I indulged myself. I bought a macro lens.
I might have bought a camera too. [says in small voice in manner of confession].
I got a press pass for RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in a couple of weeks’ time (yippee!) But then I started to worry about whether my photos will be good enough. So what initially seemed like a fantastic bargain (free ticket to prestigious flower show) has now proven to be most expensive ticket to flower show ever (cost of new camera).
I’d better start taking some blooming good photos.
Now, I’m not one to read instructions, and that’s good, because this camera came with NO instructions. Well, very basic instructions. So it is going to take a lot of button-pressing and dial-twiddling before I work out what I can do.
This is what I did after work today.
This flower is one of the reasons I bought a new camera. Stevie’s old SLR makes Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ look very strange. We have both fiddled and scratched our heads, and Stevie even read the manual, but no matter what we did, Anne came out all mauve. The photos that I have used in previous blog posts have been taken with my iPhone (see The Evening Light), but I can’t get close-ups with that.
This isn’t perfect, but the colour is much closer to the magenta purple that my eyes see. And I love that I can capture her curly eye-lashes. Look at the ones on the right! For those who are not familiar with hardy geraniums, the flowers are about the size of a ten-pence piece.
Next I looked at Anne’s next-door neighbour, Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ (featured in Just Peachy). I thought I’d try a bud. I love the miniaret shape of this bud. And the furriness of the carpels, and the tiny little spines, like you get on cactus fruit.
Then a ‘Lady Em’ flower. Look at those undulating folds.
Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ is always abuzz with bees, and so I thought I’d try to get one. As you can see, that didn’t really work. I’m going to have to learn patience for wildlife photography…
On to the bright border, and I couldn’t walk past this Crocosmia foliage. My Bridget Riley foliage. That is Geranium ‘Brookside’ behind.
But I could have taken that with my iPhone. Spendthrift guilt is creeping in at the corners.
Now this is what I bought a macro lens for. This is Geranium ‘Rozanne’. Just take a moment to admire her purple anthers and veins. And the shadows on anthers in the bottom left of her saucer!
Let’s just try a bit of Alchemilla mollis.
Oh, look at the beautiful Clematis! I utterly love the curlicue shapes. And the way these two are holding hands. There are two Clematis growing up this support, ‘Princess Diana’ and ‘Jackmanii’, and that is Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’ behind.
Wait a minute, who’s this?
Now we’re talking. I am really pleased with these photos. I love the curly magenta stigma on the geranium, with its dusting of pollen, and the white corona. I love the hairy stem and buds on the one below. And I love the colours.
I just got a teeny bit closer. And he waved his antennae at me.
Oh. The bug seems to have disappeared. But the stem is still pretty. I love the rosy apricot carpel. Ooh and I love the background.
I just drew my family’s attention to the beautiful background. I wondered if there is a word for this lovely blotchiness in a blurry background. Stevie tells me it is “Fourier transform”. I’m sorry, Stevie, but that’s just not very poetic. Dear arty types, (Emma Cownie? Arty Plantsman?) is there a more romantic name for this effect? You know, like ombre or chiascuro?
Let’s have another salvia, this time Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’. I know it’s a bit blurry, but a third of the way down there’s a little bit that is in focus! I love all the different colours in this salvia. And the monster mouths.
I am also pleased with this next one. Lychnis coronaria (also known as ‘Dusty Miller’ owing to the silver stems which could be dusted with flour. I also recently discovered the common name ‘Bridget in her Bravery’. Which is fabulous).
This particular form of Lychnis came from my mum, who seems to have acquired a particularly deep crimson. I utterly love this plant. On the same plant you get quite purply buds, magenta newly-opened flowers, reddish crimson flowers which are going over, and dark purple flowers which have shrivelled and dried. It has velvety petals, and in this photo you can see why they shimmer. They have tiny protrusions on the surface, which catch the light, like flecks of glitter. You can also see a little coronet of translucent spikes at the centre, and golden anthers. There is a light dusting of pollen (or flour?).
Lychnis coronaria. Very close.
The next one is the Gallica rose, ‘Charles de Mills’. It lives below a Mountain Ash (Rowan) tree, which is dropping its flowers. The white petals have been lying like confetti between the folds of rose petals, and now I think the rowan is dropping little brown shrivelled anthers too. Like the dried bouquet of the bride, tossed aside.
Oh look, with my new macro lens, even a nettle looks gorgeous.
For some reason, these photos upload with an obligatory caption. So excuse the rather obvious labels!
Whilst I’m here, look at the lichen on the rowan bark:
Are you ready for another geranium? This is Geranium magnificum. With very impressive veins. These remind me of visiting the Optician. You know when she shines a light into your eye and you somehow see the image of the blood vessels on the back of your eyeball? No idea how that works, but it looks like this!
This geranium has one fantastic flush of flowers, and then she will take a break. But look at the floofy seedheads, with the hybrid perpetual rose, ‘Reine de Violettes’ behind.
Oh goodness, even the raspberry leaves look gorgeous through this lens!
And look! It’s another little beastie! Is it a cricket? And an itsy bitsy fly looking on.
Some more foliage. This time from the rambler rose, ‘Bleu Magenta’.
And as we’re in the allotment now, a pea flower. More veining! Pea flowers are delightfully rude.
Oh, and a tendril! Everyone loves a tendril! Those curls remind me of having to draw a treble clef over and over for piano lesson homework.
Which leads me to the cellos. Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’.
Now stay with me. I’m nearly done. Just look at the doves with their heads together and wings outstretched:
Shall I try again for a bee?
They are tricksy!
One last geranium spent flower. They stay still.
And Anne herself, curly eye-lashes and all.
So that’s my camera. For those who want the technical details, it is an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens.
And yes, we’re bonding.