Tag Archives: macro

Morning macro meditation

Macro Morning

I gave my daughter flowers for her 11th birthday last weekend and placed it by the homemade banner I made her years ago that I somehow remember to hang up on her special day, year after year.

Macro roses

Wednesday morning I made time to photograph the floral beauties, as part of my macro morning study, along with some other objects within reaching distance: mug, champagne coupes, jewelry sitting on the counter.


I contemplated the condensation on my coffee carafe…


…until my vision blurred,


and honed in on the light.

Condensation light

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Annual dahlia photowalk

20140830_Dahlias_05 (1)

Every year in late summer/early autumn, Sabrina and I head over to Golden Gate Park to photograph the dahlias. It’s a lovely tradition. So many gorgeous flowers.


It was an explosion of color on the scene.


My challenge this year was to take some different shots, change it up a bit. I’m not sure I succeeded, but it was fun trying.



One of these days I’m going to go back through my hard drive and pick out which is my favorite image of these beauties. I wonder if I’ll be drawn to the soft, light and airy images, or something darker and moodier. It’ll probably depend on my mood.


Can’t wait to see Sabrina’s photos from the day.

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So familiar a gleam

This morning I made time to photograph a beautiful bouquet of flowers, as a kind of meditation. With my cup of coffee close by, I enjoyed the morning light in my apartment. I put the flowers on a table and situated the setup by the large window in my living room.


At work, I use the tripod extensively, so I went rogue for this project and handheld the camera despite the still darkish conditions for shooting macro. I was going for a dreamy effect, to match my not-quite-awake state of mind, so sharpness of the image was less important than the mood.


I couldn’t decide to keep these vertical or turn them on their sides. In the end, a diptych won.


This is now my desktop wallpaper, not that you can ever see it because I have too many applications open:


I want to make morning macro photography more of a habit. It does wonders for my mind. I want to crawl into the abstraction.

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The fallen bloom

from Sabrina's garden

About a month ago, Sabrina brought me beautiful roses from her garden. Each flower bursted with petals.

Pink Garden Rose

They were incredibly fragrant; its sweet, floral scent filled my apartment. If only someone could bottle it so I could wear it. Oh wait.


I love the wild, wiltiness of these flowers, so much that my favorite one happened to be the bloom that fell apart – velvety, tissue paper thin petals still vibrant and moist, now scattered on the table.

Petals 1

The fallen petals were reminiscent of Sabrina’s gorgeous wedding dress with its layers upon layers of delicate fabric.

Petals 2

Thank you, Sabrina, for sharing some of your beautiful world with me. I welcome more of it!

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In Bloom

Tulips in bloom

These past few weeks have been challenging for a variety of reasons. Without getting into it too much, suffice it to say that I’ve been doing my best to focus on the things that make me happy, like taking macro shots of flowers. I know, so cliché. But I really do enjoy the process. It’s meditative, getting so close to these ephemeral beauties. This enchanting bouquet was delivered by Farmgirl Flowers to my door from someone who could not be here in person. In this instance, I’ll take second best.


There are many flowers that I adore. Ranunculus is one of them. I think I was in high school when I first noticed this flower. I fell in love with the layers upon layers petals that look like they’re made of crepe paper.

Macro Ranunculus

I started appreciating roses about 15 years ago, when my amazing neighbor out in the Richmond grew award-winning roses in his front yard after he retired. Who knew they could thrive in the dense fog of 35th Avenue?! He taught me everything I know about roses.


When I lived in Portland – a.k.a. The City of Roses – my yard had so many rose bushes that it was almost impossible to keep track of and maintain. But the garden was hardy and I think the only plant I actually killed was the blueberry bush. (Though, I could never get that dogwood tree to bloom, no matter how hard I tried.) The roses were huge.



This garden rose is particularly lovely with its many fluttery petals (like the ranunculus).


Of course, if you recall from my previous macro flower posts, you know that for me, the more abstract the better.

Anenome Macro

Anenome Macro

And the nice thing about photographing flowers is that, like many things actually, their memories are preserved long after they’re gone.

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The fluttering of petals and wings

Butterfly on white

A couple months back, Sabrina and I took our annual excursion to Golden Gate Park to photograph the dahlias in full bloom. However, [ahem] someone’s penchant for sleeping in, along with a surprisingly clear sky in the park, meant that by the time we got to the park, the sun blazed overhead and created some harsh lighting, as you can see in this photo (see? overblown in the center top area).

pink, yellow, white dahlia

My laziness minimalist heart prevented me from bringing a tripod nor diffuser, so I had to be creative with my shots. I used the shade of the dahlias and took some low shots.

orange dahlia

I used my sunglasses to filter out some light here.

