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"Shooting Star" (Stargazer Lily, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/8, 1.3s, ISO 640

I really thought the deadline for Scott Thomas’ latest photo challenge, Close-up Photography, was March 28th but sadly, I realized last night that it was yesterday. Sigh.

Well, no matter. ‘Better late than never’ as they say. 🙂

As the snow fell outside today (mostly flurries, but seriously?!), my gaze turned towards the last remnants of a gorgeous floral arrangement hubby brought home last Tuesday to help chase the winter blues away. Though most of the flowers had seen better days, a single Stargazer Lily remained more than photo-worthy.

No extension tubes or teleconverters this time, I kept the set-up simple using just the 105mm macro lens. Natural light from a nearby window softly washed over the blossom, separating it beautifully from the background.

"Kowtow" (Stargazer Lily, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/3.3, 1/13s, ISO 1000

Now, while these two images are nice, the assignment afterall is Close-up Photography, so let’s see just how close we can really get! 🙂

"C is for Carousel" (Stargazer Lily Stamens, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D30, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/8s, ISO 1000

As I moved in tighter, I enabled Nikon’s LiveView feature which allowed me to frame the shot in the LCD monitor rather than the viewfinder, making it much easier to compose the image and insure a nicely crisp focal point.

Amazing what you see when get down to this level, huh? It becomes less about the flower and more about the shapes, colors and textures.

For me, the stamens have somehow become tiny gondolas radiating outwards on Chartreuse spokes. And, although the shallow DOF suggests radial motion, I assure you, the stamens behaved themselves and stayed perfectly still.

Okay okay, enough attention on the stamens, already! I think the last post paid them their due homage so let’s move on, shall we? 😉

"Slice of Summer" (Stargazer Lily Petal, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/5s, ISO 1000

Asiatic lilies have wonderfully spotted petals, sort of like the coat of a Snow Leopard. Hmmm, but looking at this image I’m not getting spotted feline. Nope, it must be my yearning for warm weather because all I can think about is that first bite of summer watermelon. You know what I’m talkin’ about… hacking off a thick slice and settlin’ down, bare feet dipping into the pool as you sink your teeth into that sweet crimson flesh, juices drippin’ down your chin…yummmmm.

Uh, Stargazer Lilies are edible, right? 🙂


  1. Now that is some amazing detail!

  2. Love close ups! Beautiful!
    As for edible–dipped and batterred then fast fried flowers can be yummy to eat.

  3. fascinating stuff!!! Great tip on using live view and then magnifying in close to what you want.

    How’s your exercise going?!

    • Thank you, Derrick! I never really appreciated the LiveView feature before, but now, I know I will be using it more and more. Scott actually reminded me of it so it pays to be in a community like this one to help us remember the tools we have!

      Exercise is going pretty good! I am a little over 6 weeks into it and am happy to see definition and tone returning! Woohoo! Some days are harder than others and I still HATE that elliptical machine BUT my eye is on the prize as summer is only a few short months away and I wanna look good in that bikini! 🙂 Thanks for asking!

  4. Thinking of watermelon and bare feet whilst there are snow flurries outside, LOL that got me giggling, I’d be thinking of a thick spicy soup with fresh bread and butter for lunch and a large leg of lamb roast for the end of the day…
    Brillant photos Tracy, that flower was definitely ready for its close up. 🙂

    • Ha! Thanks so much, Kiwi! I don’t think I could have gone wrong with that flower! 🙂

      Yeah, the days of hearty soups are gone now that I’m trying to get this old body back into shape for the summer. Not as easy as it used to be but I’m giving it my best! 6 weeks down, 10 weeks to go!

  5. Don’t you just love the live view feature for macro stuff… Does the **ahem** Nikon also let you zoom in on the LCD to really nail the focus ??.. I’ve also linked mine to the laptop, and macro micro tuned the focus directly through the computer… For studio stuff it’s amazing..

    Oh… I digress… lol… Anyway, these are simply stunning, and I’m now thinking that I should ignore flower macro completely, as I’m sure I’ll never compete with these… 🙂

    • Actually, now that I’ve really used the LiveView feature as it was meant to be used, YES, it is awesome!! What will they think of next??

      Yes, you can zoom in to nail the focus. Pretty cool stuff. I can see how it could be so useful linked to a laptop – no more guessing! I actually feel a little dumb that I’ve had this ‘tool’ all along. I recall testing it when I first got the D300 and not fully understanding its capabilities (this was waaaay before I got a macro lens). But now that I know??? Look out! 🙂

      Thanks so much, Brian! You are too sweet!

  6. Beautiful shots, Tracy, each in their own way. My favorite is the last one, “slice of summer”. You would guess so, I suppose.

