Pink Mallow

Flowers, Lightroom, Macro, Photoshop

(1/250, f/7.1, ISO 100)

I was given a pink mallow not knowing when I planted it what it is was or would eventually look like. It started to bloom in July and instantly became a bee magnet. When it wasn’t full of insects seeking its pollen, it became a great model for test photography. I used it to learn more about aperture settings, flash use, Lightroom adjustments, and Photoshop editing.

(1/125, f/32, ISO 400)

The mallow produces many clusters of four- or five-petal flowers. It looks decent from distance but the closeups of the individual flowers were more interesting.

(1/125, f/13, ISO 250)

(1/320, f/2.8, ISO 100)

They don’t all unfold like this. In fact this was the only flower I saw that opened up this symmetrically. You probably wouldn’t recognize it as a mallow. I returned later to take more shots but it had already completed its debut.

(1/250, f/5, ISO 100)

(1/250, f/5, ISO 100)

Presence > Clarity > -60

I usually move the clarity to a positive number (20-30), but in the negative numbers, it softens the image and makes it sort of misty.

(1/320, f/5.6, ISO 100)

The shape of the flower and the way the light caught it made this one stand out.

(1/200, f/4, ISO 160)

(1/200, f/22, ISO 4000)

A light rain created small water drops, the ideal effect for the subject. Additional extra effects were produced in Photoshop by Gaussian Blur on the background plus Layer Effects on the flowers to make the glow. ISO 4000 was an issue, so the flowers were rephotographed three hours later using a flash.

(1/200, f/25, ISO 200)

Soft drop shadow and new background color in Photoshop, followed by editing in Lightroom to brighten the center and replace brown spots with off white.

Cluster of three with water drops (1/200, f/22, ISO 200)

The flash on the camera didn’t create very bad shadows of the central parts. One of the advantages of flash besides making the subject brighter is making the background darker. Flash exposure had to be maxed out at 2 on my T5i for the higher apertures (f/22 and f/25); it struggled to get enough light at f/32.

Some of the drop shots were taken in the rain. If you wait too long after it has started raining, the water gets absorbed into the petals, and leaves a dark mark there that weakens the image. Several were removed in Lightroom.

Zoom Exploration to Neglected Beauty: High Definition Macro Flower Photography Images

Flowers, Macro

Macro view of small purple flower (1/800 f/2.8 ISO 160)

The challenge of macro photography is to find beauty you didn’t know existed or missed simply because you weren’t paying attention. The fun is finding something more beautiful at a micro level than by regular viewing, or at least more interesting. That is the artistic part of the equation. The scientific or technical goal is to get the right part(s) in sharp focus and the ideal section(s) with sufficient Depth Of Field (DOF).

1/800 f/3.5 ISO 100

The blurred, vivid, dark pink petals provide a great contrast to the yellow pollen and complement the deep red wiry connectors.

1/800 f/2.8 ISO 160

These images were all shot with the 100mm 2.8 Canon Lens set to the closest distance setting (3.1).

At the Heart of an Iris with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

Flowers, Irises, Macro

Iris flower super macro (1/800 f/2.8 ISO 800)

6:15 am. Softness and simplicity are the two overarching features at the core of this delicate iris flower. (Click for full size.) The well-regarded if not legendary Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens allows a very deep, soft fade at its most extreme DOF setting. I don’t do a lot of macro photography, and it seems difficult to see and therefore shoot a miniature scene pleasing to the eye or a stimulant to the imagination.

The fade dominates this particular shot, with the subject taking only about a third of the view. However, the mood is can create doesn’t happen (for me) until you see it at 1200×1800 pixels.

A regular iris shot is full of fine detail and soft texture. This closeup view takes the edge of those characteristics and possibly completely removes the sense of context to the point where it looks so abstract you can’t immediately recognize it as an iris.

The above yellow iris was an outdoor shot; indoors a few macros below were also caught. First I tried to find a general sense of shape to frame the picture; I went  with the circular shape (chopped at the top and bottom). Then I tried to find an element to be the focal point; I picked the part that is about center and to the right. Next I experimented with different DOF settings. For each shot I wanted the ISO to be maximum (100), and about maximum brightness without blowing out the highlights.

Bearded Iris Macro (30 sec f/32 ISO 100)

1.0 f/4.5 ISO 100

30 sec f/22 ISO 100

The last image was my preferred shot because the focal point is more central. I do a lot of closeup (non-macro) photography at f/22, and it worked for the macro here, too. But the limit shot at f/32 was also attractive. The f/4.5 blew out more detail but it makes a softer image more appealing to some viewers.

Blue-and-white iris core macro (1/800 f/2.8 ISO 100 0.31m)

The first day this iris opened, it opened up further than average, providing the opportunity to get a nice core shot before any insects could get to it. However, it still needed about ten minor edits in Lightroom to clean it up slightly to become virtually blemish-free. That’s always the risk of the macro: finding damage in the details.

White Iris with Drops of Water in the Morning After the Rain

Flowers, Irises, Macro, Nature

Beautiful white iris (1/160 f/8.0 ISO 400)

This beauty was found at 7:20 am this morning. I would have preferred to wait until the sun brightened it up to ISO 100, but the softer, shadow-free look isn’t so bad, and this is the first white iris of the summer to bloom in my garden, so there was no hesitation.


Water drops closeup

1/1600 f/3.2 ISO 100

The shutter speed was changed to twice as fast as usual for this shot. The wind speed had picked up (20 km/h with gusts to 40 km/h).

1/800 f/3.2 ISO 100

This iris got knocked over by the persistent high winds, so I cut it and put it in a vase for indoor test “studio” shots. These were all captured on a tripod.

1/6 f/13 ISO 100

The backlighting on this creates a different feel. Different DOF settings below:

1/10 f/13 ISO 100

1/40 f/6.3 ISO 100

1/800 f/2.8 ISO 500

Handheld shot to see how two look instead of just one.

Macro Photos of Bearded Irises

Flowers, Irises, Macro

Super Macro of Bearded Iris (1/800 f/2.8 ISO 250)

Macro images of bearded irises are typically easy to identify, so I wanted to make it a little more interesting by getting a little closer than usual and make it so you probably wouldn’t guess what this shot was the macro for, unless you’d previously captured the same flower in the same way. Below are two more photos of the same iris.

Closeup of Brown Bearded Iris (Yellow & Purple)

Brown Iris Blooming (1/80 f/10 ISO 100)