"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

James H. Brown Sr. April 11, 1924 – Feb. 25, 2011.

James H. Brown Sr., 86 years old, married to Betty for 63 years, father of 3  sons, grandfather of 5, great grandfather of 2, … my dad, died on Feb. 25, 2011.
He was buried at Fort Jackson National Cemetery.
A “NAVY” guy!

My dad once told to me that he liked this photo that you see above.
He said, “I wonder what it would be like to fly like a dragonfly and sit around a pond?”
It just so happens that my father-in-law who is a retired Rev., carried out the funeral service for the family and had this story to tell during the service.
It seemed so fitting!

The story goes something like this:

A large family of dragonfly nymphs were living in the waters of a beautiful pond, just a foot or so below the water’s surface.
Over time, members of the dragonfly family noticed that some of its family members were disappearing.
Some family members were seen moving towards the surface of the pond, moving to the top portion of the water and into the sunlight, where they vanished, never returning and telling the rest of the family what they had seen, or experienced.
The remaining dragonfly family members were concerned, and decided among themselves that if anyone should happen to go to the other side of the water’s surface, that they would try and return to tell the others about what was there, … what they had seen.

Just a few days later, one little dragonfly nymph had the urge to move upwards, to the surface, to the beautiful light above.
He swam up, breaking the surface waters, then climbed up a narrow strand of grass.
There he soon had wings, and the urge to fly began.
He happily flew around this new world that was full of amazing things he had never seen before.
Then he remembered that he was suppose to return and tell the rest of his family what he had seen, … what he had experienced.
He tried to get back below the water’s surface, but he could not.
He tried over and over again, … but never once could he break below the surface, to return to his family and the world that he knew.
So, … he flew away, never seeing his family again as he once knew them.
He never forgot his cherished family and the love he had for them, … but he was in his place now.
It was a glorious place to be!

This is where I see my dad now. A glorious place.

The night before he died, my youngest son Joseph and I went to the hospital to see him.
He was very talkative, but for the past three days no one could understand a thing he was saying because of the mask he was wearing and the sound of oxygen being forced into his mouth/nose. He had two air embolisms within his lungs and they were trying to get them to move into a filter that was placed within just a day earlier.

We stayed for about 90 minutes.
Little did we know that Joseph and I would be the last to see him alive.
Joseph told him good bye, then I leaned over and kissed him on his head, telling him in his ear that we were leaving and would see him the following day.
I then told him, “I love you daddy”.
Some way, some how, my daddy said very clearly to me, “I love you too son”. Joseph heard it as well.

He somehow had managed to say it loud and clear to me.
I believe now that he knew.
I believe that was the way it was suppose to be.
I believe that was the way God planned it.
I take great comfort knowing that those were the last words he ever spoke to me, … and I heard it.

So daddy, … your sons lifted a toast of old Irish whiskey to you.
We pray that heaven has Grits and RedEye Gravy, good guitars, country music, and that God will allow you to fly with the angels wearing your Zoot Suit!

I love you daddy!

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March 11, 2011 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, designer, Digital, dragonflies, dragonfly, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, odonata, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife | 22 Comments

When It Rains, ….. *** (UPDATE)

*** The police found the car about 3 miles from our home around 3:00pm today.
It was a bit dirty, a full tank of gas was gone, smelled of pot inside, a man’s shirt left inside, the license tag had been replaced with a dealer’s tag, and a small kids school backpack left in the back. No damage, and the police say that they know who it is. Now, … just finding him!

**********

As that saying goes, “When It Rains, … It Pours”.

Yesterday morning, I go outside to crank mine and my wife’s car up to let them warm up a bit in this cold weather we have been having.
I come back inside, grab some things to get ready to leave, and in less than 5 minutes time, my wife’s new SUV is gone.
DAMN!
Yep, … somebody stole it right from our driveway, right from under our nose!

If anyone out there who has been having some good luck, and has some left over, … could you please send me some?
You can FedEx it if you like, and I will gladly pay for it too!

Seriously though, … seems like I couldn’t buy any breaks if I had all the money in the world.
From my truck getting totaled by a drunk driver 2 years ago, the hot water heater causing a huge mess, a hiking/shooting trip in Georgia that resulted in me getting a couple of teeth knocked out, a lawn mower that blew up, the loss of huge trees on our property from two different storms, a sink hole on our property, ….. I truly can’t catch a break.

