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Amherst Orchid Show 2012, Part 1. February 26, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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The end of February is usually a time for us New Englanders to long for an escape from the grip of winter – her harsh winds and interminable whiteness have by this point lost the pristine magic they possessed in December.

This year it would be disingenuous to martyr ourselves on the cross of a harsh season stoically endured, but still, a little color is welcomed amidst the dismal browns of this Un-Winter, and with that in mind Susan and I headed down to Northampton for our yearly visit to the Amherst Orchid Show:

What good fortune it is that many varieties of orchids bloom in what is our winter season!  Their vibrant variety is a marvel of form and color, functionality disguised as flamboyance.

Here are a double handful of shots from our day:

(That one’s way  too scrotal for polite company, but if you’re here I’ll assume you’re looser than that.)

And no, I didn’t get their names; I was too busy feasting my eyes to work that hard.  My apologies to the growers who deserve more respect than that, but hey, I’m just looking and loving the fruits of their considerable labors.

All of these are courtesy of Ziggy, my 50mm Sigma macro lens.  He’s fast at f2.8 (though I didn’t open him up that far, opting instead for a little more depth of field,) but I worried about his lack of Image Stabilization technology.  Most of these shots were very slow for the shaky hands of this old dust-farter.  As a consequence of my concern for slow shutter speeds, I shot most everything here at two stops under what my on-board exposure meter told me to do (Hey, I’m  the boss here!) and brought the levels up in Photoshop post-processing.  The resulting images have a lot less background noise than they otherwise might, which I think is an improvement over last year’s effort.

All-in-all, I’m pleased with the results.

If I get to them, there will be another rack of shots coming.  We’ll see what happens between now and their appearance and adjust things accordingly.

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In The Rain. August 6, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in macro photos.
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I spent the morning being productive at the homestead, then headed out on errands and noodling, as is my wont.  I thought I might find interesting light and, after taking care of the necessities, headed down to the Chesterfield Gorge.

But by the time I got there it had begun to rain, and the light was flat as a pancake.

C’est la vie.

Of course I shouldered a bag and went to have a look anyway, and found this:

A Polyphemus moth caterpillar, I concluded after doing a brief web search.  Feel free to correct me if you know differently.

I didn’t have Ziggy, my 50mm macro lens with me, and shot this with Ollie zoomed to 105mm, then cropped it hard; the resulting image is sufficient for web use but will never deserve to be printed.

Still, it’s a fun shot to look at; old Mop-face there looks highly irregular to this mammal, and I had to coax it onto my hand to lower it for this shot – when I first saw it, it was head-high on a maple tree and upward bound at impressive speed, and if I hadn’t managed to lower it I would never have gotten the photo.

But man, it was creepy holding it – between how its suction feet glommed around my fingers to the perhaps irrational fear that it would bite me (don’t I know anything? )

🙂

Details, Details! March 15, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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More juicy bits from the Bulb Show, all up-close-and-personal-like.

To set the stage, we’re in the greenhouses at Smith College during their annual  March event:

…and we’re going in for a closer look:

…I know, this (and possibly others among the above) isn’t a bulb, but it was there, and now it’s here!  🙂

And three more tulips for dessert:

And now, off to bed!

😉

 

 

Amherst Orchid Show, 2011. February 28, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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OK folks, it’s time for Our Yearly Orchasm!

The Amherst Orchid Show, held again this year in Northampton (!) is a sight for winter-weary eyes – a large room full of outrageous form and color, and stuffed full of delighted Flower Zombies milling about and muttering, “Oh, Harold, look at THIS one!”

At first glance it’s a cacophony of color:

…but like much of what’s complex in the world, it divulges its secrets to those willing to take it apart.

A constellation of stars rode high above a ruby sunset:

…as a choir of Angels descended from their Heavenly trellis:

…and a family looked up in slack-jawed amazement :

There were simple single blossoms:

…and some that were fantastical in form:

There were Lady’s Slippers:

…and classics of the family Orchidaceae:

There were interesting pairings of climbers:

…and standers:

…the depths of which caused palpitations in otherwise staid admirers:

…and still others which challenged Elvis for the title of King of the Velvet:

…and some so other-worldly as to seem like beautiful fictions:

I think that’s my favorite shot from the day.

