A November Morning Through a Macro Filter

The macro lens.

Back in April, when I told a friend of mine I’d developed an interest in taking pictures of flowers, he said something about macro and Georgia O’Keeffe. I knew I’d heard the name Georgia O’Keeffe at some point in my life, but, I’m sorry to admit, I couldn’t remember who she was. And macro? What in the world was macro?

I still don’t know much about what I’m doing with my camera, but I’m learning little by little. Photography has joined poetry as my safe place–a retreat for my mind during these COVID-19 crazy times. And this morning, when I woke before sunrise and looked out my window to check the conditions in the eastern sky, I knew I’d have a fantastic day of creation. Why? The sky was clear, it was chilly enough for frost, and I would have my first opportunity, since adopting my newfound love, to take photos of ice crystals on my garden plants.

Frosty carpet rose leaves
© Ann Garcia November 2020

What does a macro filter do?

While reviewing an article posted on Expert Photography, I learned that the lens I’m attaching to my iPhone 11 to capture these images is not an actual macro lens. It’s a macro filter. A macro lens allows a photographer to capture photos of small objects that are visible to the eye, but hard to see. It picks up tiny details. Someday, I hope to have an amazing camera with a dedicated macro lens, but, for now, my inexpensive macro filter with a magnification 25x will do.

A macro filter is an attachment a photographer screws onto their regular camera lens. Macro filters have pros and cons, of course, and my images suffer from some of the cons (e.g., not as sharp), but I think my camera does quite well with an inexpensive macro filter.

So, this morning, I attached my CoPedvic macro filter to my iPhone and went into my garden.

A frosty dianthus
Frosty dianthus
© Ann Garcia November 2020

The lens picked up the lovely little ice crystals on my dianthus (which has been in bloom since spring, by the way). While the foreground of the image isn’t as crisp as it might be if this photo had been taken with a dedicated micro lens, it is crisp enough for my liking.

Notice the blur? That’s caused by shallow depth of field, according to another article posted on Expert Photography. Shallow depth of field means that only part of the image is in focus. Typically, the background is blurry, but sometimes the foreground is blurry. Check out the image of my May Night Salvia below. I’m in love with this image. In it, elements of foreground and background are blurry.

Frosty May Night Salvia
May Night Salvia
© Ann Garcia November 2020

Notice the blurred petal in the lower left quadrant? I find it to be a wonderful contrast to the delicate trichomes (hair-like outgrowths) on the plant behind it. And, of course, the blurred background provides a beautiful backdrop that doesn’t distract from the most important section of the image.

Little Mischief rose hip
Little Mischief rose hip
© Ann Garcia November 2020

Depth of field is affected by how close the camera is to the subject and how far the subject is from the background. When taking the image above, my phone camera was very close to the rose hip, which stuck up rather high from the rest of the rose plant and the ground beneath. All-in-all, this particular plant stands about 1.5 feet tall at the moment, and this rose hip was toward the top. Isn’t that contrast gorgeous?

Crimson carpet rose
© Ann Garcia November 2020

I’m not an expert, but I believe this image above provides an example of one of the limitations of my macro filter. I had to be very close to the rose to capture this image, and it is still blurry on the outer edges even though this flower is rather small (and not deep). The center of the image is sharp, but I’d hoped to capture more definition of the frost. I wonder if a dedicated macro lens would have given that frost more definition.

One thing I’ve learned when taking photos through a macro filter and through a telephoto filter/lens is that it is incredibly important to hold the camera still. At my age, it is very hard to hold still. It’s rather humbling to admit that photography has taught me I cannot hold still like I used to!

I watched a video in which a photographer noted how important it is to control your micro-shakes. Of course, a tripod and a timer can help reduce the issue of micro-shakes. And, it is important for me to take outdoor photos when it is not windy. (I’m sure there are cameras that can take pics when subjects are moving, but I have yet to learn about that stuff.) I’ve taken many ugly photos due to either moving subjects (too much wind) or my own micro-shakes.

Here are some of the other photos I took this morning while ensuring my camera was stabilized and while using a timer so that tapping the shutter button didn’t shake things up when the camera took the shot.

Frosty leaves of a Bird’s Nest Spruce
© Ann Garcia November 2020
Spent Little Mischief rose
Spent rose
© Ann Garcia November 2020
Little Mischief rose
Little Mischief rose
© Ann Garcia November 2020

This concludes my second post about photography. I love learning about this form of art. Speaking of art–did you need to look up Georgia O’Keeffe, too? (I hope you didn’t need to.) Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. She is known, in part, for her paintings of flowers.