Hopefully I will post something again one day. Maybe something that will inspire both you, ….. and me! God knows I need some quick inspiration.
Right now, it is pretty tough to write anything at all, … other than a bunch of curse words! :)

Hope that everyone had a great New Year, and that 2010 will be the best ever.
I’ll come around one of these days, ….. and soon!

Michael

January 13, 2010 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, 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 | , , , , , | 13 Comments

“The Watcher”

My youngest son and I had decided the day before to get up early and head out to the Congaree Swamp National Park.
The weather forecast called for cloudy weather, which was perfect for what I had in mind.
But, … not a cloud in the sky from the moment we got up and on to sundown.
A “blue sky” day for sure!

We headed for a area where I new there would be plenty of shade, shade produced by the largest remnants of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent. State and national tree records are held in this national park!
Before leaving the boardwalk and getting onto the backwoods trail where I wanted to photograph some reflections of fall colors in the tea colored waters, I decided to create some up close abstracts from the leaves that were along side the boardwalk.

Down on my stomach, head and camera along with the Lensbaby only about a foot away from the oily waters, I started to compose.
The very first view that I had, I noticed something in the middle of the frame which seemed a bit odd.
It looked like a figure, a person, … someone who was standing in the dark and oily waters, … watching me.

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

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I kept thinking about that very first image of the day, and was anxious to see that image on my screen when I got home.
Here is a part of the image cropped and enlarged.

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Looking at the original on the screen, I could see the area that possibly could look like a face.
Then I cropped and enlarged the area even more.
Whoa!

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On this day, I had certain ideas in mind for images I wanted for my files.
On this day, every where that I turned, there was something that I had never experienced before in this swamp.
On this day, it turned out that it was the best creative day I’ve ever had in this swamp.
On this day, … I could not help but to wonder, …… what was leading me to these intriguing spots?
What was telling me on this day to abandon all that I knew?

Only moments after this image was created, the waters of the swamp had slowly moved bits and pieces around to where this image looked drastically different, … and that figure in the waters of the swamp, was now gone.

Maybe the Watcher wanted to move on, urging my son and I to follow.

Michael

Michael Brown – Photographer

“Macro Art In Nature”

November 9, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, 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 | , , , , , | 11 Comments

Most Approachable Dragonflies.

Oh, I think that those who often photograph dragonflies all have their favorites, but I sometimes wonder if there is a sure fire answer to which is the most approachable of all.
For me, my vote goes to the “Halloween Pennant” dragonfly.
So many times I have been out in search of something that grabs me, and if there are dragonflies in the area, and the Halloween Pennant is in the mix, the HP will always steal the show!
I would think that existing conditions would play a big roll in why a certain dragonfly might be more approachable, such as the heat, humidity, light, food supply, water, vegetation, and more.
I was sitting in an area along side a pond here in South Carolina, and I counted 8 different types/kinds of dragonflies.
The dashers were skittish, the darners kept their distance, the skimmers acted if there was no tomorrow, … but the pennants would come right up to me, ….. and sit!
With this image below, I had so much time to create and to play.
I counted 11 Halloween Pennant dragonflies no more than 10ft from me, allowing me a whole lot of freedom.
I got up close images, and some of the more landscape type macro images that I enjoy capturing.
With the dragonfly shown here, I was allowed to shoot using two different lenses, allowed to add a flash to the camera then some without a flash, allowed to add a polarizer, allowed to remove the polarizer and add a Canon 500D diopter, allowed to use natural light then to add some light from a reflector for a comparison, … all with this Halloween Pennant never flying off from its perch, … not even once!

I wonder if something he ate put him in to some type of coma?

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

Michael Brown – Photographer

“Macro Art In Nature”

August 19, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, 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 | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Moments Of “Zen” In Macro.

And those moments of pure “Zen” were pretty much experienced the past 4 days while shooting down along the coastline of South Carolina.

