12 August 2013
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Macro photography can upend our perspective on any given subject. What we usually see becomes totally rearranged. It’s one of photography’s precious gifts.
This challenge prompted me to stroll through my gardens. I was spying on the sweet sights that are in various stages of summertime display.
As a longtime gardener I’m usually conscientious about bulbs and corms that need to be stored over the winter season. Somehow I have been incredible lazy with my gladiolas, whose corms are delicate. Fortunately, our winter months have become temperate, and the small patch has survived several years, and even expanding its boundaries.
Last week a bevy of green shoots of gladiolas dominated the corner of a rectangular garden that includes rows of massive grasses. The blades of the glads have been showy for years, but produced no flowers. So I’ve been watching and waiting. This week they appeared. Suddenly two stunning spikes of numerous white blossoms stood waiting for visitors.
I plucked a few to shoot. While they’re captivating on the tall sword-like stem, the individual flower is more striking. I popped it in water, and thought about how I wanted to capture it.
As I froze the flower’s grace, I was struck by the macro’s ability to give it another dimension all together. That flavor is exactly what magnification does. It embellishes. It fixates. It enlarges. It pinpoints. A new character was created where the old one existed.
I was so taken by the elegance. The difference was dramatic. When the long spike holds the flurry of flowers, the beauty was evident. But the macro entirely changed my perception of the gladiola. In seeing the whole I had forgotten the sum of its parts. I had forgotten its enchantment as a solo performer.
The scale of each gladiola lured me. Each seemed to start a conversation about purity, revealing the clarity of the white that has teeny tiny blushing marks of rose on the inner core. Mostly, macro forced me to see the species’ sculptural shapes, its ethereal design.
Tip of the Week: One of this week’s lessons: macro does not have to be sharp, sharp, sharp. The soft effect of the bud and flower were my favorites of the ones that I shot. Sometimes the surreal tells a stronger tale. Also, some might say that the reductive quality of macro takes away from the subject. But the up close-and-personal scale can easily transcend the entirety. It’s simply a different profile, and one that is just as eye-catching.
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Note: Here’s a reminder of the weekly schedule and themes for upcoming Phoneography Monday Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black-and-White
4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).