Cactus Macro photography

28 07 2009

I realized that I haven’t seen much macro photographies of cactuses in bloom, to be honest I don’t remember that I have seen a one. And cactuses have such a nice blossoms!

My wife has planted a lot of cactuses before we got married and she still has about two dozens of them. Their blooming season just started and so I decided to take some close-up and macro photos of them. The first one which I present today is of genus Echinopsis (probably Echinopsis multiplex), a cactus that is home in South America, blooms only once per year, has usually only one blossom  and blooms 1 – 2 days. The blossom has trumpet-like shape, it’s around 20cm long and it has around 8cm in diameter by the blooming end. The centre of the blossom is bright green, petals are rather greyish around the center and changing into pink in the direction to petal edges. At the end the colours were not much appealing to me so I turned photos into B&W.

Here you can see the centre of the blossom with lot of details.

Echinopsis-eyriesii-I

1/160 sec. @ 100 mm, f/5, ISO 200

Following photos are rather abstract in my opinion.

Echinopsis-eyriesii-II

1/800 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4.5, ISO 200

Echinopsis-eyriesii-III

1/125 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 200

Technical information: all photos were taken with Canon EOS 450D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM lens, hanheld and under natural conditions.

Let me know what you think and enjoy these summer days!

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13 responses

28 07 2009
Anita

I think macros of cactus is an excellent idea. I especially like the top image: beautiful composition, sharp details in the center, great lighting which causes my eye to go right to the center of the flower.

28 07 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thank you Anita. I’m glad that you like it.

28 07 2009
Jemny

I would like to see these pictures in colour…. the very last is quite interesting….

28 07 2009
Tomas Turecek

Here is coloured version of third photo.

29 07 2009
Jemny

I like the colour version very much ….

28 07 2009
Bernie Kasper

Very nice work Tomas, I really liked the third one as well, especially the color version !!

28 07 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thanks Bernie. Number 3 is my favourite as well but definitely in B&W. I don’t like the greyish tint in petal leaves in colour version.
Here it can be nicely seen how different people have different tastes… and that’s great!

29 07 2009
Barbara

Love all these, Tomas. In looking at your f-stop, one suggestion would be to stop down more. Since your image fills the frame, you can shoot at f/11 or f/16 or f/150 if you want (kidding) and get everything inside the flower in focus. You did a great job on these and I love the B&W! F-stop choices are subjective so your choice is the one that matters! Play around with that and see what you like.

29 07 2009
Tomas Turecek

Barbara, thank you for your comment and I’m really glad that you like these photos. Considering your f-stop suggestions: I like very shallow depth of field when I focus on the subject that I want to present and let everything else blur with just enough details allowing viewer to distinguish what it is. I like when subject(s) out of focus gives only a hint what it might be and viewer’s brain must complete the image.
Here it is seen in photos 1 and 3. I’m really happy with 3rd one where I wouldn’t change anything, it’s just right for my taste. First image has 2 possibilities: one is presented here, with only limited focus, second option would be go to f/10 or more and have whole centre of the flower sharp. I chose selective focus mainly because of lack of tripod and light but I’m also really happy with the result. On the second photo I would add more DOF if I could shoot it again but as I wrote, these cactuses blooms only once per year. Hope this explanation helps.

29 07 2009
Barbara

Yes, how often I wish I could go back and shoot something again, and …… can’t! Yes, depth of field is a matter of taste. Just experiment with several and then you have what you want in the mix. I too often look at closeups and wish I had just a LITTLE more in focus, so I’ve learned a lesson here hopefully. The main thing is: shoot a lot and have fun!

#3 is my favorite too!

30 07 2009
edvatza

Beautiful work, Tomas. And a bold move converting the images to B&W. I think it works well but I do long to see the color for comparison. That said, the selective focus and detail are excellent!

30 07 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thanks Ed for stopping by and for such kind words! I already posted colour version of 3rd image (a couple comments above) but as you’re not the only one who wants to see it, I’ll post all 3 very soon.

1 08 2009
Echinopsis cactus in colour « Close Nature

[…] cactus in colour 1 08 2009 When I posted black & white macro photos of Echinopsis cactus I haven’t thought that you will want to see them in colour so much. As I wrote I transformed […]

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