Hydrangea: Capturing its Beauty

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When I pick up my camera to take a photo it is because a scene catches my eye – there is something special about it, an inherent beauty. I enjoy macro photography because the parts frequently define, or help me portray, that something special. Occasionally I am disappointed in my macro shots; and when I have gone back to photograph the whole I am happier with the results. Freeman Patterson (in his book Photography of Natural Things) says we sometimes need to include the context of natural things in order to show its beauty. I’m slowly learning when I can get up close and personal and when I have to step back to include the bigger picture.

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This post is about getting up close and personal. I bought a lime green hydrangea bouquet the other day and I took it outside yesterday, where the light is better. I wanted to experiment with my 18-200 mm lens and a 36 mm extension tube.

My passion for macro photography is probably a result of my love of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings of flowers. I saw some of her originals and they took my breath away. My macro photography is my feeble attempt to create the same type of beauty with my camera. Do I set my bar high, or what?

I am really excited with the results. I did a little cropping on a few of the photos and very little post-processing, mostly increasing exposure.

I am thinking about what I can do differently next time. I haven’t used a tripod because I find I have to frequently move the camera in and out, instead of using the telephoto or auto focus, in order to get within focus range. My images will be sharper when I figured that out. I also am finding that extension tubes need a lot more light. I’m going to try this lens/tube combination in morning or late afternoon sun to decrease noise.

If you have used extension tubes, I would love to hear what worked for you. If you have written a post, you can leave a link in the comments.

Late Summer Garden

Gee whiz, is it already late summer? I don’t feel it but there are signs that are saying so. I have seen a few trees with leaves turning bright red and orange – not like they are dying but like they are anticipating fall. It seems really early for lower Michigan.

As always at this time of year the Blackeyed Susans are stealing the show in the front garden. Their bright color and prolific blooming create waves of yellow so that the other lingering flowers of summer don’t have to work as hard.

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In the back, my Limelight Hydrangea is tall and strong with large blossoms. In the late evening shade they glow, and if I happen to be up during a moon-light night they look like they have been wired with electricity. The nights have been cool and I have been sleeping soundly so I have missed that sight – and because sleep is so important for my daytime well-being I won’t be setting my alarm for it.

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A part of me isn’t ready to let go of summer, but in the garden I have begun to feel like fall. I recognize my late-summer-gardening attitude kicking in. I don’t dead-head as much and I am not focused on new blooms about to unfold. Late summer seems to allow me to be more relaxed and I like that. Hubby and I finished up the spring weeding and got the last of the mulch spread this past week. Isn’t it funny how our aging bodies require that we not be as hung up on seasonal schedules. Being retired also helps because we know we have tomorrow if we are too tired or achy to complete it today. And if it doesn’t get done, well that will be okay too. So far the seasons have happened without my help.