Category Archives: Macro Photography

Oak Toad: Anaxyrus Quercicus

I paid a visit to one of the area’s pine savanna areas yesterday morning. I wanted to look around and see if any of the various wild orchids that grow there had appeared yet. While I didn’t find any orchids I was lucky enough to notice a couple of Oak Toads. These are considered the smallest toad in North America mesuring .75 to 1.3 inches in length. A carnivore, they primarily eat insects. Endemic to the southeastern United States, they are found from southeastern Virgina to Florida and west to the Mississippi river. Below are a couple photos of these interesting little toads.

The Oak Toad, Anaxyrus quercicus.

A common toad found in the southeastern Unitied States.

Also posted in General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Daisy Time!

There’s something about Dasies. They make me smile. Sorry but they just do. I was glad to find a few of these lovely little flowers in bloom this afternoon. A simple white and yellow flower I find it interesting to try to find interesting and unique compositions for these little bloom. Below are a few from this afternoons attempt.

Dasies are starting to bloom along the Crystal Coast.

Daisy, a simple yet elegant litte wildflower.

It can be a challenge to find a unique composition of such a common flower.

A wild daisy.

A daisy.

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When All Else Fails Get Creative

Yesterday didn’t go well as far as shooting days go. I forgot to set my alarm and over slept, so ended up blowing off the morning and running errands such as getting groceries and other necessities. For the afternoon I decide to head out on a section of the Neusiok Trail to see if I could find some interesting subjects. To be it was more a scouting trip than a trip where I had high expectations of getting some decent shots, but you never know. The hike was mostly uneventful without a lot of good opportunities to be found. I did, however, notice this plant with really large leaves and interesting patterns and textures in the leaf. I decided to try a few shots using my macro lens. Flat, natural lighting really wasn’t getting me the results I wanted so I decided to try backlighting it with the little LCD light panel I keep in my photo backpack. Sure enough the backlighting gave me the kind of results I had in mind. Depending on the distance I held the light away from the leaf, or the position under it, I’d get slightly different results. Below are my favorites of the leaf.

A backlit leafe makes and intersting abstract when shot with a macro lens.

Sometimes a little thinking and some creativity will result in a good image when nothing else is presenting its self.

Macro photography doesn't need to be restricted to pretty flowers.  The Croatan National Forest is full of excellent subjects.

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Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum)

While out exploring last weekend I came across a small patch of Blue-eyed Grass. A native wild flower of the Carolinas this pretty little flower is a member of the Iris family. I find the combintaion of the blue-violet petals and yellow center quite striking. Here are a couple photos of this lovely little perennial. (There are several different “blue-eyed grasses” so hopefully I identified this one correctly!).

Blue-eyed Grass growing in the Croatan National Forest.

Blue-eyed grass.

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From Fire Springs Life

I made a visit to a pine savanna in the Croatan National Forest. A couple weeks prior to my visit there had been a control burn in the area. It was interesting to see the lush green of new growth springing up from the charred, burnt ground. There’s a special shade to the green of new grasses and ferns… bright… vivid. The grasses, herbs, trees and carnivorous plants of the savanna are dependent upon fire. Without fire shurbs would take over the forest floor. Trees not usually found on the savanna would invade, closing the canopy and robbing the forest floor of life giving sunlight. Even the seeds of the Long Leaf Pine are dependent upon fire to help them start new life. Like the fabled Phoenix these plants rise up from the ashes of the burnt forest floor. The following are a few of my photos from the morning.

Like Africa, North America was once home to vast savanna areas.

A young fren lies atop a charred log on the pine savanna.

A fresh fern and a burnt log.

The Venus Flytrap is an exotic plant native to the pine savanna of eastern North Carolina. Flytraps only occur naturally with a 100 mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina

A Venus Flytrap rises up from the ashes much like the fabled Phoenix.

Also posted in Carnivorous Plants, General Photography, Landscape Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography Tagged , , , , , , , |

Sometimes Conditions Force a Change of Game Plans

My alarm went off well before sunrise yesterday morning. As I pulled myself out of a sleepy state the first thing I did was look out the windows to see how the morning was shaping up. I could see my home was surrounded by a heavy fog. Foggy conditions really weren’t going to be condusive to the photography I’d planned for the morning so I decided to crawl back in bed for a couple hours and wait to see if the fog would burn off.

When I got up the second time the fog was gone but the skies were hidden by heavy, white overcast. This type of sky really doesn’t provide the look I had in mind for my target subject. Rather than blowing off the entire morning I made an adjustment in my plans to better fit the conditions. I realized that things just weren’t condusive for making photos of anything that would include the shy. Landscapes, large animal portraits and birds in flight, many of my favorite photography targets, weren’t really good options for the day. Instead I’d be better off concentrating on subjects that would exclude the sky.

If I could locate some interesting subjects it would be a good morning for macro photography. Since I’d gotten off to a late start I decided to stay close to home… back yard close! A little survey of the area and I found a few subjects I thought might be interesting. Spring is early and life is starting to blossom, bloom and explode in the plant world. I found these maple tree seed pods that were colorful and that had interesting textures.

When skies are bland a better plan is to concentrate on macro subjects.

Maple tree seed pods are colorful in the spring.



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Also posted in General Photography, Nature Photography Tagged , , , , |

Autumn Hold Out

I visited the Pine Cliff section of the Neusiok Trail yesterday afternoon. It’s really amazing to see how hurricane Irene resculpted the landscape along that section of trail. While I have hiked a portion of the trail since the hurricane, I pushed further yesterday than I had before. Long sections of the trail that ran along the top of a bluff are now gone. Washed away into the river. In places you can find remnants of boats, broken and scattered amoungst the trees. It truely is astounding to see the power that nature has. While on the hike I noticed several hold-outs from autumn. There are still a few bright red and yellow leaves hanging on. While taking a detour from the old trail… since there wasn’t really a choice… and taking the beach for a ways I came across an old weathered Cypress tree laying on it’s side. I liked the textures of the wood and knew I wanted to make a photo using it. On the return trip I stopped and placed a red leaf on the log for a bit of photography. Below area a couple of the resulting images.

A hold-out from autumn, a bright red leaf rests on a weathered piece of dead-wood.

A red leaf on an old and weathered log.

Also posted in General Photography, Nature Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sea Shells

I had fun playing with autumn leaves on a light box project. So much fun, in fact, that I decided to try it with some sea shells. While the leaves lay fairly flat on the light box surface, the shells are anything but flat. The addition of depth and the amazing textures found on shells made the project both a bit more challenging as well as a tad more enjoyable. Below are a couple iamges from the shoot.

Sea shells on a light table, an interesting photographic project. Sea shells and light.

Sea shells on a light table.

Also posted in General Photography Tagged , , , |

Autumn Leaves

Yesterday I did a little book review of Mike Moats’ ebook, “Macro Workshop.” It only seems fitting to post a couple images inspired by his work. Here are several autumn leaves laid-out and arranged on top of a light box. For folks that might not know what a light box or light table is, it is a device that used to be used to view and sort slides… some of you probably remember film, right?. They’re also used to do tracings. In this case I use the light box to create back lighting for the leaves, helping to expose the veins and textures in their structure. I used a macro lens to make this photo, with the camera mounted on a tripod and the shutter triggered via a cable release.

Autumn Leaves. Autumn Leaves.

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Summer’s Last Hold-Outs

I noticed a couple hold-outs from summer while out in the yard today. I couldn’t resist making a couple photos before they disappear till next year.

The year's last puffball, a hold-out from summer.

One of summers last hold-outs.

Fall's last puffball.

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