Flame Flower – abstract

5 03 2010

It has been a while since my last post and even though it may seem that I didn’t take any photos lately, I did. I did but I couldn’t force myself to process them and share them with you. I took couple of photos of tulip and hyacinths but perhaps nothing spectacular.

A week ago my wife got an interesting potted flower to her birthday, Bromelia Vriesea, which looks like this.  This oddly looking flower has habitat in rain forests of South America and lives on trunk of forest trees. When it is to bloom a thick stem raise from its centre. The top part of the stem broadens to a base for blossoms. This part has vivid red and yellow colours and it can bear tens of tiny blossoms. This part has a tree-like structure and every blossom-base part overlaps the upper one a bit. This blossoms structure looks like flames to me so I call it a “Flame Flower”.

I was captivated by the repetitive shapes and colours and I thought it might be a good subject for some abstract photography. I took the flower to the window which caused that the strong midday sun shone through the blossoms part, making the colours even more vivid. I knew I wanted to go really close but first I took some shots from bigger distance, let say around 30 cm.

~ Natural Mirroring ~
1/8 sec. @ 100 mm, f/10, ISO 100

Then I got even closer, intrigued by the range of colours going from deep red near centre of the stem, changing to bright red some 1-2 cm from the verge and then rapidly changing into bright yellow on the verge of the blossom-base part. As I was really close now, I had to take 3 photos and stack them to get sufficient sharpness and details.

~ Fish Scales ~
1/6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/16, ISO 100, 3 stacked images

This really looks like flames but it also reminds me a petrified fish. I like the square format above but I tried also to cut the darkest part off and the result is following.

This was a refreshing session after couple of months of shooting orchids and other potted flowers. I realized that I like this kind of abstract images much more.

Hope you like it.
Enjoy the slowly coming Spring!

Technical information: all photos were taken using Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm f/2,8 USM macro lens upon a Manfrotto tripod in natural conditions.




11 responses

7 03 2010
Barbara Kile

Flowers can make great abstract photography. Lovely colors. The images look like flames! 🙂

7 03 2010
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Barbara. Some abstract photographers use mineral slabs, experiments with drops of water and other liquids droping into another liquid etc. but I think that flowers can also provide great subjects for abstract photography. Even though it may be harder to found suitable flower.

7 03 2010
Jules K

Beautiful work here, Thomas! All three are interesting alone but would also make a lovely tryptic.

7 03 2010
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Jules! Like to see you here again.

8 03 2010
Anita Bower

Excellent! Gorgeous colors and composition. I like them all! Glad you are back posting. I wonder how the top image would look turned to a vertical position?

A couple of questions: When stacking photos, what software do you use? To get these images, did you add macro filter or did you crop? Or, maybe something else. I don’t think I can get that close with my 105mm macro.

Thanks for sharing. Great to see you posting again.

8 03 2010
Tomas Turecek

Thanks Anita for your words of appreciation 🙂 If you’re interested how the first image would look like turned, you can download the image and try for yourself or I can do it and post it for you. Are you thinking of turning it 90 degrees clock-wise or contra-clock-wise? The flower part captured on the first photo was naturally rotated 90 degrees clock-wise but I think that presented as here it has stronger impact on viewer.

To give you some answers: I use Photoshop CS4 and it’s “load photos into stack and align them” feature and then I manually erase those parts of each layer I don’t need. It takes some time but it’s not a problem at all after some practising. Here I had only 3 images; when I stacked 6 of them it was a bit more time consuming. I like that I have full control of the process.
Regarding the crop, my camera has a crop factor of 1.6x and I have 100mm lens so the effective focal length is 160mm and thus I can theoretically take a picture of rectangle with dimensions 22.2 x 14.8mm using 1:1 focusing. I looked up tech. specs for your camera and you will have crop factor around 1.5 or so and with 105mm lens you should be able to get very similar results to mine. It may not seems so but the blossom part of the flower is quite big. In the first photo I used magnification around 1:2, maybe even 1:3, no crop. The second photo was taken on magnification ratio near to 1:1 and cropped from left and right side to get the square format, so you can see something like 15x15mm of the flower on the photo. The third photo was cropped from the second one from the top. I used unusual format 5:7 to eliminate the bottom dark red part which may not be so interesting and to equalize the red and yellow a bit more.

Did I answered your questions?

11 03 2010
Anita Bower

thanks for answering my questions. i thought of rotating 1st image clockwise. i will try the stacking, which i think i can do manually with ps7. i currently have a broken right wrist, so can’t do much of anything, except type with my left hand.

11 03 2010
Tomas Turecek

You are welcome, Anita. I’m sorry to hear about your wrist and hope it will be all right soon.

17 03 2010
Bob Towery

Fantastic abstracts, and hearing how you have done them is quite interesting. Great work Tomas!

17 03 2010
Tomas Turecek

Thank you, Bob. I appreciate it!

2 01 2011
2010 recapitulation « Close Nature

[…] You can see this photo together with some other in this original post. […]

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