20 08 2009

Today I would like to present here photos of a cactus of genus Parodia, also called Notocactus. The genus has about 50 species with beautiful fragile blossoms with colours ranging from white/grayish through yellow and pink to bright red. The one in my wife’s collection bloomed some 2 weeks ago with wonderful bright yellow blossoms with reddish petal tips and fantastic purple pistils. I couldn’t resist to take a couple of photos.


1/500 sec. @ 100mm, f/5.6, ISO 200


1/125 sec. @ 100mm, f/13, ISO 200


1/200 sec. @ 100mm, f/6.3, ISO 100

Technical details: all photos were taken with Canon EOS 450D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM lens.

I hope you like it. Enjoy the ending summer!


A calla lily (Zantedeschia)

12 08 2009

I bought this flower (of genus Zantedeschia) to my wife couple months ago. It was blooming very nicely so I took following photos but maybe a week or two later it loose the blossoms and leaves’ colour started to change to yellow. Nowadays it’s outside in our garden bloom-less and we wait if it will survive or not. I hope that yes because it’s  really nice flower.

To mention something about it I can say that it has very nice curved (and sometimes curled) leaves in colour of dark green with white spots, blossoms are rather big with thick petals and they can be found in various beautiful colours which varies from immaculate white through yellow, pink and red to very dark violet/purple with tints of black.  But beware, it’s very poisonous and its poison is so strong that it can kill a pet or even a child when a part of it is swallowed!


1/125 sec. @ 150mm, F10, ISO 800


1/50 sec. @ 111mm, F10, ISO 800


~ Floral Curves Series ~
1/200 sec. @ 165mm, F4, ISO 200

The last image is an abstract of these beautiful colours and it belongs to my Floral Curves Series.

Technical information: all images were taken with Canon EOS 450D, Canon EF L IS USM 70-200mm F4 lens and Hoya close-up +4 filter.

Your comments are really appreciated. Enjoy the summer while it is still here!

Low light macro photography

8 08 2009

I love those moments in the evenings when wind calms down and everything is basking in the last rays of light. The sun is slowly going down, everything is absolutelly still, not a single grass blade moves, and the light changes from harsh white to soft and soothing molten gold. These magical moments are quite short, usually about one hour or less before a sunset so it does not give a photographer too much time. More over it seems that wind rules all over the world this year and such a calm evenings are very rare, I think that I will not be far from truth if I say that I could count them on a fingers of both hands.

Yesterday was one of these evenings. I managed to get outside maybe half an hour before sunset so the sun was already pretty low. I was not sure what I wanted to shoot so I first went to our meadow and took a couple of shots of  a wild carrot there but it was not what I was looking for. I walked around our garden when I spotted some spent flower that attracted me. It had very interesting parts with seeds that looked like small cages with balls inside. I took few shots and went home because the sun already set.

When I downloaded photos from camera to a computer I saw this:


~ Charon’s Lantern ~
1/125 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 200

Technical note: this photo was taken with Canon EOS 450D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM lens. It is almost unprocessed, only levels were changed in Photoshop to enahnce a contrast a little bit.

In the very first moment I was disappointed because of the lack of light in the background but immediately after the disappointment I felt amazement! I immediately realized that I like it much more with the dark background than if there would be some hint of colourful meadow. The first word that popped up in my mind when I was looking at this image was ” Lantern”, then “a lantern on a boat”, then I thought about the darkness in the background as a river, dark river… a Styx perhaps, and the “Charon’s Lantern” title was born.

I know, some will probably say that the flower could be more sharp, that the blurred  frontal seeds are too distracting, that the blurred leaf is too distracting, that the simple negative background is overwhelming, that… I know all this and I could ward myslef by saying that there was so small amount of light that it was technically impossible for me to go for a higher f-number, that I couldn’t compose it in other way because of another stem in the right side of this one, I could even come up with fake reasons…but why? Do I need to convince you to be on my side? Or myself that I couldn’t do it better? I think not. Everything that we present must speak for itself.

