"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
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“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
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“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
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“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
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“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
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“Still”

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 | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Some Morning Macro Photography, And Some Thoughts.

Well, not the up close and personal type of macro photography. These images are a bit more from a distance.
I did get a few of those up close and personals on this particular morning.

Without a doubt though, I love photography in the morning.
The crisp clean air, the cooler colors, sometimes with fog, sometimes no fog at all.
I love it!

But this season, I am out to try something different, … something I have never tried before.
I want to do some night time abstracts in nature.
There are many things normally not seen in macro, even more that does not show itself until the sun has completely vanished below the horizon.
I have some ideas, something of which I will share as time goes on this season, … which is just around the corner.
Actually, looks like this might be one of those seasons that we pretty much skip winter and go straight to spring!

I read on a blog the other day, a blog that escapes me so I can’t give it some credit, something about creating your own doors of opportunity.
It certainly made a lot of sense, and something which I have been doing myself.
The only difference is, that when I create my own door of opportunity, I have a tendency not to open that door, but to kick it in instead.
Some years ago, I would always be a bit hesitant about doing just about anything.
But now, I simply kick that door in, jump in with both feet, and I seem to prosper a bit more from doing so.

So, why not create your own door this season.
What have you been wanting to do, and have not done yet?
Why have you not done it yet?
What is it that you really want to create?
What’s holding you up?
Go get’em!!

These two images were created near the ponds early one morning over at the Clemson Sandhills Research Center in Columbia.
There were no winds, the waters was an absolute calm, there was no dew to speak of which was a bit strange, there was a breaking fog on the other side of the pond that was allowing streaks of sunlight onto the waters, and nature was waking up. Simply beautiful!
I was standing on a bank and shooting down into the surrounding areas, with just enough depth to keep the main subject areas sharp while the background waters were smooth and flat. I really liked the transition of light and colors on this morning.
Both images were taken without ever moving, but the second image was flipped for composition and its overall flow. Just a personal taste.
It was fun!

© 2007 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Halloween Pennant”
“In Their World” Series

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© 2007 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Cattail”

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So, … that’s it for awhile.
Got some shooting and playing around on my week off, so you guys/gals take good care of yourselves, and go out and have yourselves some fun creating something new and different!
Create yourself a new door!

Michael

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

March 4, 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 | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Backlit Macro Photography.

Backlit macro photography is something that is rarely seen anymore.
Over the years, the majority of written articles on macro photography have preached about things such as “maximum depth & details”, “using a flash for even lighting”, “fill the frame”, … and so on.
All of this is good of course and something that should be learned, but some of the most dramatic macro type images can easily be obtained with some good ol’ fashion harsh type lighting, … or strong backlighting.
You can see wonderful examples of strong backlit subjects in nature photography, such as those wide open landscapes, animals, trees, and so on, … but again, rarely do you see it in the areas of macro.

Try it sometime!
Just find a area out in nature with some interesting subjects, a place that looks like it could offer up some uniquely different compositions. Have some fun, and create something new for a change.
Use the available light for some dramatic and stark looking silhouettes, then if you wish, you can practice balancing out some of the lighting by using a flash.
Personally I do not like using a flash. I will use it when it is absolutely the only way to obtain the needed results, preferring natural light along with some bounce lighting using various reflectors and/or mirrors.

© 2007 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Halloween Pennant” Dragonfly – Odonata
“In Their World” – Series

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Canon 100mm macro and 2x teleconverter
1/160 sec. @ f9 – Cable release
ISO 100
Gitzo Explorer 2220 tripod
RRS BH-40 Ballhead

It was a wonderfully cool Sunday, … at least it was much cooler than it had been these past few weeks.
I sat at the edge of the pond, my pants slowly soaking up the moisture from the ground, watching the sun approach the tops of the trees, and witnessing the golden light that occurs late in the day.
I had the Gitzo Explorer tripod low to the ground, with the center column tilted 90 degrees over to its left and at eye level. All I had to do, was to lay there, watch, listen, … and only slightly moving my head and eyes to the camera.
A very relaxed position while one just lays, … and waits.

