"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

Ancient Macro Landscapes – “Grassy Mountain Agatized Petrified Wood” & “Grossular Garnet”.

This will probably be the last post showing rocks/minerals, … at least for awhile anyway.
Got to get busy with some other work!

The first image is from a cut slab of “Grassy Mountain Agatized Petrified Wood”.
I used the Canon 100mm macro and extension tube for this shot.
I could not help but to get the feel of a million year old landscape while viewing this composition through the lens. The feeling of looking down upon a ancient landscape from high above.
I can see a ocean with waves coming in to the shoreline and in late evening light, with a thin layer of clouds above.
Actually, the area that looks like clouds is a thin glassy layer that often appears in these pieces as a light creamy color, and sometimes with a hint of blue.
Then the streaks that you can see are possibly some growth rings mixed in with the texture of the tree.
Beautiful pieces to photograph!

© 2008 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Grassy Mountain Agatized Petrified Wood”

“Ancient Landscapes” – Series
08grsmtnagapetwood1wp.jpg

The second image shown is a large cut slab of “Grossular Garnet” – Green.
I probably will photograph this one again, as the colors in this piece are simply incredible and I don’t think that I accurately captured the overall richness in this one due to the lighting.
This piece is simply unreal in color when it is wet, which often helps to bring out the true colors in certain rocks and minerals.
Looking at this particular piece, one could easily think of a leafy vegetable or maybe being very high above a rain forest.
Spectacular greens, wonderful lines and shapes, … all found with the macro lens.

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

08grossulargarnet1wp.jpg

It is back to work tomorrow after a week off, … so I’m outta here to charge up the batteries, check the camera bag, clean the tripod, gas up the car, … and take a nap! :)

Thanks for visiting everyone,
Michael

“Macro Art In Nature”

March 11, 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 | , , , , , | 16 Comments

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
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Dendritic Jasper”

“Ancient Landscapes” – Series
08djasper3pano1wp.jpg

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
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Flame Agate” – Abstract

08flameagate50mm1wp.jpg

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
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“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
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Flame Agate”

08flameagate12b1wp.jpg

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
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Flame Agate”

08flameagate5b1wp.jpg

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

Michael Brown, Inventor Of The “Cram It” Method In Photography.

I can’t help but to get a good laugh out of all this!

I was looking at my WordPress stats the other week, and noticed quite a few hits coming from a forum over in France.
Not a large forum, as it looked like it might have been a forum for a camera club.
I noticed the link to “Macro Art In Nature”, so my curiosity got the best of me as I went to my translator to translate for me what was being said.
The whole thread was about the “Cram It” method, a technique that Michael Brown had created to create the images that can be found on his site.
Another forum that I have seen recently also had a long thread about the cram it method, a method that Michael Brown came up with.
And just yesterday, I came across another small forum where a guy asks in a thread, “Will someone kindly point me to the information on Michael Brown’s “cram it” method?” “I want to give this a try.”
Then in the same thread, someone else asked, … “I have seen the results and really like it.” “When will he start shipping out the software?”

I admit, … I get a bit tickled over this and usually start laughing!
I did not create this method, a method that has been around for ages now.
It may have been lost in the mix for awhile, when everyone in nature photography seemed to be focusing in on “details, details, details”, while seemingly ignoring anything that involved soft or soft focus images.

So again, ….. “I did not create this method!”
I may be known for giving it a name, and for all that I know, it just may already have a name that I don’t know about.
So “Michael Brown” gave it “this name”. I’ll be happy with that!

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

April 13, 2007 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, Digital, dragonflies, dragonfly, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hemerocallis, 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 | , , , , , | 23 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

***

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

Blogs vs Dedicated Photography Forums

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

This is a bit of a harsh rant maybe!
I will leave it upon the reader to figure out what might be best for them and their photography.

Remember the “poll” that I had some months ago?
Unfortunately, I made a mistake and deleted that poll before I retrieved the final numbers. 106 people took the poll.
The question in that poll was pretty much about what you were seeking as far as critiques while showing your images in a blog.
Choices were:
* Your images are a showcase of your work, therefore no critiques are needed.
* You show your images in a blog in hopes of receiving honest critiques.
* You are just having fun showing your images, and no critiques are really wanted or needed.