I have been constantly shooting subjects for my “In Their World” series, searching for those images that are in line with my feelings on how I choose to see their world, and maybe opening up the thought process for the viewer of those images in terms of thinking for themselves about how those smallest of creatures view their own world.
But I have discovered that it is hard for me to write about how I look at their world, how I see and observe their world, what roots I have established in the past and the hopeful outcome of future growth coming from those roots.
It is hard for me to explain it, … it truly is!
Maybe I have arrived to a point to where the images I create in this series will “say it all for me”.
I have asked myself many times already, “Can this series of images tell a story on its own?”
Am I thinking way to much? : )

I spent 4 days on the coast with total focus on creating images for this particular series.
There were many of those “Zen” moments while shooting.
There was total happiness with what I was doing, and everything seemed to come easy for me.
Even the dragonflies, lizards, crabs, butterflies, … all seemed to be at ease.
The waters within the marsh seemed to caress everything in the area, and it almost seemed that everywhere I looked, the waters were coming to me.
It was like a family gathering, and I was not overlooking anything.
Everything, even with my way of thinking, seemed so simple.

Then, … I remembered this Japanese proverb.

“The reverse side also has a reverse side”

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

“Grok”
“In Their World” – Series

With this image, I will not explain anything.
One who has even the most limited of knowledge in photography should easily be able to figure out this basic technique.
It is a straight shot, and on a beautiful morning.
Composition is most important of all, and although not everyone’s cup of tea, … it suited my tastes.
Hopefully, it will say something.

Thanks for visiting, and listening.
Michael

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

August 7, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, 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 | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Macro, … And A Old Photography Trick.

There is nothing like dipping way down into the bottom of the bag, and pulling out a few tricks that has not been used in years.
This is a very simple image to create.
I just put the camera on the Gitzo Explorer 2220, made a few quick adjustments with my RRS BH-40 ballhead, got very low with the pond in the background, and then I used a old pair of nylon stockings with a small hole cut in the center.
Then, after making adjustments for exposure, and picking out a spot that a dragonfly visits often, I simply use “both hands” to hold the nylon stocking over the front of the lens which easily allows me to move the hole at any given spot in front of the lens, and allows me to easily hold a shutter release cable at the same time. Sort of like the old “cram it method”, … but with a twist!
A few adjustments in PS such as levels/curves, desaturation, and selective contrast gave me something different and interesting.
I also cloned out two short blades of grass to give a more minimalistic look which I like.
Using this method will also allow you to quickly remove the stocking and get a almost identical shot in full color with no diffusion or vignetting.
You can see the image in a post a below that was created only a few seconds after this shot while zooming out, and without the stocking.
Fun, … easy to do, ….. and helps to get those creative juices flowing!

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

Everyone take care, and thanks for visiting!
Michael

“Macro Art In Nature”

July 29, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, 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 | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Top Ten Posts From “Macro Art In Nature” Since 2005.

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

Well, ….. it seems that I have not had much to say or to write about this past year or so.
Have been busy with the family, busy keeping the business above water, busy creating a new body of work that I have yet to show anyone, … just plain busy!
It seems that when I do write something here in my journal, I have been repeating myself.
Maybe one day I will have something new to say.

I was digging around my journal the other day and looking at various stats.
One stat that I have not looked at in a long long time were the most viewed posts that I have created since starting this journal.
It was interesting to look at those stats, some which surprised me.

Here are the Top 10, most viewed posts since 2005.
** A couple of these are older posts moved over from the “Blogger” days, and I have yet to line up the images and text to match up with the existing WordPress posts.

1. Artistic Blurs In Your Macro Images Using Photoshop
2. Using The “Orton” Method For Artistic Blending
3. “Layers Of Gold” Macro – Using Reversed Nikkor 50mm 1.4 Lens.
4. “In Their World” Series – Unwanted Highlights In Your Photography?
5. Rose Stamen – 50mm Reversed Lens
6. What The Lensbaby “Should” Force You To Do!
7. Adding Space To A Image In Photoshop Using The “Free Transform” Tool
8. Michael Brown, Inventor Of The “Cram It” Method In Photography.
9. A Marriage Of Macro Photography & Georgia O’Keeffe Paintings.
10. Photography In Late Evening Light.

Oh well, ….. at least I wrote something! : )

Everyone take care,
Michael

“Macro Art In Nature”

July 6, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, 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 | , , , , , | 5 Comments

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