    • Thank you, Birgitte. I think I might have been channeling your presence with that last one… 😉

  7. I thought the deadline was today! 😛
    These are gorgeous (as always)…. the third one is my favorite.

    • Figures! Leave it to the two of us, right? Doh! 😉

      Thanks, M. I’m a little scared of what these would look like if I slapped on the extension tubes and the teleconverter! 😉

  8. I always think of flowers as designs for attracting pollinators. When we enter the world of the macro, we are really entering the world of the insect and these shapes are irresistible to many little creatures. Flowers are, after all, the only life that relies on other, completely unrelated organisms for their procreation.

    • Me, too! Sadly, we will never really know what exactly the little buggers are seeing as their eyes are so very different than ours. BUT, I think macro photography gets us close to their world and it is completely fascinating!

      Thank you for writing this perspective, BM! Such a great way to think about it! 🙂

  9. I will have to take points off for tardiness. Then give you back bonus points for the photos!

  10. Yes, love your watermelon analogy. Beautiful “close-ups”. Gorgeous color, lighting and texture. Can’t wait until we are capturing these flowers in the wild.

    • Thank you, Becky!

      Can’t beat the color and light on these. When I look back on recent posts, you can actually see the difference in the light. Winter light is definitely colder. So happy to see the warm light returning, makes such a difference!

      I completely agree! Seeing snow on the ground this morning along with the chilly temps makes summer feel oh so far away. I hope we are rewarded big time! 🙂

  11. Simply amazing. I’m speechless….and for me, that’s saying something! 😉

  12. WOW! As you said, those vibrant colors just explode out of the background – amazing!

    This Lillie does seem a bit chewy…

    • Thanks, Robert! Much appreciated!

      Yeah…I think you got something there in your teeth…nope, not that one, to the right a little…yep, there ya go.. 😉

  13. Nice post, Tracy. I especially like the last paragraph about hot summer. We’re all really craving for warmer days, aren’t we?
    Accompanying images are nice, as you wrote, and the latter two are excellent. The last one really reminds me of a watermelon! Great work!

    • Thank you, Tomas! How sweet! 🙂

      Oh, I am craving the warmer months like there is no tomorrow!! But, I must remember that the month of March is always like this…last year was no execption. Just need to hang on until April when the clouds finally part and everything seems to turn green and lush virtually over-night.

      I just couldn’t get the watermelon image out of my head so I figured, why not include it in the post? 😉

  14. Really nice Tracy, they are otherworldly. I am jealous of your technique.

    • Gracias, Robert! It is an alien world to us, eh? 🙂

      Don’t think I’ve ever had anyone jealous of my technique before…feeling a little bit proud of myself now! 😉

  15. Watermelon was my first thought on the last shot, too. Shows you where my mind is at these days!

    These are all really beautiful shots, Tracy. 🙂

    • It sooooo does! I bet if I posted it without saying what it was (oh, shoot! just realized I SHOULD have made this a ‘guess what I am’ shot! Oh, well…next time…) back to my point. If I had posted it without revealing what it actually was, I just BET it could easily pass as a slice of watermelon!

      Thank you, Robin! 🙂

  16. I love that last one, Tracy! Yummy yummy yummy!

    • Thanks much, Sync! Can’t beat summertime watermelon! 🙂

      • I meant the photo was yummy! You know how I have a penchant for abstract close ups.

      • Ha! Well, thanks AGAIN, then! 🙂 And, yes, I know you do and I can see why!

  17. It’s no wonder that Georgia O’Keefe painted them up close like this. Gorgeous!

    • Thank you, Tammy! Good thing my images are G-rated (unlike O’Keefe’s!)

  18. Ahhh Stargazer… my favorite. After the sheer admiration of the beauty here, the first thing I think of is how many shirts I’ve ruined brushing up against the lovelies!!

    • So true! That pollen is quite the little stain-maker! 🙂

      Thanks, KC!

  19. They are beautiful captures.
    The second one is my favourite, i think perhaps because of the angle

    • Thanks so much! Not sure this little beauty had anything but good angles! 🙂

  20. Back again from 10 weeks of travel and adventure far away from home – and after some days at home now I have started reading blogs again! I have missed your masterpieces here, Tracy, – I love your close-ups in this post…

    • Welcome back, Truels! Can’t wait to see your adventure photos!

      Thanks so much! 🙂

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Assignment 12 Recap | Views Infinitum on 30 Mar 2011 at 6:36 am

    […] Tracy, along with Michaela and Karma, helped me a lot over the last month.  So, how could I not let Tracy slide in late.  I feel she even outdid herself. […]

  2. By A very good year « Milkay Photography on 17 Nov 2011 at 1:58 pm

    […] macro fun continued well into March… "C is for Carousel" (Asiatic Lily Stamens) Nikon D30, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, […]

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