“The deeper one looks into what appears simple, the more complex it really is. Even the very delicate and wispy structures show there is more to them than meets the casual eye.” – Ed Lehming
The natural world is continually amazing. The simple and commonplace are not what they appear. Living forms are incredible in their diversity and design.
Take the simple dandelion seed head. It looks like a fluff ball, a novelty for children and adults alike. But really look at it. Look deeply and deliberately and it’s absolutely stunning how it’s designed. Hundreds of seeds per flower, each with their own feathery parachute, wait for a breeze strong enough to disperse them far from the parent plant. The wind creates just enough of a pull to dislodge the seed from the base. Not enough wind and the seed remains anchored.
For this image I first had to find a seedhead that was largely intact. Not an easy task as it has been quite breezy the past few days. Ideal for the dandelion, not so much for me. When I found a good specimen, I had to decide on my composition and depth of field. Getting the right depth of field also meant I needed good light, as I also had to contend with a slight breeze, meaning I also needed a fairly fast shutter speed. Not so simple a task when shooting without the benefit of a tripod.
In the end I got a couple of images that I was happy with. If I wanted to do more, like have the entire seed head in focus, I would have to bring one into my studio for a much longer exposure and some focus stacking. Perhaps another day. For now, I’m pleased that the detail is there while still keeping the image a touch soft, matchined the image title nicely.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 1/160 sec, f/22.0, ISO 400
“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.” ― Jean Genet
I decided to return to this dark purple crocus blossom once more. In my earlier post, I noted that it proved a bit of a challenge to photograph in this style because it is so dark. Yet, that darkness is also what created such beautiful lighting.
The only thing I would change at this point would perhaps be to do this as a focus stack so the entire bloom is focussed. Despite the narrow aperture used, the depth of field is still quite shallow and shows up, especially the with the stigma, whose slight softness is not appealing to me.
Nikon D800 Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 0.5 sec, f/32.0 ISO 400
“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” ― Matt Hardy
I thought this was an interesting scene, as it presented itself to me during a hike this past Saturday. The tree had both catkins, the parts that produce pollen, and fruit at the same time, on the same branch and I can’t recall if I have ever seen this before.
It also offered a nice balanced composition, so I decided it was worth the photo.
I’m still getting familiar with my 90mm macro lense and it’s depth of field range, which is much different from my 70-200mm zoom, with which I am far more familiar, so aperture was not optimum, always learning.
Nikon D800 Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200
“Everyday gratitude sweetens what appears flavorless and brightens all that appears dim.” ― Amy Leigh Mercree
The floral photography adventure continues. As I keep making these images, I’m trying a few different techniques. In this instance, the blossoms were at the end of a long stalk. Including the stalk lengthwise made the photo, and the plant itself look awkward. So, I spun the plant around and photographed it end-on.
A further challenge with this angle was trying to show the entire flower in focus and bright while allowing the light to gradually fall off, so that the blossom appears to be coming from the darkness. The challenge here is that the blossoms are very bright and the leaves quite dark. I’m also getting used to a newly acquired macro lense, which gives me far more aperture flexibility than my previous extension tube setup.
To get the entire blossom in focus, as well as most of the leaves required a very narrow aperture of f/29, but since I had abundant light, I was able to keep the shutter speed a bit faster at 1/4 sec. Still learning, but enjoying the journey.
Nikon D800 Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 0.4 sec, f/29.0, ISO 200
“Someone was playing piano nearby and the music drifted slowly in and out of my mind like the ebb and flow of ocean surf. I almost recognized the melody, but I could not be sure, it slipped like a cool and silken wind from my grasp.” ― Chaim Potok
Today’s image is another foray into the world of macro photography and I’m loving the effects and subtle details the naked eye misses. In this case, I think the narrow aperture and gradual fade to the distance give the image a dreamy feel.
There is a wonderful softness in the frills of the peony, the petals fading from deep pink to a faded, papery white. The photo, of course, cannot capture the exquisite scent, yet looking at the photo now brings forth those sweet memories and I hope to carry them into the summer, long after the blossoms have faded.
Nikkor AF 28-70mm f/3.5~F/4.5D @ 70mm 1/125 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200
“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” – Aldo Leopold
Late spring, and green palettes are dotted with bright pinks, yellows, and whites, like patches of icing. They fairly glow in the bright sunshine. On closer inspection, these splashes of brightness are surprisingly complex.
I would not have expected the structures in the dogwood blossoms and have never really taken the time to look at them carefully. The cluster above was deliberately isolated from the rest by balancing my aperture to keep the cluster in the foreground in focus, while blurring the background and having the light trail off from white to black.
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom- @300mm 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200
“There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have a feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. So I take the memories as they come, accepting them all, letting them guide me whenever I can.”
― Nicholas Sparks
While on a recent excursion to Lynde Shores, a conservation area on the shores of Lake Ontario, for some bird photos, I took a few minutes to walk the lake shore and enjoy the gently rolling waves. The stone ‘beach’ is made up of water polished rocks of varying sizes. I used some of these rocks, stacked on a piece of driftwood, to make this balanced stone sculpture. Just a bit of whimsey to share with you today.
As to the photo itself: I narrowed the aperture just enough to keep the stones in focus, while allowing the background to blur
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 270mm 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200
Another long exposure from my visit to Toronto’s Casa Loma. This one is from the Conservatory. A bright spacious room, with a stunning stained glass domed roof. The Conservatory once once held beautiful plants in all seasons. Today it is largely empty but beautiful, nonetheless. The Conservatory is surrounded by large, ornate windows, has Italian marble floors in pink and grey and the walls are lined with pink Ontario marble, quarried in the Bancroft area.
I was fascinated by the fountain, located in an alcove, which was running very slowly and I wanted to see what the image would look like as a long exposure. By Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 has incredible vibration reduction, so I took my chances on a narrow aperture, long exposure, to see what the final image might look like.
The image above is the result of a 1/8 sec handheld exposure. It freezes the water drops as they fall from the fountain bowls, yet still captures the details of the fountain itself.
I have not been to Casa Loma for about 40 years. My last memory was going there on a school trip, but I remember how grand the building was. It was definitely worth the re-visit.
Another visit to High Falls, the outlet of Baptiste Lake and the beginning of the York River. I keep trying to imagine the waterfall as it would have been before the dam was built above it. That would have been a sight to behold. As I noted in an earlier post, the dam was built to protect the town of Bancroft, some 5 miles down river, from being flooded in the spring (it still happens, but to a lesser extent).
This was simply an opportunity to do a hand-held time exposure of the water spraying out between the logs. My maximum shake free exposure with my Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 is 1/8 of a second. It still amazes me just how good the Vibration Reduction technology is these days. I closed the aperture a bit on this to keep everything in focus.
I liked the way the spillway naturally framed the image, the texture and colour of the wood, and how the spray stood out against the dark background. I may have to try this as a black and white at some time as well. There is something calming in images with soft flowing water that I really enjoy in this busy world.
Nikon D300 Tamron 70-200mm @ 90 mm 1/10 sec @ f/14, ISO 250
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