try some things that I have never done before.
It took some time to see what worked, and just what techniques did not work well.
Working on this image, and always at 100%, it slowly came together.
Using layers, there was a ton of cloning, dodging & burning, color adjustments, blending, and sometimes using some very dirty words!!! :)
Then again, I learned a awful lot from it and at the same time, making my mom a happy mom!

With macro subjects, and especially when in search of the more artistic macros, there are times where some touch-up work or adjustments will be needed to achieve that particular vision that you had when you created that piece. Plus, if working with buyers/clients, they just may demand certain changes to be made.
Therefore, when you have a chance to play/experiment, … then do it! In the long run, it will benefit you in many ways with your photography.
I personally will do every thing I can to capture nature “as is”, and something that is artistic looking and visually appealing to me.
Then again, there are sometimes when I will really “go for it”!
Where ever your dreams and vision leads you, … just make sure to have fun with it!!

Kids in nature?
A very important subject with me!
I don’t think I could ever write here in this blog and get it across to everyone just how important it is to get kids out in nature.
There are kids that really take to nature, and some that do not.
Those that do not, many times you just may find out that the reason is because they never have really been exposed to it that much, … or maybe none at all.
One thing that I have learned about those young kids that have not been exposed to nature much at all, or seem to not have much interests in it, … then put a digital camera in their hands and watch.
Most of the time, you will see magic happening right before your very eyes!
There is something about a digital camera and nature that will bring about the enthusiasm and wonderment with a young child, and even more so it seems when they can take a shot of something that many do not get to see very often.
When you can, teach a child something about nature, something about a digital camera, then let them go to discover on their own.
Watch them come to you after capturing something that is uniquely different to them, and most importantly, “look into their eyes, and listen to them”.
You will soon discover if the magic has made its mark, and often you will learn something from the child that will help you!

I often will have a “Father & Son” weekend with my sons.
Sometimes all of us together on a trip, and sometimes just one son along with me.
I believe it is important for fathers and their sons to get some time together, with no girls! (Sorry moms!!) :)
It is just a bonding thing that men have, … and I believe it is really beneficial for all involved.
I will often choose a trip for us to take, and sometimes I will let them choose what we are to do.
Sometimes it is a hike, … sometimes it might be something like racing some go-carts. (I taught them to well in racing the carts, … now I can’t beat them!)

This is a image of my youngest son Joseph while we were exploring around Poinsette State Park here in South Carolina.
He was searching along a bridge over a waterfall for some macro subjects and I was downstream shooting.
He looked up, I told him to “hold it”, and took a shot.
Joseph is really into macro photography and is quite good at it. He will have his own blog here soon!
And here is a shot of my oldest son Turner.
Although he is not into photography that much, he does enjoy getting out on hikes.
This shot I took while we were on a 7 mile hike in the mountains.
He walks along, enjoying nature, but put a camera in his hand, and he begins to light up a bit while exploring.
This shot was taken right after he tried to get a shot of a red salamander along side this fallen tree.
He was laughing at himself the whole time while trying to get a shot with the older Canon G3.
He got a couple of good ones, got a bit dirty, … but I did see some magic happening that day within him!
So gang, … I guess that is all I will write for now and will make a post or two per month.
I do hope that every time I write something, that it just may benefit someone in some fashion and help them along their way in our world of photography.

Everyone take good care of yourselves, … and have fun shooting!

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

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December 26, 2006 - Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, dragonflies, dragonfly, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, gems, hemerocallis, hiking, horticulture, insects, landscapes, lapidary, life, macro, Macro Photographer, minerals, nature, Nature Photographer, odonata, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, rock hound, rocks, slabs, Wildlife | , , , , ,

9 Comments

  1. I’m so glad you will continue to post your inspiring images from time to time. You have done an excellent job on retouching the old photograph.

    Comment by Roberta | December 27, 2006

  2. Hi there Mike – great to see another post! Love what you did to the old photo, I have also been trying the same thing…your result was pretty amazing!

    Also. that B&W macro turned out nice – look forward to maybe seeing more?

    Hope you a great Christmas :)

    Comment by david kleinert | December 28, 2006

  3. Glad to read that you will be continuing, as I’ve only just stumbled upon your blog in the last few days.

    Comment by LauraHinNJ | December 29, 2006

  4. So glad to see you’re back. I learn a lot every time I visit.

    Your b/w leaves photo almost looks inverted with a touch of diffusion. Nice results!

    Comment by MacroMoments | December 30, 2006

  5. Happy New Year Mike. Hope 2007 is really good to you and your family. Also very happy you’re back and looking forward to some more excellent lessons.

    Comment by markarian | January 2, 2007

  6. So glad you’re going to keep it going. You certainly DO have something to say.

    Comment by Cool Daddio | January 4, 2007

  7. I’m really happy you’ve changed your mind and will continue to post on your blog, even if less frequently! You are a unique nature photographer and your insights are always useful.

    Happy new year!

    Philippe–>

    Comment by Philippe Carrier | January 4, 2007

  8. Great to hear you’ll be continuing. Been following this site for some time now and you have always amazed me by showing nature from such a interesting perspective.

    Comment by Matthijs | January 5, 2007

  9. Thanks again gang!

    There were some posts that did not transfer over to this new blog when I did the mass transfer through WordPress, and will be moving those few posts back over here soon.
    Then I will be posting some new stuff!

    Comment by macroartinnature | January 5, 2007


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