Tag Archives: macro

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.

Posted in General Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers Also tagged , , , , , , |

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.

Posted in Carnivorous Plants, General Photography, Landscape Photography, Macro Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography Also 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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Posted in General Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography Also 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.

Posted in General Photography, Macro Photography Also 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.

Posted in Macro Photography Also tagged |

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.

Posted in General Photography, Macro Photography, Wildflowers Also tagged , , , , |

Tiny Tree Frogs

I was visiting the hiking trails in the Emerald Woods park of Coast Guard Road in Emerald Isle the other morning When I disovered serveral tiny Green Tree Frogs. I have to admit the litte frogs were quite cute, though not over cooperative about being photographed. I was shooting from a small wooden foot bridge, putting me at a bit of a disadvantage compositionally. The bridge, combined with the little frogs’ nervousness, also made it tough to get close for a really nice image. None the less I did what I could to get a couple shots of these cute little amphibians.

Less than the size of a dime, a very small Green Tree Frog.

Green Tree Frog at Emerald Woods Park, Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

Posted in General Photography, Macro Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , |

Fungus Among Us (I Know… an Old Pun)

I took a little hike along a section of the Neusiok Trail the other morning… specifically the section from NC 306 and heading towards the Pine Cliff Recreation Area. I turned just a little before reaching the shelter along Cahooque Creek… roughly a four mile round trip. It’s an interesting stretch of trail with a lot more decidious trees that I’m used to seeing around here. The one exception to that being the Island Creek Forest Walk trail, but that’s a topic for another day.

So far there’s not a lot of autumn color showing-up along the Crystal Coast. Perhaps in another week or two. There were, however, a variety of mushrooms growning and the side of the trail. Seemed like a good time to give my 100mm, f/2.8 macro lens a bit of a workout. The following are a few of my favorites from the hike.

A mushroom surrounded by pine cones in the Croatan National Forest.

This photo is kind of fun as it looks like the larger mushroom is sheltering the smaller one.

Three mushrooms grow along the Neusiok Trail, Coastal Carolina.

Wild mushroom and pine cones.

Two mushrooms in the Croatan National Forest.

A mushroom peeks out from beneath the leaves.

Posted in Hiking Trail, Macro Photography, Nature Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Dead Leaves Can Be Interesting Subjects

While hiking a portion of the Neusiok Trail this morning I came across some pools of yellowish water covering some dead, rotting leaves. The smell coming from the puddles was less than pleasant and the leaves were covered with a white substance… probably part of the decaying process. I thought the pattern, color and texture was interesting so made an image. I don’t know about you but I think it works.

Dead leaves can be an interesting subject for macro photographers.

Posted in General Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

I’m Not a Bug Guy

I’m not a bug guy so when I tell you the images below are of a Long Tailed Skipper keep that in mind. I could easily have the identification totally wrong. Also, since bugs aren’t my thing, I wouldn’t offer these as great examples of what macro photos of butterfiles and moths should look like. They’re what I like… some soft focus areas, aka selective focus. I suspect that “bug guys” would want a more documentary shot with the entire, or at least most of the animal in focus. I didn’t shoot these to illustrate textbooks or encyclopedias. I shot them to please myself.

When you think about it that’s exactly what photographers should be doing… expressing themselves. The exception, of course, is when creating a commissioned work or while on assignment. Also, those striving to sell their works as fine art or for editorial uses do need to keep in mind what sells. But even then, you have to stretch your artisitc legs from time to time and make images that make you happy. If it isn’t fun… if you can’t express your vision, what’s the point?

I give you a Long Tailed Skipper (maybe) as photographed by a non-bug guy:

I'm not a but bug guy but I do find them interesting.

Long Tailed Skipper

This may not be the correct way to photograph a Long Tailed Skipper but I like it.

Selective focus is something I enjoy on macro photos.

Posted in General Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography Also tagged , , , , , , |