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.
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.