Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography

More Abstract Agaves of SoCo

Agave Closeup #1, SoCo - Austin, Texas

Agave Closeup #1, SoCo – Austin, Texas

Continuing with images from last weekend’s photowalk in SoCo, I present to you, agaves. The last post was about colorful clouds this one is about sombre plants. Agaves are wonderfully sculptural plants that I really love to shoot. This one, with the textured blue – gray is especially nice. I was playing with my new and underused lens, the Olympus 40 -150mm f4 – 5.6 that I purchased before my trip to Japan. I brought it along on the photowalk hoping to better explore its capabilities. Being a telephoto, it certainly has the ability to bring distant things closer and compress the space between objects near and far. However, when you are up close to a subject, you can use it somewhat macro like and zoom in on smaller objects.

I decided to zoom in and isolate the leaves of this fantastic plant to give an abstract feel. The first image emphasizes a single leaf with its tiny barbs and beautiful texture. It is balanced by a faded and out of focus leaf that echos the focal point. I used the zoom at 150mm (300mm equivalent) to get up close. The auto ISO setting jumped up to 800 to give me an adequate shutter speed and the higher ISO noise serendipitously added character to the vertically patterned leaf.

Agave Closeup #2, SoCo - Austin, Texas

Agave Closeup #2, SoCo – Austin, Texas

For the second image, I pulled back to 58mm (116mm equivalent) which gave me a slightly wider view. I wanted to emphasize the layers of the plant and the changes in shade as you go deeper into the plant. I remember I made sure that the center between the leaves had the same blue – gray color so that it would blend into the image. I believe a different colored background would ruin the consistent layered colors of the Agave.

A telephoto can certainly help shoot distant objects but it also has the ability to greatly simplify a composition. The more you zoom in, the angle of view decreases. It becomes easier to exclude unwanted objects from the frame. I used this technique to create these abstract images. I’ll have to keep this in mind and try to use this lens so more.

Interestingly, this is not the first time I shot agaves on South Congress. Almost 2 years ago at the genesis of this blog, I posted agave photographs taken with my Canon 7D. I used a 35mm f2 lens that gave a shallower depth of field and a very different look. Different tools and different focal lengths but a similar subject. There are always multiple ways to capture an image. Neither is right or wrong, just different.


Please make sure to click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure details.

For these two images, I used a Olympus E-PL1 camera which is running at a bargain price of $150 to which I attached the 40-150mm telephoto lens. If you are thinking of buying this equipment, please click on these links. You will get the same low Amazon price and I’ll get a small commission, which helps support this site.

6 responses

  1. I’ve never seen bluish tunes like this for agave. Then again in NY not much exotic vegetation.

    One of my favorite lenses for doing this is my old Tamron 18-250. They have a new 18-270 version of this lens which I think may have kind of stabilzation, My old one does not. It’s for crop sensor only. The lens is really lightweight for the length and has some nice sharpness. If I could take only one DSLR body and lens on a trip, the 180-250 would be the one. Very versatile. It’s slow on the aperture (3.5-6.3), but then again I don’t do a lot of low light anyway when traveling. I go more for outdoor daylightstuff.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    • I would imagine that Tamron would do a great job for stuff like this. I’ll have to play with this telephoto some more and see what I can do.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:06 am

  2. gwynnem

    Gorgeous. Now I’m totally missing my Austin days. You really captured the otherworldly quality of these plants.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    • gwynnem, thank you. Fantastic plants aren’t they. I love them.

      July 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm

  3. Pingback: SoCo neon and focal length experiments « atmtx photography blog

  4. Pingback: A bit of magic at Milton and South Congress « atmtx photography blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s