Thank you for spending some time with me today. If you’re a photographer, I’d love to hear your thoughts about macro filters and macro lenses. I have much to learn. If you’re not a photographer, I’m curious what you think of this post. (And I hope you enjoyed the photos!)

Have a blessed day!

Ann

Realign

I wrote Realign in December 2019 in anticipation of a new year. It is a poem about finding strength within oneself in spite of the naysayer or worry wart or punisher living inside one’s mind. If I’d known a global pandemic were coming to thrust the masses into a mental health crisis, I’d have considered holding it for release until December 2020 (as a reminder that we can always start over). But I didn’t know and I released Realign under a pen name at the New Year 2020 on a website I’m no longer using. I’ve revised Realign a bit and now I’m pairing it with one of my own photos here on riverblossoms.com (you’ll see the photo at the end of the post).

Realign is a villanelle, which is my favorite poetic form. Poets.org defines the villanelle as a highly structured poem made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain, with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. In my opinion, this form creates a lovely rhythm combined with a mature rhyme scheme. Writing in this form forces me to think–it’s a mini challenge for my creative mind. To date, I’ve written 4 villanelle, and I love each one. Within a world where free verse is preferred and rhyme is unwanted, I still write poetry that I love to write. I adore the structure of this poetic form.

Realign is written in iambic heptameter; deviations in meter are evident in two of the verses. Within Realign, I use a mix of slant rhyme and perfect rhyme.

Here is my reading of Realign:

You live in one who has the strength it takes to realign.

Grasp solace deep within your bones. Unfractured you shall stand

to save your soul song from the mind in you that’s gone awry.

Your sadness blooms in fields less green where childhood freedoms died.

Through lenses formed by social screams, a vision clear is banned.

You live in one who has the strength it takes to realign.

A courage fierce safeguards a mind and heart in full supply

to love as self should always love. This element demands

to save your soul song from the mind in you that’s gone awry.

Remove world-blackened rules, destructive, forced upon your eyes.

Suffer not unsighted ones who spew unthinking commands.

You live in one who has the strength it takes to realign.

Release thick toxic flow of will and let your spirit guide.

Embrace bright moments crystal clear and lead your footsteps grand

to save your soul song from the mind in you that’s gone awry.

May peace unlatch your rusted cage to grant your soul song flight.

Bleed a phrase for thoughts that drain. Nurture inner health. Expand.

You live in one who has the strength it takes to realign

to save your soul song from the mind in you that’s gone awry.

I took this photo in October 2020 while visiting a pumpkin farm. Yes, I had my wide-angle lens on my iPhone during our visit, and I’m so glad I did. I’m in love with this photo! For me, it represents the strength mentioned in Realign. Trees are beautiful creatures–they remind us everything is temporary, yet, if we remain steadfast, we shall bloom again.

Thank you for reading. I’m wishing you a fabulous today and tomorrow!

© Ann Garcia

Whispers

I wrote Whispers in November, 2019, when I was going through a difficult time coping with my hopes for something that was unlikely to happen. Whispers was published on another blog under a pen name. Given that it is one of my favorite poems, I wanted it to live among the first posted here.

Whether we perceive dark feelings or light feelings depends on where we focus our thoughts. Sometimes, when all we feel is dark, we must reach out to the ones who give us light. Light is all around us. Light loves us. And many times, what we perceive to be dark isn’t dark at all. Many times, it’s our perception (and all our personal history that feeds perception) that derails us.

Here is my reading of Whispers:

sweet words kiss my breast

cadences catch my breath

whispers only I know

swelling my heart

.

anticipated whispers only I feel

dragonfly wishes beat inside

flutters catch my breath

filling my heart

.

adored whispers only I love

sensual intoxication reveals me

reciprocations catch my breath

floating my heart

.

trusted

whispers

gorgeous

whispers

wanted

whispers

.

no

.

trickery of trust

bleed upon beautiful blades

waiting for nevermore

smiles catch my breath

felling my heart

.

disappointed whispers

only I know love made to vanity

pretty promises breathed through false teeth

hurts catch my breath

felling my heart

.

guarded whispers

only I see sweet lies walking other ways

cadences steal my breath

felling my heart

.

betrayed whispers

only I know expectations ground to sand on which I stand

sinking my heart

sinking my all into dark

until true love hears

until true love sees

until true love feels

broken

whispers

tiny

whispers

my

whispers

and holds out a steady hand for me to grasp

Northwind Switchgrass is one of my favorite grasses, so I have it planted in several places around my home. I took this photo in September 2020. I love the soft, unfocused, grainy quality of this image. To me, it whispers.

Thank you for reading. Have a blessed day!

© Ann Garcia