It was not long at all before all of nature came to me. I was now a part of it.
I was just sitting, … just watching, … just listening, ….. and learning.
I only took a few shots that day.
It is remarkable what one can hear, but only if one chooses to do so.
To hear a grasshopper land on a dried and hollowed reed with a distinct “click”.
To actually hear a dragonfly.
To hear the echo from a bull frog, with the sound starting clearly from the other side of the pond.
To hear the cranes coming in from a distance and then right over your head.
To hear a turtle slip below the water’s surface.
To hear the carp.
To hear the wind.

For many years, I had said it was nature talking to me.
But finally, I learned that it has always been another who was doing all the talking!

My day of shooting was postponed until tomorrow, so thought I would post something here today.
Thanks again for visiting gang, and will see you all again in a couple of weeks with some more of my ramblings! :)

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

September 5, 2007 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 | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Move back, … and take it all in!

This image is nothing more than a reminder, that macro photography does not necessarily mean that you have to get so close that you can see your subject’s DNA!
Back away for some of your images. Try to capture your main subject in a pleasing way, but also showing its surroundings that appeals to the viewer’s eyes.
How often do you see a macro image where the entire frame is or can be the main subject?
I enjoy shooting various types of insects in this manner. Fun, … and fairly easy to do.

With the following image, I used a older Canon 75-300mm lens with a polarizer.
I was shooting slightly downhill, with the pond as my background.
After loading the image into the system, I simply used one of the many Photo Filters (cooling filter) for the image which gave it a slight and overall bluish tint.
Then I selectively removed some of that blue away from the greens, increased saturation in the greens, and did the same thing with some of the parts that were in red, … or yellow, … and so on.
Some selective burning, or you can call it “selective contrast/sharpening” on the dragonfly itself was used to make the dragonfly stand out a bit more.

Again, … simple and easy to do.
(I need to look up the name of this particular dragonfly)

© 2007 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Unknown Dragonfly” – Odonata

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Thanks for looking and stopping by!
Mike

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

August 29, 2007 Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, dragonflies, dragonfly, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hemerocallis, hiking, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, odonata, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife | , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Banded Pennant” Dragonfly – “In Their World” Series.

This is a image of a “Banded Pennant” dragonfly, taken at the Clemson Sandhills Research Center this past weekend.
It will be included in my “In Their World” series of images that I am collecting/working on.
The left wing is in a way, cutting across the head, but I do feel that there is enough going on within the image itself that overpowers that one minor hitch.
I simply like the overall feel to this piece, … to look at a dragonfly, admiring him while he studies his world that surrounds him.
Without the spent lotus petal in the background pond water, I believe the overall feeling that I have for this piece would have been lost.

© 2007 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Banded Pennant” Dragonfly

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Thanks for looking everyone!

Michael Brown – Photographer

“Macro Art In Nature”

June 19, 2007 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 | , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Dragonfly” – A Minimalistic View In Nature Photography.

Many times, I simply like to pull back and not worrying about getting close, … to show the main subject in the world in which it lives.
This shot is a even more minimalistic view than what I normally will get, as most of the time I would prefer to get at least a hint of detail or patterns in the background. This image contains virtually no background details.

“Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly”
Minimalistic View
© 2005 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

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Canon 75-300mm lens
1/200 sec. @ f5.6
ISO 100

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

May 7, 2007 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

Exploring Your Nature Photography With Digital Painting!

Painting in the system many times will help me to relax, to think, to explore those thoughts of what could be.
I can use the Wacom tablet, kick back and relax while playing with a existing image on the screen, drink a Corona, … and simply to find myself entering another world.
It even helps me with my photography while out in the field!

The first rendering is of a dragonfly that I photographed from a perch that I placed on the back porch/patio of the house.
Under that, you can see the original.
Wacom tablet, Photoshop CS, Painter, Studio Artist 3.0.

“Blue Dasher” Dragonfly – Rendering
© 2005 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

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“Blue Dasher” Dragonfly
© 2005 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.

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The image below is another rendering created from a photograph, using the Wacom tablet, Photoshop CS, Painter, and Studio Artist 3.0.

“Flower” – Rendering
© 2005 – Michael Brown
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I always encourage everyone to play while out in the field, to experiment, to have some fun.
But there are many times where simply sitting in front of the computer and playing around can benefit you as well.

Thanks gang for looking!
Mike

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

May 2, 2007 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 | , , , , , | 11 Comments

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