“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
(note: this blog post was written on Monday 15th May and never finished, so when talking about a beautiful Autumn day I was referring to Sunday 14th May’s sunshine).
Yesterday was a beautiful Autumn day mostly filled with sunshine despite the weather forecast. I had to take my microscope back to the showroom/service centre as I couldn’t get the in-house camera to work.
Turns out I was at fault and I’m too embarrassed to tell you what I was doing wrong (in my attempt to photograph flower parts up close). 😀
The consultant and I laughed our heads off when we solved the problem. My excuse is that I’m technology-challenged being old(er).
I can DO computers. I LOVE my cameras and photography. Give me anything else and I can’t find the on/off switch. (note: it wasn’t the on/off switch that I fumbled over, but it was just as bad 😀 ). LOL
I can master all the most basic settings on my 2 Canon DSLRs and Sony Mirrorless camera, but I actually only use the ‘basics’. Over the last 13 years, I’ve played around a wee bit with photo editing, but not to the extent of learning Photoshop, Lightroom or the myriad of other photo editing software on the market these days.
Just slight cropping, minor tweaks to the contrast, definition, sharpening or light using my iMac’s in-house photo editing tools.
My reasoning was that I wanted to be able to take a photo with a DSLR, not be a photo editor. I wanted to be able to lighten the light, darken the shade and everything in between.
The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.
When I arrived home late yesterday afternoon the light was fading fast on my side of the river valley in Maribyrnong (10.8 km from Melbourne City – meaning it is an inner suburb……..on the western side of Melbourne).
I went down to the ground floor basement car park and slipped out ‘my back gate’ with a short and long telephoto lens attached to my 2 Canon DSLRs.
I was only going to walk 20 feet to where there were 2 large bushes on the side of the narrow twisting road – a native white-flowering Tree Lucerne and a golden-flowered invasive Gorse.
The Tree Lucerne is where, when the bush is in flower (seems to be 3 times a year), around 4.00pm to 4.30pm approximately, New Holland Honeyeaters come to drink the nectar.
Yesterday, a flock of House Sparrows, mainly female came to roost. I think they watched me closely, although I couldn’t be sure due to the backlighting from the sunny part of the hillside making it hard to see their eye.
I raised the long (150-500mm) lens up to my eye and got a couple of shots before the flock of Sparrows flew away.
One lone male sat on the nearby metal wire temporary fencing separating my newish housing estate from the enormous open grassy field to the north of my apartment building.
I surveyed the bush and found only one white flower with a nearby half-opened flower bud.
Not a perfect specimen to study under the microscope, merely the only specimen available. I notice some of my old images of this bush were made in mid-winter so there’s plenty of time to plan ahead if I wanted more.
The image below is the first one I photographed back in 2019.
I snipped off the (only) flower and went back into the apartment building through the ‘back gate’ and up to my first-floor home.
I didn’t hesitate or unpack my gear straight away. I turned the microscope on and had a look at my first sample.
Lots of white fibres.
My next shot was terrible, but I’ve included it to show how hard it is to photograph a 3-dimensional flower with a microscope designed to study mainly 2-dimensional specimens.
The sharp focus only appears on a small part of the specimen.
The result ended up mostly a soft blur with a few ‘hairs’ on the side.
I could see the previous day, that this new hobby of mine could get quite creative and form a piece of art if I wanted it to. I’m still at ‘kindergarten’ level. It’ll take a while to get to the ‘university’ level and highly skilled….. methinks.
I thought my scalpel (out of my new medical dissection kit) was clean but a quick photo showed how much the human eye misses.
The first shot of the flower looked a bit like a stylised painting……almost. It was muddy, a bit dark and not as brightly lit as I could have edited. This comes about my having my new desk in my bedroom corner where the lit is not so good at night.
(Note: if you’re new to photography, ensure you do your photo reviewing and/or editing in good light, preferably morning light. If you’re a professional nature photographer you’ll probably have a dedicated space for your computer with proper lighting – day and night).
The second shot zoomed out slightly.
I only had the overhead LED downlights switched on the microscope as the uplight made the foreground too dark.
One of the features I love about my new Saxon Digital Microscope is that both uplight and downlight have 5 settings as well as off. I’ve discovered, so far, that botanical specimens seem to look better with the up-light turned off.
All in all, my photos could have been better if I’d taken them in the morning or early afternoon light, instead of the fading light through my narrow bedroom window.
But remember, that this is early days and really, only the 3rd day of photographing flower parts. Earlier this year, I was photographing other specimens under the microscope.
I took a slice off the closed petals in the centre of the flower bloom surrounding the Stamen.
(Stamen: The pollen producing part of a flower, usually with a slender filament supporting the anther. Anther: The part of the stamen where pollen is produced. Pistil: The ovule producing part of a flower.
Then proceeded to photograph some more images depending on which part of the flower I chose to put the focus on.
I threw the piece of flower and stems into the plastic container to take them over to the kitchen rubbish bin. I’ve finished examining them for this exercise.
Another few shots before I threw them out.
……and some more shots of the actual bush outdoors (with the 3rd shot being made at a different time of the year).
Time to tidy up my desk for the day. I’m a wee bit OCD so having an untidy desk is NOT something I can handle long-term.