These shots feature a choice in cropping. I like putting the central portion of the flower off center to create some interest, as in the first image, but there is also something to be said for the symmetry of the square shot. These flowers are actually quite large--the central bristle portion is perhaps 1-1/2 inches across and the petals bring the total width to around 4 inches. As a result, I chose to clip the tips of the petals to emphasize the bristles in the central portion. These shots were taken at an aperture of f/4 to eliminate background distractions. The focus on the petals is quite soft, but I am OK with that.
I tried a few side view shots, including the following showing what I assume are grains of pollen that are situated near the periphery of the central portion.
So-so, but I decided that shots from directly above were more interesting and provided better opportunities for abstracts. In the following shot, I wanted to place the center of the flower in the upper right corner and to show a portion of the magenta petals. This was taken at an aperture of f/9.
I decided, too, that by overexposing the shots, I could bring out some of the variations of color, adding to the surreal quality of these shots. Here are a couple of those.
There are portions of the above shots where the color of the petals is largely blown out. But I am OK with that because I think it adds to the overall wild nature of the shots.
And below, finally, is a closeup of one of the above images, emphasizing the interesting spiraling of the bristles around the flower's center.
I liked how I was able to have the camera peer straight down on the tops of the bristles and how I was able to darken the spaces between the bristles.