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Milkweed Burst



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I find these so intriguing. Like snowflakes, there are never 2 the same.

I find these so intriguing. Like snowflakes, there are never 2 the same.
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3 Comments |
Oceanskyphotography Platinum
 
Oceanskyphotography October 20, 2018
A favorite! Best wishes in the fall contest!
ginnyosbornetracy
 
ginnyosbornetracy September 07, 2020
Great macro shot!
MaryAnne306 PRO+
 
MaryAnne306 November 13, 2020
What a lovely, graceful-looking plant. So pretty and great detail.
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Behind The Lens

Location

We have 20 acres of vacation property in central Wisconsin. Approximately 16 acres wooded, which makes it great for deer and bird photos. The remaining 4 acres is just a wild growing field, perfect for milkweed, butterflies and all kind of insects.

Time

Early morning gives the best light on the milkweeds, however this particular image was taken around 1:30PM.

Lighting

This is image was captured back in 2012, well before I started using a flash in any photos. All natural lighting. I can spend up to 30 minutes at 1 milkweed, trying different setting and angles to get the lighting that I am happy with.

Equipment

Now you are really testing my memory. Thanks goodness for data EXIF. I have been an Olympus shooter since I began my photography journey in 2006. I started with a point & shoot and just kept growing to my current OMD E1 mark2. For this image in 2012 I was shooting with the Olympus E3. My choice of lens was the Zuiko 50-200mm, which is still my favorite lens on my OMD. I definitely did use a tripod. I do not think that I used a shutter remote on this image. I pretty much shoot all my images in manual mode. I got used to that right from the beginning on my point and shoot and have stuck with it. Guess I just prefer being in control of everything.

Inspiration

I just find these weeds so interesting. In July- August they have very pretty large flowers that give off a very strong sweet smell. The Monarch butterflies thrive on these. The ‘milk’ of the milkweed is poisonous to other creatures except the Monarch. Thus, not too many other critters eat Monarchs. After the flowers die off the plant develops pods, which start to burst open with the very white silky fibers and seeds in later October - November. Each one is unique. I can spend hours up in the field just looking for the perfect one.

Editing

I do some post processing on my images, but my skills are very limited to basic adjustments. I use Photoshop Elements for my post processing. My pp consists of level adjustments along with lighting/contrast and some sharpening. Then a final crop as needed. I shoot only jpeg images. I can open these as a raw file in Elements to make my adjustments. I try to spend my quality time at the time of capture rather than at the back end.

In my camera bag

I currently have a OMD E1 that I use for macro work and a OMD E1 mark 2 for all my other endeavors. My macro lens is a 50mm F2. I also do some macro work with my 50-200mm with a 500 close up filter. For my great distance shooting my go to lens is the 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 This is an older 4/3 lens that needs an adapter to fit my micro 4/3 OMD’s. I also have 2 micro 4/3 lens m40-150 and a m75-300. I have an Olympus flash plus numerous other lighting utensils that I now use quite regularly. Have a small set of colored filters that attach to my flash unit to add some warming effects. Diffusers and reflectors come in handy too.

Feedback

Mornings are the best time to photograph milkweed. Some mornings you can find them with dew drops on them. Try to avoid very bright sun, you will get too much shine off the fibers. Or try using a polarizing filter. Make sure that the background is far enough away so you can blur it out. I will take a photo then check the image and see what is showing up in the background. You can either change your angle or have a drop cloth of a brownish/red color to cover the offending weeds. Take your time looking for a unique burst, then take a lot of varying photos of it. Small changes can have a huge impact. A tripod is a must! I now use an off camera flash to add some light to open up the shadows a bit, you can also bring out more detail with a flash and a remote trigger. If shooting in the morning be prepared to get wet as there is a lot of dew at this time of the year. Possibly frost or snow too here in Wisconsin. Take your time, take lots of shots and have fun!

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