09 June 2014
I. The Peony Blossom
II. The Peony Bud
Please let me know which you prefer and why.
Today I will publish two posts; that’s an unusual feat for me. First, this post is my usual Monday fare: my entry in the photo challenge with a marvelous community of participants. The second post will be in response to an invitation to join a Virtual Blog Tour. I hope that you will enjoy both efforts, especially because I have invited two other bloggers to join the tour on Monday, 16 June.
By a measure of aesthetics the visual appeal of a peony (Paeonia) is at the apex of my affection for Spring’s jewels. By a measure of beauty this native perennial stands above many, but also alongside others that are equal to the task.
More than any other of this season’s progeny the peony has elements that are hard to match. I am hooked on its fragile yet stately appearance, continuum of delicate and deeply saturated colors, feathery petals, bold gestures, heavy boughs, and elongated foliage.
Once I meticulously cut a cluster, I am entranced with the flower’s design. Layer upon layer of serrated-edged and some smooth-edged petals join together to stun those who notice. Each petal is like a dance of seduction; each petal has a silky surface that begs to be touched and inspected.
While they are magical as cut flowers and performers in the garden, their other life is easily noticed. As they begin their decline, several petals drop with a methodical and often whimsical slow action, then more and more follow. The result is a gracious time-lapse performance of loveliness: piles of luscious petals.
Since macro photography presents an image that often surprises, the peony became my subject for the challenge. This floral model was not just a theme to shoot, but my obsession to deliver some of its unique characteristics. Mostly, the macro is an opportunity to show the flower as an (almost) abstraction.
Usually macro photography shows a subject in a frozen moment that defies what the naked eye can see. It seemingly enlarges (but really is a 1:1 ratio), and often distorts our notion of what we see. Since the background is often out of focus, I wanted to zoom into the peony’s best vantage points–not an easy task with a Smartphone (even an iPhone).
Because I did several photo shoots, you’ll notice that the lighting varies in each photograph–artificial, natural, inside, outside. Also the final blossom (photograph #4) was processed with PhotoStudio, which gave the flowerhead a softly-hued dimension.
Tip of the Day: During this week’s photo shoots (three separate sessions) I tried to come close to the results that I sought, yet frustration mounted. Then I realized that I needed an accessory: the tripod. One of the major issues with a Smartphone is trying to reduce its shake and movement. Even as I steadied or leaned the cellphone, my images were not focused enough. Prior to a Northern California trip two years ago my grandchildren urged me to purchase the iPhone as another tool in my photographic kit. With my new iPhone 4s in hand I consulted the manager of my local camera store. My concern was buying a tripod for it. At that time there were some choices, but none seemed to be adequate to do the job. After he grabbed a few catalogues, I ordered a rather cleverly designed one. It served me well on the trip, but I have not used it much. This week I grabbed it, and it helped me produce a better image. Today there are many more choices on the market. I do suggest that you buy a tripod; it will make a difference in macro shots and other photographic opportunities.
View other entries for today’s macro challenge:
As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Photo Challenge, please contact me.
Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black and White
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week