Black-eyed Susan macro photo with bokeh.

Picked by You

Black-eyed Susan macro photo with bokeh.
Picked by You — 100mm | f/3.5 | ISO 100 | EXP 1/400

Oh beloved flower macro forever I hold dear. Time and again I’ve written about macro’s special place in my photographic journey. Were it not for my 100mm lens during 2012’s daily photo project I’m most positive I wouldn’t be the landscape photographer you know today. In truth, I wouldn’t be any kind of photographer today.

Specific credit must go to flowers. A legacy of my home’s previous owners—my parents—is an array of perennials the liven up the property from April through October. Cutting my teeth in 2012, flowers, beautiful and without judgment offered an approachable muse for this shy shooter. Allowed to hone my posture, technique, and stillness I took to handheld macro shooting with some dexterity. Learning to depress the shutter between breathes as becoming an able marksman.

From there I built upon composition principles. Applying the rule of thirds, maintaining balance and symmetry in my frames. It was during this nascent stage my eyes opened to the mechanics of bokeh and depth of field. Once oblivious I had no idea lenses produced areas of non-focus in such an appealing manner. Taken by this effect with earnest, I’ve been an advocate of open apertures for my entire body of non landscape work ever since. I even made a connection to my adolescence as a struggling painter. In all my works I tried to paint all aspects of the composition with perfect rigid detail. Had I eased and let non essential portions blur focus I would have brought more attention to the subjects that mattered. This is vital in portraiture or a still life that features a key subject—akin to the flower above. It’s remarkable to learn your lesson over a decade later from little expected places.

To come full circle I made this photograph at my parents’ new house. Ensconced yet again by a rich array of perennials. Here it was a breed of Black-eyed Susans that called to my camera and me. You may recall I published one photograph already from the batch of photographs I made last Sunday. I was glad to dust off my 100mm macro lens to revisit from whence I came.

Editor’s note: Shout-out to everyone on Instagram and Snapchat who came to my aid. You helped me decided between color and black and white for this photograph. This title is a hat-tip to you. More news: I published a column for Breaker Zine’s debut Beta Issue and my article is now online. If you enjoy reading about how I got started with photography be sure to check it out. Thanks!

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