More cacti & succulent shots

I seem to have got somewhat behind in my postings here, since work has once again caught up with me with a vengeance; the weather around here has been pretty spectacularly awful as well, so no further photographic opportunities have presented themselves anyway since the Christmas break.


However, allow me to share with you one or two further shots of cacti and succulents from my parents’: some from Christmas, and some from rather further back.


Apricot Echinopsis hybrid detail




One from August 2012

Nikon D3S/200f4micro/cpl

Stack of 2 frames
ISO 200 1/6 f/16


This shot recently won an Editor’s Pick on –  I really love it, and it works great presented at max 1200px on the web.  Sadly, however, since it’s a fairly hefty crop from a full size image of the overall flower, taken with the D3S, I’m really running out of pixels to make into a beautifully detailed large print for my wall.  So I’ll have to try to go back this summer with my D800 for some more, especially now I figured out the right kind of composition and effects with these tricky subjects.  I say tricky because they are hard to compose for, both frame-wise and depth-of-field-wise, since the flowers are both so big and so deep.


Ferocactus Flames




This second shot is another reworked image, and is actually one of my first attempts at shooting macro, since I’d only acquired my second-hand 200f4 and my D3S the previous month.  The subject is the detail of a flower from a Ferocactus (a species of barrel cactus).  It’s not a bad shot, with some nice impact, but I’m not too sure of the colours here, and the petal at the bottom centre is interfering just a little too much wiht the centre detail.  So probably a near-miss!


The techs are ISO 800 1/200 f/14, which indicate that this was shot with diffused SB600 flash as main light, without a polarizer – since at this point I had neither a polarizer or a macro head, both of which I now find pretty indispensible for shooting any kind of flower – I try to limit my use of flash now with flowers to special effect shots, e.g. for more of a studio-type feel.  I tend to find that flash with flowers can produce a range of strange slightly metallic or unnatural effects, so much prefer heavily diffused natural light.


Caralluma burchardii bud




One of a series from Christmas, as my dad had produced this unusual succulent from the greenhouse in flower.


Nikon D800E/200f4micro

ISO 400 1/4 f/11



Caralluma burchardii flower detail




Nikon D800E/60f2.8micro/cpl

Stack of 7 frames

ISO 100 0.8 f/11


The flower here is about 15mm diameter – a super-detailed close look at one of these rather spectacular, if tiny, flowers.  The stacking job for this one (working exclusively in Photoshop CS6 was very timeconsuming, since I had to manually correct lots of small stacking errors in the white hairs).  This shot was also awarded an Editor’s Pick on recently.


Thanks for taking a look; hope you enjoyed these shots, and my brief insights into how they were produced.  If you click on any of the landscape-orientation shots, you will be able to see them in all their 1200px-wide glory!




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