Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Close-up

This week, Ann-Christine asks us to focus our lenses close-up and personal. She writes, “Taking images close-up is a fun way to rethink items we see every day, or explore something you think you know well, like your backyard.” You can read her entire challenge post here. Well, my selections aren’t from my back yard. I like to take photos of flowers but my green thumb is lacking. I usually end up in a botanical garden to photograph those flowers and other small objects. For this challenge, I looked in my gallery for images of blossoms captured up close and threw in a couple of garden guests for good measure. As with birds, though I like to photograph them, I only know the names of the most common flowers. You’ll forgive me if I don’t name the floral images I am sharing today. Anymore, I’m lucky to remember my own name.

On a summer’s day at Hassayampa Regional Park, a riparian area near Wickenburg Arizona, a bee goes about his busy work-a-day job.

One of my favorite images of a blossom is this flower I captured in St. Louis at the Missouri Botanical Garden. While some would say that my images aren’t really all that close-up, I would counter that I like to see the entire flower, not just a portion of it. I’ve found the Tamron 16-300 mm lens on my D500 does a nice job at macro photography despite that fact that it isn’t really a true “macro” lens. The trick is to move as far back from the subject as you need to frame the image and extend the lens all the way to 300 mm. This shot doesn’t provide the soft, smooth bokeh (background blur) behind the shot like the other two as I wasn’t at full lens extension, only 165 mm. That left a hint that this flower is in a garden surrounded by a white fence. I liked that composition better than moving back and extending the lens to 300 mm so that it would completely blur the background.

For my last three images, I feature a couple of butterflies and a dragonfly. This monarch butterfly was a resident of the Desert Botanical Garden’s butterfly house in Phoenix.

One of my favorite shots is this monarch butterfly sitting on a thistle blossom. I have several shots of it nervously landing and taking off from a couple of different thistle blossoms.

My last close-up image features a dragonfly that was a very hard shot for me to capture. I know how skittish dragonflies can be, a lesson that has been relearned many times over. I kept my distance knowing that the slightest provocation would make my shot another one that got away. I’ve provided reasonable resolution for these images so that you can take a better view. In most browsers, you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner


13 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Close-up

  1. A beautiful gallery with lovely lilies and my favorite butterfly – the monarch. I am no expert in names either, and I think possibly people who are interested will look it up themselves… I must also agree with you, that when it comes to flowers, I love the whole picture the most – but a combo is nice too. The 300 mm Tamron works well the way you describe. Good you enclosed the “trick”!

  2. How awesome is this? Well timed, spring is just beginning here, the trees and lawn are starting to bloom again, these lovely photos are well timed, as winter is getting long and these pics are a reminder that summer will soon be here! Thanks!!

  3. Your nature photos are beautiful, John! Lovely. You might enjoy Linda Hoye’s blog – she posts a lot of florals and such and I think you would enjoy them.

    • I am in Washington DC this weekend for a Civil Air Patrol conference, but I’m looking forward to going back to Arizona on Sunday. The photos of wildflowers I’ve seen on Facebook from the trails near our house is making me ready to get some serious picture taking done!

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