So, I wonder if this image speaks to you and what it says. Do you like it or find it as a unsuccessful try? Let me know!

My today message to you is: don’t avoid very low light conditions and if you can, try to shoot what you normaly shoot in such a conditions. You may be surprised by the result!

… and guys, enjoy the summer 😉

Gymnocalycium cactus

4 08 2009

There are 2 particular reasons why I decided to continue taking cactus macro photos and presenting them here. First reason is that I like these fragile  little blossoms blooming only for one or a couple of days, some in bright colours, others in shades of white or grey. Second reason is that as it seems you were quite satisfied with my Echinopsis posts for which I’m really glad.

Today I will present you blooming Gymnocalycium cactus. Gymnocalycium is a genus of about 70 species  which are at home mostly in South America. One cactus usually has more than one blossom which is about 3-4 cm long and about 2-3 cm in diameter.

If it is posible I try to have a part of cactus body in the image even though I focus mainly on the blossom as in the following photo. The skull-like pattern is really interesting.


1/320 sec. @ 100mm, f/10, ISO 200

For the following 2 images I used a image stacking technique for the first time. Somehow I wasn’t able to get the centre whole sharp so I took 2 images and then stacked them in Photoshop.


1/320 sec. @ 100mm, f/10, ISO 200, 2-image stack

Almost immediately after taking this image my little son came with a small bucket of water and “gave the cactus a shower” 🙂 Fortunatelly, the blossom was tough enough so it was not destroyed, rather the opposite! The water dropplets made it even more appealing to me. I still can’t decide if I like more the next image or the previous one. Which do YOU like more?


1/400 sec. @ 100mm, f/10, ISO 200, 2-image stack

As the water dropplets were nicely glittering in the bright sun I tried also a couple of  “different” photos, rather artistic than descriptive. Here is one that I like the most.


1/400 sec. @ 100mm, f/10, ISO 200

If you are interested in more information about Gymnocalycium genus, this page may be a good starting point. On this page you will then find very nice gallery of different species in this genus.

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

OK. I hope you’ll like it. Enjoy the summer!

Meadow Dreams continue…

3 08 2009

I wrote about my Meadow Dreams Series here some 2 weeks ago and it seems that you liked it. Whereas the first presented photos were taken under the bright day light and mainly on grassy valley meadow (next to our house) today I post images taken in late evening sun light on the mountain meadow (next to our cottage 🙂 ).

I was looking for some interesting scenes for this series for whole weekend when I saw that the very last rays of beuatiful warm sun light were lightening a near meadow one evening so I haven’t hesitated a second, took my camera and shot  following images. It was a pity that the sun went down so quickly but that’s the way it is, I guess.

You can see the radical difference in the atmosphere between images in this post and the previous one. Last time I wrote that light is the key element for this kind of photography and I think that following images only prove it. I would like to take another bunch of photos in the early morning light but it’s not so easy for me to wake up so early and go outside to shoot before my travel to work. Also flowers are usually closed in the early morning.

When I was processing these images I decided to name them to boost the atmosphere a bit and to give you a hint of what I see in them.


~ Hurry, A Night Is Coming! ~
~ Meadow Dreams Series ~

1/160 sec. @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 200

While I was processing the previous image I decided to crop it to square format to get a different image with a different story behind it.


~ Alone ~
~ Meadow Dreams Series ~
1/160 sec. @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 200


~ Family ~
~ Meadow Dreams Series ~

1/250 sec. @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 200

Technical information: All shots were taken with Canon EOS 450D + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 + HOYA Close-up filter +4.

I hope you’ll like it. Enjoy the summer!

Echinopsis 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 them into B&W because I don’t find echinopsis colours as appealing but it’s truth that every human being has different perception and so many of you may like colour versions much more than me. So here they are:


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


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


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, if you like these or B&W more,and … enjoy the summer!