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African Milk Barrel



Nature's symmetry is remarkable.

Nature's symmetry is remarkable.
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Awards

Contest Finalist in Patterns And Macro Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Textures Around Us Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Centered Compositions Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Nature And Patterns Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Composing with Textures Photo Contest
Featured
Contest Finalist in Natural Clusters Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Tiny Landscapes Photo Contest
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Peer Award
Superb Composition
lferreira xaiyang charlesbutton Nicole76 StephenSPotterPhoto Mikelsr karinmcfarlane +85
Top Choice
susobhan007 BTay01 NancyFlemingPhotography MsJudi florinhorhat JenFromCincy cyrillinegoodman +47
Absolute Masterpiece
Leksus tommurray carolcardillo Just-Agnes aaronstokes Aeri jipse_sol +44
Outstanding Creativity
normaalahens wonddy2u Joel_Rivera AngelPrintsPhotography Ryleems scook1982 charlesdpeters +27
Love it
bryanbailey Twopaws EHayman malbers DiorLPhotography JPGRANIZO timmeee1 +19
Magnificent Capture
EnaEna domjdel JayneBug S_Alexandra23 EmmJane PortraitsbySK patriciasaenz +7
All Star
bellartnella An3s Pidge815 mikegallaway edwardlrose martehusdalren avrilglavin +5
Superior Skill
embas pramodnikam Lanky44Lanky442 joestanley
Virtuoso
rcostello

Emotions

Impressed
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Submitted to Photo Contests

Top ClassTM

Isolated Photo ContestTop 30 class
Isolated Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Isolated Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
World Photography Day Photo ContestTop 10 class
World Photography Day Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
World Photography Day Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Centered Compositions Photo ContestTop 10 class
Centered Compositions Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Centered Compositions Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Nature And Patterns Photo ContestTop 10 class
Nature And Patterns Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Nature And Patterns Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 2Top 10 class
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 2Top 10 class week 2
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 2Top 10 class week 1
Composing with Textures Photo ContestTop 10 class
Composing with Patterns Photo ContestTop 10 class
Monthly Pro Vol 29 Photo ContestTop 30 class
Monthly Pro Vol 29 Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Composing with Textures Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Composing with Patterns Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Monthly Pro Vol 29 Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Above Or Below Photo ContestTop 10 class
Above Or Below Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Above Or Below Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
In the Center Photo ContestTop 10 class
Image of the Year Photo Contest 2016Top 10 class
Image of the Year Photo Contest 2016Top 10 class week 1
In the Center Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
In the Center Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Our Natural World Photo ContestTop 10 class
Our Natural World Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Clash Of The Pros Photo ContestTop 10 class
Clash Of The Pros Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Clash Of The Pros Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
From Above Photo ContestTop 10 class
From Above Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Natural Clusters Photo ContestTop 10 class
Natural Clusters Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Tiny Landscapes Photo ContestTop 10 class
Tiny Landscapes Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1

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6 Comments | Report
LucBaekelandt PRO+
 
LucBaekelandt April 05, 2016
Love it a lot !!!!
MaRanda072414
 
MaRanda072414 April 06, 2016
I love the depth of field in this shot!!
FredBlundell PRO+
 
FredBlundell February 21, 2017
Excellent artistry.
barbararybolt
 
barbararybolt March 07, 2017
Looks so different in color! Beautiful image.
StarPhotographer PRO
 
StarPhotographer March 30, 2017
Nice capture
kerryscott
 
kerryscott April 13, 2017
Gorgeous textures & photo, you have a wonderful gallery MWPhotography2

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Behind The Lens

Location
The photo was taken at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., on December 24th, 2015. I must admit at the outset, that I captured this photo with a brand new Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G macro lens which was purchased as a holiday gift by my partner, Mary, a few days prior. This photo was taken on my first outing with this lens. I've been a photographer on and off for thirty years, beginning with high school photo club where I learned the basics of photography and developing. My first experimentation with macro photography was in the 1990s. At that time I used a Nikon FG 35mm camera and Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm macro lens. I would spend many days and hours in Great Falls and Shenandoah National Parks, photographing insects and flora on backpacking trips. I've always been intrigued with how expansive and beautiful nature is in our miniature world.
Time
The photo was taken around 1pm in the afternoon on the day before Christmas, December 24, 2015, and the weather was an unseasonable 70 degrees. Upon entering the arboretum, I was told by the guards that I would not be able to open my tripod since the volume of pedestrian traffic would create a tripping hazard. So there I was, facing the prospect of photographing macro subject matter by hand, and in limited light. I loved the challenge, but would recommend a tripod in less hectic circumstances.
Lighting
When I came across this wonderful African Milk Barrel, the cactus green house was surrounded by an opaque and diffused glass. The sky above was overcast and the light was flat, with intermittent cloud and sun creating periodic light and dark. I noticed that one of the cacti was positioned above the rest and that, if I held my lens directly above the prominent cactus, I would be able to capture it with clarity and fade to the lower cacti in a bokeh effect. I had to lean forward and balance precariously over the cacti since they were located several feet beyond the display barrier. With an ISO setting of 2500 and F/10, I managed to create enough light on the sensor, and sufficient depth of field, to capture the head of the Milk Barrel clearly. At f/10, the depth of field receded smoothly enough to maintain the shapes and color of the lower cacti.
Equipment
The photo was taken with a Nikon D810 and Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G macro lens.
Inspiration
Having just acquired this new macro lens, I was eager to find subject matter suitable to the lens’s purpose. That’s what led us to the National Arboretum. My inspiration for cacti has come from having lived in arid regions of the middle east and traveling through Africa in my teens, where I encountered many cacti and succulents.
Editing
I do post process exclusively in Adobe Lightroom. I strive to enhance my image as I recall them in my mind at the time they’re captured. I always photograph in manual mode to control my image outcome as best possible. However, when photographing nature and wildlife, the subjects are often fleeting and the outcomes can be improved through the use of post processing software. There are also other factors beyond my control or knowledge that affect the image at the time the photo is taken. In this particular case, my torso was situated above an already flat light, limiting the light and color on the tips of the cacti buttresses where small buds were beginning to form. I used Lightroom to draw out the color of the flower buds and other small effects on the image.
In my camera bag
I live in a log cabin at 3,000 feet, bordering Shenandoah National Park and travel quite a bit as well. As a nature photographer, my subject matter is so varied that my bag is “purpose built” based on the particular subject I’m planning to capture. For many years I was a winter mountaineer, climbing in North, Central and South America. I have four backpacks that I’ve adapted to carry my camera gear. For wildlife, I’ve been using a Sigma AF-S 150-500mm lens, and recently upgraded to the 150-600mm Sport. For landscape photography, I typically use a Nikkor 28-300mm AF-S f3.5/5.6G and/or Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f4G. I also have a bag that converts to a roller bag or backpack for travel, so I can navigate airports and hike any reasonable distance to photograph. For travel, I carry my 28-300mm, 16-35mm, 105mm macro, and assorted filters. I use a heavy duty MeFoto tripod with a Manfrotto ball mount.
Feedback
Macro photography centers on focal planes, lighting and depth of field manipulations in and around subject matter. I always photograph in manual mode, as this affords me the opportunity to experiment, on the fly, with how different f stop, ISO and shutter settings can influence a subject image. If the subject matter allows it, I use a tripod. If not, then I would recommend using a lens equipped with vibration reduction for those ‘on the fly’ shots (pun intended). I also try to be keenly aware of the weather or environment in which I’m planning to photograph. This helps me prepare for in advance, and adapt to, any impacts that will potentially affect subjects.

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