Sunday, February 10, 2013

LEAF PATTERNS

A review of the posts on my blog would reveal that I have a major penchant for nature macro that presents opportunities in recognizable abstracts--patterns that are abstract but at the same time are somehow recognizable.  On a recent visit to the tropical section of the Mitchell Domes, I "discovered" a plant whose leaves provided such an opportunity.  Here are a few of the shots that I took.




I really like these abstracts.  It's pretty obvious that these are leaves (I think), but the patterns also have a great abstract quality to them.  These images were not without problems, however.  First, the leaves had a number of blemishes that I decided either to crop out or to "remove" in post processing.  Perhaps more importantly, I had not been able to obtain shots that were in good focus throughout the image because it would have been difficult in each case to position the camera at right angles to the plane of the leaf.  As a result, the shots are not as crisp as I would have liked them.  Note, for example, the lack of focus in the lower right of the shot of the green leaf.

As a result, a few days later I returned to the Domes to try to get better shots.  On my way, I noticed another leaf that presented an interesting abstract in a different color.


Despite doing a bit of post processing on this image, this is more or less the leaf's actual color.  One of the points of interest in this shot was the strip on the right side of the image.  I appears to be an area where the color got "bleached out."  And close inspection reveals that this bleached area has a green tinge in the brown portion of the leaf.  I think what was happening was that the brown portions were the result of a blend of red and chlorophyll green, and in the strip the red pigment was bleached out.  As a result in the pink area the leaf had turned white, but in the brown area the bleaching out of the red left the green remaining.

Here is a close-up of the same leaf.


A close look reveals some texture visible in the brown areas.

OK, when I found the leaves I was looking for, the first thing I realized was that the difference between the green and the brown leaves was simply a matter of which side of the leaf I was looking at.  The top sides of the leaves were green, while the undersides were brown.

This time I was a little more aggressive in repositioning the leaves to get shots where the camera was closer to being perpendicular to the surface of the leaves.



I tried for a different effect in post processing this time.  By increasing the contrast the images took on a patchy "painterly" effect that I liked quite a lot.  The resolution of these shots is significantly better than the prior set.  The leaves still had a number of blemishes and I considered leaving them in, but in the end decided that they might serve as unwanted distractions and either cropped them out or removed them through post processing.

I also tried one of these shots as an HDR, by blending three images that were identical except for shutter speed.  Here was the result.


Not much different except for some color differences in a few places.

I also took some shots of the underside of one of the leaves, again being more aggressive in repositioning the subject leaf.  Here are the results.



Not great but better technically than the prior time.  I think the green (upper) side shots proved more interesting.

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