A lot of these takes were in the 15-30 second range; I’d love a chance to get in there without the crowds milling about, as even the breezes of passing people caused enough motion in the more delicate specimens to make photographing them a low-probability prospect.  Nonetheless, I got better shots this year than last, and I’m pretty jazzed about that.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed viewing these as much as I enjoyed taking them.

G’night, now!

😉

When You Say “Bud…” February 13, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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…I think of flowers.

Yeah, I know, I just got my ass kicked out of the Real Man’s Club, but ask me if I care!

Anyway, flowers float my boat.  Blame it on the testosterone, but I find them sensual, even sexual, in a way which I would never admit to a stranger.

Good thing we’re so close, eh?

Ahem.

Lest you doubt my view of the Flower World, I present as evidence these shots of the Amaryllis blooming in our kitchen.

Exhibit A, the red folds of a petal worthy of a kiss:

…Lips beckoning you to come inside:

…deep inside, surrounded by beauty:

This might just be proof that God is a man.   Or maybe a lesbian.

Hey, we report, you decide!

There’s more than one bud swelling here tonight…

…and one flower fully open:

These warranted a trip to the textile store for a few yards of black backdrop, which you’ll surely be seeing more of now that I have it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take a nice cold shower.

 

A Wooly Bear! October 19, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Hey, there’s one now!

This little thing will become a beautiful Isabella moth.  But for now, it’s only cute as a button!

Hope you like it, and see you again soon.  😉

This Bud’s For You! October 13, 2010

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I got these shots yesterday evening on a hit-and-run mission.  The light was running low and the wind was blowing, so I ditched the tripod, bumped up the ISO and dove right into the hearts of some of the season’s last flowers, concentrating on shallow depth of field and complimentary background blurs.

The resulting images are a bit different from what I usually aspire to, perhaps a bit more like art and less like documentation of the natural world.

I hope you like them.

Roses:

Dahlias:

A variegated blossom, didn’t catch the name:

Another I don’t know, but whose sexy bits beckoned:

…and lastly, a view down the slender throat of a morning glory:

Maybe it’s just me, but I find there’s something especially sensual about these very personal views of flowers which are merely pretty when viewed from a more respectable distance.

Ruby Tuesday – Autumn Up Close. October 11, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Here in New England, autumn is a time when garishly-colored garments become camouflage; bright reds and yellows and oranges melt into the background as the local hardwoods compete in a Queen For A Day pageant of ridiculous colors.

Well, usually.  This year has been pretty subdued; a dry summer and early frost turned things uncharacteristically brown, and it’s likely that seasonal visitors were underwhelmed.

But still, if one looks closely enough, there are snippets and bits of color as bright as Disney, but rendered with a veracity which only Nature can provide.

Here are a few macro shots from this past weekend.

Sphagnum moss set against a bright Ruby maple leaf:

A detail from the heart of a purple aster:

…with the Ruby being propitiously provided by a red maple leaf in the background.

And then, my personal favorite, a tiny blue aster blossom set against a sugar maple leaf:

…I know, the colors of these three shots fight amongst themselves, but they all followed the theme of the meme, so they all got past my editor.

I’m gonna have to talk to that guy…

For more Rubylicious  photos, visit Mary over at Work of the Poet.

Hiding, …Sorta. August 5, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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“meeneemeeneemeeneemeeneemeenee…

yoooo can’t seeeeeeee meeeeeeeeeeee… :”

A bashful Ladybug “hides” from my lens (well, at least she can’t see me! ) on a yellow tansy.

Two of my favorite things in one shot!

🙂

From The Bridge Of Flowers… May 13, 2010

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…a pair of Gerbera Daisies, odd little beauties with three inch blossoms on four inch stems:

…and:

That last one’s my favorite; the damage from last night’s freeze only makes this photo more real to me, its irregularities and imperfections bringing it on home.

Probably should have saved these for Ruby Tuesday, but there’s something to be said about timeliness, and there’s always another Red Thing just around the corner.

😉