The Elephant Ear Plant is native to Southeast Asia and Polynesia. The leaves are large and attractive. However, they really come into their own when backlit. Here, I was attracted to the abstract shapes that were visible in the leaf and the supporting veins when the light passed through it in just the right way.
The Blazing Star, or Liatris spicata, is a prairie flower and, as such, grows mainly in the Midwest. But it does grow in one Western Pennsylvania location.
Millions of years ago a prairie was cut near Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, by a receeding glacier. That location is now called Jennings Environmental Center and in late July and early August each year the Blazing Stars can be found in full bloom. I visit Jennings to photograph the flowers each year. There are a multitude of Blazing Stars and they are mixed in with many other prairie flowers, so the challenge is to find a way to isolate them from each other and from the morass of background plants.
As can be seen in the photograph, the plant blooms from one end to the other and there are never fresh open blooms along the entire stalk at once.
Cornus florida species
I found these beautiful pink dogwood blossoms right along the roadside in Ohio's Cuyahoga National Park. I pre-visualized a photograph of a grouping of three flowers with only one of them in sharp focus. It took a good deal of time to find an appropriate grouping where three flowers were unobstructed and at the appropriate distances apart so that only one would be rendered sharply.
An abstract close-up view of the flowing pink petals of a cyclamen.
What is commonly known as the grape hyacinth is actually not a hyacinth at all. It is a member of the genus Muscari.
I found a few purple irises growing at the edge of a stream. I spent a good deal of time working on the camera position to try to get a nice clean background that didn't detract from the beautiful simplicity of the flower. Working to get a good composition and a clean background can really make or break a photograph.
I positioned the camera relatively high so that the water behind and in the distance from the flower would serve as the background. The sky was blue and thus the water itself had a bluish tonality, complementing the flower.
Native to Africa, the Canna Lily is in reality neither a lily nor a Canna species plant. Years after the name was given, it became apparent to botanists that its relationship to Canna was more distant than initially thought. However, its common name stuck and has never changed.
Though the flower of the Canna Lily is certainly beautiful, here I was drawn to the pattern and graceful shape of its unfurling leaf. One of the challenges as a photographer is to work through the obvious (yes, I also took a photo of the flower), but not to simply stop there. Once the obvious has been dealt with, I try to spend time exploring my subject more deeply.
Yellow Sunflower II
Backlighting provides one of the most dramatic types of light, particularly when it streams through a translucent object. When I saw this tulip being backlit by the sun, I decided to put the point of focus on the area where the stem turns into flower and let the rest of the bloom simply explode into a blur of yellow flames.
Yellow and Green
For me, the leaves in this photograph seem to play as important a role as the flower itself.
Reaching For The Sky
Why the title "Windows" for this image? To me, the shadow of the flowers pistil looked like the shadow of a person seen through a translucent white window shade. It felt like a voyeuristic look into someone's 'private space'.
Botanicals In Color
During the slideshow, click on the gray 'i' on the upper right for more information about the image.
As a photographer, I am drawn to strong graphic compositions. Perhaps this explains why I have always been so intrigued by the astounding array of lines, shapes, and colors that are offered by flowers and plants. When I photograph botanicals, I view them not so much as living things but as abstract compositional elements.