"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

Macro Panoramic – “Dendritic Jasper” Rock.

This is a “dendritic jasper” rock, a cut piece that is polished and flat.
There are many dendritic rocks that can give one the appearance of a landscape with plants and/or trees scattered about.
Using a macro lens, a macro slider, tripod, and a level base for each the rock and the tripod can give a individual many opportunities to create something different.
This piece of jasper is about 4 inches wide, and about 3 inches in height.
I stitched two images together to create this piece with a panoramic feel.
The upper portion has a touch more green, but I had a devil of a time with lighting and capturing it accurately.

Now, ….. you should see the tryptchs!

© 2008 – Michael Brown
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“Dendritic Jasper”

“Ancient Landscapes” – Series
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Thanks for stopping by everyone!
Michael

“Macro Art In Nature”

March 6, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, gems, hiking, horticulture, landscapes, lapidary, life, macro, Macro Photographer, minerals, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, rock hound, rocks, slabs | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Reverse Nikkor 50mm 1.4 Lens – Brazil Agate & Flame Agate Macro.

Now this is cool!

I managed to finish shooting a bit early the other day, and while I was out, I started to imagine what I could get within those rocks that I had on hand by reversing my old Nikkor 50mm lens and attaching it to the Canon 100mm macro lens.
I was amazed!

This first image is again, a “Flame Agate” rock, using some strong back lighting from a light box.
There are some stunning colors, shapes, and patterns that one can find and I have had some great shots coming from that large piece of rock.
But when I attached that Nikkor 50mm lens to the Canon 100mm macro, I found myself in an entirely different world.
This method helped to absorb those colors, to bring about some abstract possibilities that I had yet to see, to let me see the possibilities with creative depth, … I really had some fun!

When these rocks are sliced with a saw, I guess that there are some areas within that rock that has some air pockets.
I am not sure if that is the correct term or not, … so I’ll just say “air pockets”. (I will try to find out.)
So, the first image here of a flame agate is showing a hole, or a exposed “air pocket”, with little specks of crystal like pieces surrounding the hole.
This exposed or open area here is maybe a tad larger than the size of a pin head.

© 2008 – Michael Brown
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“Flame Agate” – Abstract

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The second image here is of a “Brazil Agate”, using the Nikkor 50mm 1.4 lens in reverse and attached to the Canon 100mm macro.
I can easily see a type of storyline along with this image, but this time, I will let you … the viewer, to come up with your own vision and/or feelings about this one.

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

“Ancient Landscapes” – Series
08brazilagate1abstract1wp.jpg

That’s it for now gang.
Hope that everyone is doing just fine, and I will come back in here again soon, ….. hopefully!
Thanks again,
Michael Brown

“Macro Art In Nature”

February 21, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, gems, landscapes, lapidary, life, macro, Macro Photographer, minerals, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, rock hound, rocks, slabs | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Brazil Agate, Flame Agate, & Picture Jasper. Rock Art In Macro!

Last week I finally had a bit of time on my hands, so I decided to visit a few blog journals that I had not been to in awhile.
I went over to see a old online buddy of mine “Mark Graf” and his blog, and discovered this wonderful post of his about photographing colorful rocks in macro. “Pietersite Macro Art”
I then decided to write Mark, as my youngest son Joseph and I have been fooling around with doing the same thing since last year.
Looks like we all have a touch of “rock hound” in us!

© 2008 – Michael Brown
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“Brazil Agate”

“Ancient Landscapes” – Series
08brazilagate2c1wp.jpg

I truly love all of the wildly beautiful lines, shapes, and patterns to be found within all of the rocks and minerals.
Lighting can be a bit touchy, depending on the cut and surface of the rock, but that is just a part of the fun while working with these little gems.
One thing that I have learned, is that I really enjoy shooting some of the more translucent type of rocks that carries a lot of color, and to use a very strong light source in the background, ….. such as a light box.

© 2008 – Michael Brown
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“Flame Agate”

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And, … getting your camera pointing downwards and the lens parallel to the flat surface of the rock can also be very tricky!
A pain in the butt actually!!

© 2008 – Michael Brown
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“Flame Agate”

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Often you can look at these rocks and minerals, and at times it is very hard to see all of the possibilities that exists as far as creating abstracts from them until you get in close.
If I go to a place that sells rocks/gems/minerals, looking for something to shoot, I will also carry with me a magnifying glass. It really helps me to see if there is something within that piece that captures my attention.

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

“Ancient Landscapes” – Series
08picturejasper6b1wp.jpg

So, if you are looking for something a bit different, … and even a bit educational, … find yourself some rocks to photograph.
Experiment, and most importantly, ….. have yourself some fun while doing it!

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

“Ancient Landscapes” – Series
08brazilagate6b1wp.jpg

Everyone take care,
Michael Brown

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

February 15, 2008 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, gems, hiking, landscapes, lapidary, life, macro, Macro Photographer, minerals, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, rock hound, rocks, slabs | , , , , , | 12 Comments

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

Using The “Orton” Method For Artistic Blending

© 2004 – Michael Brown
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magbridge1blog.jpgIf you want a bit of fun, a chance to perk up some of those photos and to simply try something different, try this method here for a touch of that “painterly” look. It gives some of the photos you may work on a touch of softness, rich colors in some areas, and maybe something that you have been looking for to add to your bag of tricks.
I have found that this method works extremely well with landscapes, and I have also been experimenting using this method with some of the macro type shots that I have on hand.

The images you see here were created with a digital camera, and worked with in Photoshop CS using the “Orton” method.
Simple and easy to do.

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

241_4116c1blog.jpg*Open up Photoshop and select a image you would like to use.
*Then, go to “Image”, then down to “Duplicate”.
*Now delete your original so you will not make any mistakes with your original photo.
*Go to “Image”, then click on “Apply Image”.
*The “Apply Image” box will appear.
*Set the blending to “Screen”, and your opacity to 100%. Click Okay button.
*Go again to “Image”, down to “Duplicate”.
*With the image you have just duplicated, go to “Filter”, down to “Blur-Gaussian Blur”.
*Set the blur anywhere from 20 to 50. Click okay button.
*Using your “move tool”, grab the blurred image and drag it on top of your first image and placing it evenly on top. (the image with details)
*Open your “layers” box by going to “Windows”, down to “Layers”.
*In that layers box, set the blending mode from “normal” to “multiply”.
*You can now make some adjustments with levels/curves/sharpening/etc. while switching back and forth between your background layer and your other layer.
*When happy with what you see, flatten your image by going to “Layer”, then down to “Flatten”.
*Then, ……… save your masterpiece!

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

162_6294bcopy13nsnp1.jpgAdmittedly, some images do work better than others. You just have to experiment.With landscapes, it does seem to be easier to do while using this method.
With any type of macros, and having a smooth/clean background, you can see a type of blurred halo around your subject. Less noticeable halos occurr when the background has more details.

It is something that is fun to do, and thought I would share it with you guys.
Back to work for me, … so everyone take good care of yourselves!!

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(This post does not have the original “Blogger” comments, as they would not automatically transfer when the move was made to “WordPress”.)

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“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

April 12, 2006 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, Blogroll, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, gems, 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

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