"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

“A Day Of Discovering The Art In Macro.”

I already knew that a day of finding the art in nature and in macro was going to be a rough ride.
The forecast for the day was sunny skies, a high of 97 degrees, and the humidity levels were predicted to be around umpteen eleventy-hundred percent! MISERABLE!!
Still, I knew that there is always art to be found in a day of macro shooting.
It is always there. It is up to me to find it, and to create from what I find.

I started the morning trying to add some imagery to my “In Their World” series.
But on this day, even the insects must have been in hiding and trying to stay away from the heat and humidity.
Dragonflies, assassin bugs, … and that was pretty much all that I was able to find.
I started on the edge of the pond and in some shade, when this Halloween Pennant decided to venture into the shaded area.
I spotted it while looking through the viewfinder and the lens pointed right through a narrow line of thin grass.
The pond waters were fairly bright to the right, so I quickly added a polarizer to the lens to help tone down the reflections and to enrich the colors.
I knew that the details were not to be as crisp as many would prefer, but this is exactly what I wanted for my series.
I shot about a half dozen images, and the dragonfly was off.
I was pleased with it, as it gave the feel of a dragonfly that was in his elements and surveying the world around him, in his world, … “In Their World”.
At that moment in the day, I had found my first piece of art in the world of nature, and in the world of macro.

© 2008 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“In Their World” Series
“Halloween Pennant” – Dragonfly

Well, it seems that the dragonflies and assassin bugs were all on the prowl in the very bright and sunny areas around the pond. There were hundreds of them!
The assassin bugs were pretty much hugging the ground or clinging only a inch or two above the waters on thin blades of grass, so I ruled them out simply because I was already hot and very sweaty, and did not feel like laying on the ground. So, I concentrated on the dragonflies.
There were numerous types of dragons.
The Halloween Pennants, Widow Skimmers, Slaty Skimmers, Banded Pennants, Red Saddlebags, all were flying about, but the heat really had them abuzz with their various little rituals. Only the Halloween Pennant would actually take a break and sit still to where I could play a little bit.

I have always enjoyed shooting around waters where I could get at near the water’s level, and to have various grasses and lily pads floating within those waters which would give me a chance to play with depth in a image.
Of course, I love shooting early or late in the day near those waters, but there are times when shooting virtually at high noon gives you some options to play and to see the light and colors like you normally would not see if shooting early or late in the day.
With this image below, if shooting early or even late in the day, the waters would have been quite a bit darker because of the length of the shadows underneath the lily pads.
Shooting at high noon, the dark blue shadows pretty much remain right under the lily pad, opening up other areas of the water with lighter shades and color tones.
At times, and with a shallow depth of field, you can easily get a more splattered or blurred painted look.
Now this would be a good time to try and use your polarizer to help in toning down the tops of those lily pads, and some areas of the waters. Being almost on the same level as the water seems to work well while using the polarizer than it does when sitting or standing somewhat higher than the water level.
This shot is hand held, as I had plenty of light and calm conditions to get the dragonfly detail along with a playful type of background.

© 2008 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Halloween Pennant” – Dragonfly

The heat started to get to me.
I went back to the car, grabbed some Gatorade, … and chilled for about a half hour.
I decided that was it for the day as far as getting back into any sun.
So, I went over to the area between the pond and the flower beds and in some shade.
I sat, I noticed the light, I see potential compositions, I change lenses, and then I create.
Using the tripod and the zoom lens coupled with the polarizer, and shooting through existing flowers and foliage, I found this image below. I also backed off on the focus just a little bit.

© 2008 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Purple Coneflowers”

It did not take long for me to move over to one of my favorite flowers to photograph, one which has always given me something to keep in my files.
Every season I see many macro type images of the pistil and stamens within the daylily, (hemerocallis), that are very nice. But the one thing I notice that is often missing from those types of images, is that often the “grace” of the pistil and/or stamens are lacking. I often recommend to people who ask about photographing flowers, is to find the grace within that flower that you choose to photograph, to concentrate on that first and its composition, then play with your light, color, and depth.
When shooting daylilies, and whether you want tack sharp details or something soft, look at the graceful lines and elegance within that flower first, … and usually the rest will fall into place.
With the image below, it contains something that usually works very well in tying it all together.
The use of depth, … and the cradle method.
You have the pistil and stamens being cradled somewhat by the throat.
Then the throat itself is being cradled by the blurred pinkish rose color petal in the foreground.
Well, … it has always seemed to work for me! : )

© 2008 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Daylily” – Hemerocallis

And then, … right when my legs are about to give out and I feel that the heat is really starting to do me in, and right when I am fixing to separate the Canon from the Gitzo, I see this lone blade of grass or wildflower right in the pathway between the pond and the flower beds.
It was getting late, the glow of the thin grassy area behind this lone blade of grass was so appealing, … so I took a few more moments.

© 2008 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

I arrive home at 7:30pm, I shower, I crash onto the bed.
I awaken, and it is now 4:15am the next morning.
I never heard the wife, … my sons, … nor my dog.
I get up, and I am hungry.
I grab a tall glass of cold milk, and a pop tart.
I go to the back porch to sit outside and get some fresh air.
I see a owl on the post out in the garden, something that I have not seen since January.
I know, that I had a wonderful day, and looking forward to what is right around the next corner.

Everyone take care, and thanks for visiting.
Michael Brown

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

July 2, 2008 - Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, Digital, dragonflies, dragonfly, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hiking, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, odonata, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife | , , , , ,


  1. Fantastic Work as usual. I don’t know how you do it, heat or not.
    Thanks for the life lesson. With such a big world, you always show just how important it is to take your time and focus in on the details.

    I too am looking forward to what you’ll be posting around the corner.

    Comment by Richard H | July 2, 2008 | Reply

  2. Great post Michael. I hate the heat as well, and admire your persistence to push through it and end up with a nice set of photos. It is amazing how the environment or stress can affect our ability to see.

    Comment by Mark | July 3, 2008 | Reply

  3. Fabulous photos and description of your day! Thank you for sharing–it helps motivate me to look even closer.

    Comment by Anita Bower | July 3, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks gang!

    Hey Mark, … about the only thing that was really messing with my vision on this day was the sweat.
    It was in my eyes, then on my glasses, then in my eyes again, then on the viewfinder.
    Jesus!! :)

    Thanks again everyone,

    Comment by macroartinnature | July 3, 2008 | Reply

  5. realy nice shot….do you retouch the photo…?
    it’s great natural….

    Comment by anxggxun | July 17, 2008 | Reply

  6. Anxggxun, nothing more than some curves/contrast adjustments were used.

    Thanks again everyone,

    Comment by macroartinnature | July 21, 2008 | Reply

  7. Hi Michael,

    Was shown this website by a friend of mine. I love these images and was sent this as my friend felt a close resemblance of my style to yours.

    Great work and I am striving hard to achieve your quality.


    Comment by Colin Tan | August 4, 2008 | Reply

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