My question now is, “how am I to know that you want honest critiques from the images shown in your blog?”
Roughly 60% said that they posted in their blogs in hopes of getting honest feedback, and to get better with their photography.
About 20% stated that they needed no critiques, that they all were showcase images.
The other 20% or so were simply showing their images for fun.
So again, how is anyone to know that you are seriously asking for help unless you “state clearly” what you are looking for in your blog?
Do I give a honest critique for this blog that I am visiting?
If I give a critique, and this is considered a “showcase image” from the one who created the piece, … will they get upset?
Am I wasting time giving a critique to this image when the one who created it could care less if they get better at photography or not?
Lots of questions, thoughts, and ideas have popped into my head over the past few days about this.
Should the individual who is seeking help in hopes to get better put a notice somewhere on their blog about accepting honest critiques?
I don’t have any kind of notice on mine, (and maybe I should) … but I am always open to what people think, and their likes/dislikes with a image of mine.

Blogging is fun, … no doubt about that.
You meet a lot of people from all around the world, learning about their photography, where and how they live, learning about their families, cracking jokes, … but I think that there is less honesty when people leave comments about a image. Again, how are they to know what you want anyway?
If you truly want to get better with your photography, it is my opinion that a dedicated photography forum catering to the area of photography that you would like to persue, is without a doubt the way to go if you truly want to get better.
Wedding Photography? There are forums out there!
Nature/Wildlife Photograhy? Plenty of fourms to choose from!
Street Photography? They are there!
And there are more!!

Think about it!
You just don’t know what type of critiques you are getting in the world of blogging even when you actually get one, … most of the time. There is no “law of the land” with critiques and blogging. The blogging world is usually known as the “say what the hell you want to say” type of place.
In a dedicated forum, and when you posts your images, you automatically are asking for honest critiques/feedback/opinions/help, and normally you are going to get them. How else are you to learn if you do not get honest critiques?
How else are you to learn if you do not learn how to give critiques?
There are many who get a bit intimidated in a forum where there are professionals or advanced amateurs posting also. I most certainly understand that feeling! But, do you think that many of these people came into these forums already highly advanced? I sure didn’t. In fact, I came in to these forums pretty much ignorant on the subject of nature photography! I asked for help right from the start, … and I got it! Boy did I ever get it! LoL!!!
But it was the “honesty” that did the trick for me. It is the dedicated forums that has me where I am today in my photography.
Not a single person ever wanted to launch rockets to my house after I posted a certain picture, or come kick my door in and punch me out, or had any negative words in the forums.
Sure, they might have told me that the composition was terrible, but then they told me why they thought it was terrible and what they thought a good solution would be.
They might tell me that my usage of Photoshop was horrible, but then follow up with how to do it properly.
Then, I would get opinions on what I did very well with a particular image, and maybe how to enhance upon it.
Some wonderful people in these forums, and I have developed a long lasting relationship with many.
Blogging just might be the ticket for you, … then again it might not.
Do you truly want to advance your photography, to get better, maybe even someday to develop a style of your own as some dream of doing?
I have no doubt that a true dedicated photography forum is the way to go for the vast majority of people.
When it comes to dedicated photography forums, it is best to find a place where critiques received are offered in words, and not a point system.
Points can “never” take the place of spoken words!

There are some who have visited this blog before, then decided to take the plunge and go to a dedicated forum, only to go crazy in those dedicated forums! LoL!!
I have seen some to go into these dedicated forums and simply to have a blast.
They decided to jump in with both feet and finally start to learn something, … and “my o’ my” have they ever. No regrets!
I have seen some come over to NatureScapes and have really jumped in with vigor, … and I do mean “vigor!”
It’s fun, … and it’s fun to learn. Just do it!
My youngest son Joseph did, who is now 13 years old, has around 1500 posts in less than a year, and he loves it. Plus, he is learning from some individuals in those forums who are well known around the world!
So one more time, in my opinion, dedicated photography forums is the way to go!

*** With all that has been said, and with the image posted here, … tell me what you think.
I will tell you, that there is something that really bugs me about the image and I am trying to correct it.
Critique it for me. Tell me the good. Tell me the bad.
Since I have started this blog, I don’t remember one single and very hard critique on any one of my images. Why? I believe it is the “blogging atmosphere” that creates it.
I always get critiques at NatureScapes, both good and bad, … and helpful! All comments help to open one’s eyes!

Blogging is a wonderful portal to use in order to advance, … but still lacks that certain aspect that everyone should seek out in order to reach that peak.
So ask yourself, … “Is now the time to take the next step in my photography, … or maybe not?”
Whatever avenue you choose to take whether it be the use of blogging or a dedicated forum, I do wish you the best in your photography and for many years to come!

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

*

May 7, 2006 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, daylily, Digital, dragonflies, dragonfly, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, 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 | , , , , , | 23 Comments

  • Meta