Another stab at close up photos

Another stab at close up photos

I enjoy trying my hand at taking close up photos. It takes an incredible amount of patience to get the subject in focus and I’m getting better at it. The trip to Stratford last month offered a prime opportunity for photography. I was happy drifting with the weekend, and I didn’t pull the camera out a lot. I mostly pottered about with it, taking lazy photos, most of which aren’t terribly good. A few, however, are worth looking at.

I didn’t do a lot of editing on these photos. A little contrast and brightness adjustments and a bit of cropping seemed to do. I did seem to have a few problems with focus in many photos, which will remain unseen. Not sure what the issue was, but I just couldn’t seem to get it right. Maybe I was too relaxed.

A rose is a rose

Photo of roses in bloom

You can never go wrong with a photo of a rose


The contrast and bokeh affects in this photo thrilled me. It has a deep vibrancy that surprised me when I looked at it on the computer screen. It wasn’t until I blew the roses up on the monitor that I realized out wonderful the outside of a rosebud is.

Close up photo of rose bud getting ready to bloom

Just about ready to pop out of its shell

The little fuzzy white lip around the edges gives the photo a sense of texture. I want to reach out and pat the rose bud.

The bee’s knees

Oh, come on. You grimaced, admit it? I’ve been waiting years to use that line!

Close up photo of a bee pollinating a Black Eyed Susan flower

Lots of bees in the garden that day

Black Eyed Susans are a real pain to photograph. The orange is so intense, it swamps every other colour. I had to do a bit of colour correction on this one, so the bee and petal definition didn’t disappear into a sea of orange. I took quite a few photos of these flowers trying to figure out how to compensate for the overwhelming orangeness. It’s odd, even the shadows were overpowered.

I love taking close up photos of bees. Their wings are like stained glass. When you look at them with a bright flower behind, they are ephemeral. You catch a fleeting glimpse of beauty and they are gone.

Close up photo of a bumble bee backside

I always seem to catch the back end of bees

The edges on the petals have a feathery delicacy to them. I’m pleased as hell they came out so clear. The bees don’t really care if you hover around them. They are busy doing bee stuff and don’t notice people. I get up so close to some of them, I’m surprised they don’t turn and say “working here! Back off”.  Just leave them be and admire them. And no when I first wrote that line, I didn’t notice the pun.

I am beginning to get a clearer idea of back lighting and the position of the sun. I experimented with angles a lot, seeing how the colours and lighting changed as I shifted around. I tried adjusting light and shadow on the bee a bit, so it stood out, but that destroyed the balance between light and shadow on the petals. Turns out it wasn’t the bee that was the focus I wanted; it was the flower itself.

In all her morning glory

Photo of a morning glory against a white brick wall

Loved the contrasts

Honestly, I’m not sure what gives with all the corny headers. Must be the espresso rushing through in my veins.

I loved the contrast in this one. The intense purple against the old, stained white brick, and the bright vibrant greens begged to be photographed. The purple is a bit too much, but I left it because it seemed to capture the mood of the day.

I’m ready for my close-up photo

Photo of purple flowers with a large spider's web in the middle

Webbing and more webbingI was attracted to the mass of webbing in this photo. It looked like a weaver on speed swept through. To my mind, it was a chaotic jumble of threads. Maybe a couple of abandoned spider webs caught up together. Until I looked closer.

Close up photo of spider sitting in the web

Okay, not so little spider

Oh yea. Those are beady little spider eyes staring out from behind the web. I didn’t spot it until I was processing the photos today. Nearly jumped out of my skin when I realised someone was home. I have a bit of a spider phobia. Ok, a big spider phobia. He’s a bit largish too. Not sure how I missed him. Had I known he was there; I would never have gotten that close.  In hindsight, I’m glad he was hidden. The webbing is amazing.

The gardens at Stratford are breathtaking.  Theatres be damned, I’d go back just for the sheer joy of wandering about without any plans.

Yellow daisies & face planting on cement

Yellow daisies & face planting on cement

If you’re wandering around Toronto and see someone fall out of a garden or over a fence, that would be me. I periodically become so fixated on a specific shot, I forget about the small fact that I’m not the most nimble person in the world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve face planted over the years.  It’s a bit embarrassing. But not enough to stop me.

Case in point:

Yellow daisies @ St Clair Subway

Lovely, n’est pas? I took this in the summer of 2014, outside the St Clair subway station. I thought the shot would be wonderful – bright yellow flowers against the red brick. And I was right. There was a wee bit of a problem thought. The flowers were surrounded by a chain link fence.  I ducked under it, got my shots and like a clot tripped coming out of the garden, straight down. It was one of those classic nano oops moments. A nanosecond before I fell, my brain said “oh this isn’t smart” and down I went.  Hit the pavement so hard I cut my knee open and bruised the whole left side of my hand.  Luckily enough some very nice construction workers dodged across the road to help me. I spend a lot of time looking up at concerned young men asking “are you all right ma’am?”  I usually am. But this time I really cut my knee open. That was two year ago and I still have a noticeable scar.

But fab photos! I could have gotten decent ones without climbing over the chain. Believe it or not, I had plunged in trying to get the yellow bee on the yellow daisies.

Yellow daisies @ St Clair Subway with beeAt least I managed to get it before embarrassing myself publicly. Over this past Christmas (2015) I pulled the photos up and pottered around with Photoshop to create this:

Yellow daisies @ St Clair Subway photoshop filters

I used a couple of filters, but mostly the fresco one to create the effect. Came out better than I had hoped. I used it as my background for a long time.

Just think of how much carnage I could cause to myself if I had a DSL camera and a macro lens.


Closeup photography – fall plants & a busy bee

Closeup photography – fall plants & a busy bee

Quite honestly, I’m surprised I’ve not been stung yet. I love taking photos of bees but man they are hard to catch. I have to get up real close with my little smart phone and almost shove the lens up their stingers to get a shot. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t do this so often in some stranger’s garden.  One day I’m going to get stung or arrested, not sure which.

This was taken Sept 2014 in the David Balfour Park, Toronto:

Photo of a bee on purple flowers taken Sept 2014 David Balfour Park

I love it when a photo comes out just right. It took a lot of patience to snag this shot, but well worth it.