Tag Archives: macro

Mother-in-law’s poison!

Little did I realise, when my mother-in-law came for dinner, that she had brought poison into the house!

Ranunculus – beware…

These deadly plants – if you eat them – are growing in her garden. So, she brought a posey to put on our dining table. And very colourful they are. But pretty dangerous too….

Beautiful and deadly

This is not the plant you want to eat. (Not that we were planning on eating it – Roast duck actually with a fine Rhone wine, cooked by Mrs P no less!) I take it on good authority that there is an acrid taste, intense blistering to the mouth. Ingesting will cause excessive salivation and bloody diarrhoea…!

What a pink!

blinding yellow!

Beauty often hides a darker side. Lured in, captivated and entranced, only to be stung. Such is the power of deceptive plants…

hooded and hidden heart

Vicious fiery intensity

No respite in that poisonous green

So, poison from the garden, placed meekly in the vase on the dining table. From the mother-in-law! And who would know this dangerous plant’s common name? Ranunculus = the buttercup!

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Every cloud has a silver lining…


Frothy Blackthorn in Epping Forest

You know that winter is truly over when the Blackthorn explodes into blossom:

The hedgerows look amazing, a mass of frothy, bubble white, on the edge of the forest. But quite difficult to photograph, as I discovered last Sunday morning at about 7.30, as the first sun was coming up.

The problem is how to get a distinct picture. Go wide, and all you see is an indistinct white blob. So you need to go close and focus in on the blossom flowers themselves. But then the slightest wind and you get a lot of blur. Not easy.

These flowers are tiny, maybe the size of a 5p piece, no more. So once the camera is on the tripod, the macro lens fully extended, focus and composition decided, then the mere whisper of a breeze and everything’s messed up. Even at the stillest moment of the day I think a ratio of 5 blurred shots to 1 in focus. Gentle rocking back and forth on the tripod.

It may have been quite still, but quiet it was not. The birds were in full voice, cackling, warbling, trilling, flirting with each other. Almost deafening. The forest and the hedgerows are alive and kicking! Spring, at last.


Amaryllis photo shoot, Epping, Sunday afternoon

Spring is sprung, at last, and the flowers are beginning to bloom. Which is such a relief after the grim grey of the last few months. And when the flowers come out, I like to grab my camera. Here’s my first effort from earlier today. An Amaryllis that I’ve got in a pot in the kitchen.

Bursting out.

This is quite an amazing plant. The stem is about half a metre long already, and still growing strong. The flowers will be large and bold. Amaryllis isn’t shy about coming forward!

But is colour the right way to show this flower…? I wonder if black and white doesn’t actually make it even more impressive – as a picture that is? Here’s a shot of the same plant, same time, same camera, same lighting conditions etc. I’ve just converted this into b&w. Ok, so now we don’t get the spring colours…, but is the photo more aesthetically pleasing as a picture? Is it more unusual? Does the removal of colour move the photo from a simple depiction of what’s there, to an interpretation of the flower? Does b&w move the picture from the real to the interpretative, more ‘arty’?

Unopened bud.

Let me know which one you like the best, and why!


If it’s not good enough, you’re not close enough! Macro Flowers.

I’ve just been going back through my files. It’s really weird to look back at what I was photographing 10 years ago. My first real subject was flowers, and close up at that. I got quite passionate about flowers, I guess I still am, and I loved taking my time, getting in really close, using the macro lens and a tripod, and trying to capture form, colour, shape, texture and line.

A common-or-garden poppy

Amazing, I think, that such beauty exists all around us, in the most ordinary things, and that we usually just pass them by without really noticing them. But that is exactly what photography forces you to do: to look, closely. The most common things become quite breath-taking. Here’s another poppy:

Another back garden poppy

There were 2 photographers who were inspirational when it came to flowers. The first is Clive Nichols, whose book New Shoots, is very much the style that I’ve copied here. The second is Robert Mapplethorpe, who is known for a quite different lens subject matter. When you realise that he died in the 90s in New York from Aids you’ll get a sense of what scene he was best known for. His pictures are truly superb, and his black and white flower photos are exquisite. Check out his book ‘Pistils’. I don’t have his eye, or his skill, yet. But I’m working towards it. In the meantime, here are a few Ranunculii:

Yellow ranunculus

These flower heads are actually quite small. About the size of a 50 pence piece. The macro lens brings all that glorious colour and form right up close and perspective is quite lost. I rather like the abstract nature of the pic above, creamy egg yolk on top of fiery layers of gold leaf paper. Delicious.

Here’s a more realistic pic of the same genus:

Yellow ranunculus, head on.

Get in contact if you ever want a print to go on a bedroom, lounge, dining room wall (I know that some people have even got my flower pics in the loo!) I probably have a flower to match any colour scheme…

And let me know if you like the photos – you can subscribe to the blog using the button on the right hand side. Cheers!