Backgrounds should compliment and not distract the viewer from the main subject. When they are out of focus they add an element of dimension to the image. These two images of Ibis, at Flaminco Gardens in their Rookery area, cleary demonstrate impressionistic, out-of-focus backgrounds. Not sure if they’re too distracting; but for me they add an element of design not usually found in images of birds. Enjoy or not; let me know please.
The Winged Loosestrife’s (Lythrum alatum) vibrant color stood out on the cliff’s wall across from our descending path to Wild Cat Canyon in Starved Rock State Park. Only later when I was home and reviewing these images did I realize the plant was a resting spot for this winged insect. Such is the joy of photography. My eyes often miss seeing all the subjects in my compositions. Sometimes what I capture is distracting to my desired focus (unwanted elements in the background). This added subject was a wonderful surprise.
My initial thought was that this insect was a dragonfly or damselfly. But those insects have two pairs of wings. I am guessing that this is some variety of Crane Fly (Tipula) instead. The other joy of nature photography is that I am always learning!
I zoomed in to get the original picture (bottom image) and found a new and more interesting composition when I zoomed in still closer (first image).
My macro lens is one of my favorites because with its use I have permission to stare at others. I can spend time intimately observing the tiny, abundant insect communities that most often are ignored. Sometimes I am surprised when my camera captures details and subjects that were unnoticed by me. This image is a prime example of such recorded evidence. I was focused on the Comma butterfly. I saw the one fly above the butterfly. I did not see the one below. And I absolutely did not realize the “spots” on the adjacent leaf were alive!
So much goes on around us all the time that is oblivious to us. Such findings make me keenly aware that my ability to see the world and make sense of it continually needs practice. This is true with people as well as nature.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) graces the walls edge along Lincoln Park’s lakefront pathway. I call this plant by its nickname, “Cornflower“. Typical of many plant names both Chicory and Cornflower identify several unique species. Chicory shown here is an invasive Eurasian weed. Its cheerful blue flower is a welcome sight along an otherwise gray-toned location.
These Iris twins were potted alongside a storefront. Different focus points reveal nature’s in-depth consideration to details and design.
Rules can be broken. Artists, including photographers, know that light objects draw the most attention in a scene. Careful composition makes sure that subjects are either the lightest item in a scene or they are placed inside the lightest area to insure the viewer clearly knows who/what is most important. These two images break that rule; both images have the subject very dark with lighter areas away from the subject.
The effect of placing the subject outside the brightest area forces the viewer to look at the entire image. Eyes will wander through the image and finally rest on the dark subject. These both are complicated scenes, with multiple interest areas to be viewed and enjoyed. Despite these complicated scenes, the primary subject in each image is clearly evident.
The fuzzy seed heads are Goldenrod, whose flowers were a short while ago bright golden yellow. The background is the golden flowers of Jerusalem Artichoke, unintentionally reminding us of the recent blaze that was Goldenrod.
The long lens allowed for a short depth of field making the Goldenrod in focus and the background Jerusalem Artichoke to fade in detail. Despite the strong yellow color in a large portion of the image, the contrast in focus makes it clear to the viewer that the attention belongs to the seed heads in this image.
Photographing the same scene but choosing a different composition guides one to select a different focal point; the main subject matter is changed by the composition choice. The image with the bridge centered leads the eye to the skyscrapers. The image with less skyline reveals that there is a person on the bridge. They are in the first image; but the composition didn’t “lead you” to notice them before.
I first became aware of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) when I toured a perennial farm outside of Racine Wisconsin. They recommended it as dependable, colorful addition to any perennial Midwest garden. The native plants in this image adjoin the migratory bird preserve in Lincoln Park, along Lake Michigan. Their presence, just a few blocks from our new condo, makes me feel more at home in this bustling urban neighborhood.
These images show more context of Jerusalem Artichoke to their environment and stages of bloom than the previous single image with the spider and dangling petal. Jerusalem Artichokes are one of a multitude of late-summer, early fall, sunflowers.
For those that like to eat what they grow, check out the following site: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vegetables/growing-jerusalem-artichokes-zmaz10onzraw.