Dahlia sunglass filter

Sabrina suggested we retreat to the haven of the Conservatory of Flowers. Although it’s humid in there, at least we would be protected from that hot sun (remember, we’re San Franciscans and can only function in the fog and temps cooler than 72 degrees).

My aunt has so many orchids in her backyard. I have no idea how she keeps them alive. They would rival these beauties.

Violet orchid

Water lily loveliness.

water lily in darkness

Water lily

The main exhibit at the Conservatory showcases hundreds of butterflies. If you’re lucky, one will land on you.


Also, insects are kind of frightening up close. They look so alien. Check out those eyes.

Butterfly on white 2

Be sure to check out Sabrina’s photos from the day.

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Watch this

Back in July I did a lot of product shots of watches for a series of promo ads. I enjoyed the challenge being creative for the backgrounds, using whatever I could find at the office. Here are some of my fave images.

TW Steel (background: microfiber cloth):

Seiko (background: folding chair seat):

Another Seiko (background: coworker’s sweater):

01TheOne (background: my leather jacket):
01TheOne watch for TouchOfModern

Bulova (background: my Puma jacket)

I have to give mucho thanks to my friend Lech for the gift that keeps on giving. A few years back he generously gave me a macro lens, and to this day, it’s one of my favorite lenses. I use it all the time.

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Candied Meyer Lemon Slices

Continuing with my citrus candying adventures, I tried my hand at whole lemon slices. I don’t have a mandolin, which is what’s recommended to make these since the slices need to be almost paper-thin, so I used my sharpest knife and sliced them by hand. I got about 50% of the lemons sliced adequately without them falling apart or being too uneven. Good thing I have a plethora of lemons to use.

Candying the whole slice is similar to candying the peel, except you quickly blanch the slices, and then simmer them in simple syrup for a lot longer.

I pretty much followed Martha’s recipe.

After they dried overnight, I coated half the slices in sugar, which is reminiscent of those Sunkist fruit gem candies that I love, although these are much thinner (and of course these are real fruit slices!). I stored them in a glass jar with extra loose granulated sugar in there to make sure they are always coated.

The other half that didn’t get the extra sugar coating were stored in another air-tight container. Since they remain totally sticky, so I had to layer the slices between sheets of waxed paper so they wouldn’t stick together. They are messy to handle, but I think they would be really cute as cupcake toppers. Hopefully I’ll get the motivation to bake some soon.

See how thin they are? If they get stuck together, the slices get ripped apart due to their delicate, but so delicious, nature.

I prefer the sugar-coated slices in terms of taste and texture, but I love the translucent, stained-glass look of the plain candied slices.

Have you candied whole slices before? Do you like them more than just the peels?

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Waxflower, the understated little white flower

Waxflower, poetry by M. T. C. Cronin

There’s a fantastic flower stand on 16th St. and Market where I often get my flowers. Amazing bunched beauties can be scored between $5 and $7. Unheard of in the city!

Last week I picked up these cute waxflowers. I didn’t know what they were called at the time, but I was drawn by their sweet, tiny, almost artificial-like flowers. Their buds are burgundy and they have rosemary-like needles. They would have been perfect for Christmas! (But better late than never!)

I took them home and divided them among three containers: the main one in the living room, a tiny cordial glass holds a few sprigs on my kitchen window sill, and a reused jam jar sprouts a little bouquet in the bathroom. I added some fresh greens from the meyer lemon tree in the backyard for some extra interest.

Waxflower in vaseMy only qualm I have with these little guys is that I find their scent mildly repulsive. While not overpowering to a room, it’s definitely noticeable when you are next to them. I don’t know if it’s just me, because when I google “waxflower smells like…” I get only positive results of them smelling lovely. Am I the only one who thinks they smell like a cross between morning breath and the sidewalks of the mission?

If you ever come across these flowers, take a whiff and report back to me.

The full version of M.C.T. Cronin’s poem, Wax-Flower, can be found here.

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Dahlia Dell

peach orange dahlia
Last Tuesday morning was gorgeous in Golden Gate Park, seemingly uncharacteristically sunny there while overcast in the Mission. I was at the park to shoot the dahlia garden, which is in full bloom, just east of the Conservatory of Flowers. My partner-in-crime for the morning was Sabrina, who takes gorgeous pictures of pretty things, making them look even prettier.

I decided to try something different, and went for a darker mood.
purple magenta ombre dahlia

I harnessed the brillant sunlight starting to shine down on the blooming flowers.
shadows and light dahlia

But you know I still love a soft, dreamy flower:
lens flare dahlia

I also brought the Yashica and took a few shots, but I still have a few exposures left in the ol’ TLR so those photos will have to wait for another time. I’m such a tease.

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