Look Closer

The use of leading lines as a compositional tool can also be applied to macro photography. This week my search lead me to take a longer and closer look at the world around me. Flowers possess built in leading lines; with the stems leading one’s eyes to the flower and the petals drawing attention to their center.

daisy macroBoth can be incorporated in one photo or you may choose to simply use one or the other.

orchid macroOrchids with their colorful, long-lasting flowers certainly brighten a room and make marvelous photographic subjects.

DSC_0314 mac linesThe remains of a tulip flower after the petals fell off couldn’t escape my camera. Even though the color from the petals is gone, I found some beauty in the starkness of the pistil as highlighted by the stems and stamens.

Here, the repeating lines of the woods rings . . .

wood lineslead to the cut side.

The tentacles of the sea anemone create many lines leading one’s eyes to the middle or oral disc.

anemoneYou can also create your own leading line using your hand and finger as a pointer.

sea anemoneI was happy to see that my hand model’s nail polish coordinated with the sea anemone’s hue.

Food also can either be arranged to create leading lines or as in these photos cut to create them.

cut appleWhen cut in this manner the seeds lead one’s eyes to the core.

cut red cabbageA cross section of a red cabbage contains so many lines it can be easy to get lost in them but if you focus on the larger lines, they lead to the core.

This week you too can look closer at your world and search out the leading lines there.  Who knows, once you start, you may be lead down a path you never dreamed of.

~ Susan

Never Just a Rose

In the words of Shakespeare, “. . . a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” and I say it would look as beautiful too. Roses, and other flowers as well, make wonderful photographic subjects. That’s just another reason, beside the usual, I enjoy the gift of fresh flowers.

sidelit roseUsing a window as a sidelight, creates an interesting play of shadows and highlights. In Photoshop, by adjusting the brightness/contrast levels the shadows and highlights become enhanced. I took the brightness down and added more contrast. Just for fun – my idea of fun anyway, I decided to try processing differently. This time a deep blue photo filter at 25% luminosity was added and the brightness turned up and contrast brought down,  creating a softer effect.sidelit roseOne of the great characteristics of flowers is the translucency of the petals and leaves. which makes using back lighting rewarding. 

Position yourself so that the flower is between you and your light source; in this instance the sun. This brings out the details in the petals and leaves. The tiny thorns on the stem became highlighted also. If you like, you can let a bit of the light source shine through for a different feel.

backlit rose

Sunflowers with their large showy flowers are another one of my favorites. Here, I wanted to see how a soft, out of focus background can be achieved with a zoom lens. The first photo was taken with a zoom lens set at 80mm with an f-stop of 4.0.

sunflowerThe background, especially those flowers closer to the sunflower, are fairly in focus. When zoomed out to 105mm and stepping in a little closer (the only changes).

sunflowerEverything in the background becomes velvety and out of focus, also known as a bokeh effect. This makes the subject stand out. Having the aperture open as wide as you can is another factor that helps create the bokeh effect. If you have a kit zoom lens and your aperture will only open as far as 4, or 5.6, zooming in will help achieve that bokeh effect.

According to Gertrude Stein,  “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

Loveliness extreme. . . ”

I will keep trying to capture the beauty here in the backyard.

~ Sue