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  • Charlotte Chapple

Sunflower Macro Shoot

Well, it is safe to say summer is finally under way! In recent weeks I have been enjoying home comforts and relaxation under the sun, although am beginning to get restless due to the lockdown. I am making the most of my free-time and have enjoyed the garden which is, at this time of year, at its best. It is filled with many beautiful plants and flowers but on this particular day I was drawn to the sunflowers my mum had recently bought and placed in a vase on the dining room table.

Sunflowers are simply gorgeous! They are the very embodiment of summer with their corona of vibrant yellow. With their bright, yellow petals and tall green stems, it's easy to see why so many people love them, including me. One fact I have recently learnt is that each sunflower is actually thousands of tiny flowers! The blossom of the sunflower is called a head. The yellow petals and fuzzy brown centers are actually individual flowers themselves. As many as 2,000 can make up the sunflower bloom. The petals we see on the outside of the bloom are called ray florets. The centers of the bloom are called disc florets, this is where the seeds develop.

When looking at the disc florets at the centre of the flower, I found all the intricate details very visually interesting in the way it was structured and leads the eye to the centre of the flower. The flowers also had small droplets of nectar resting on the centre parts, which added different dimensions and shapes.

What I find so aesthetically pleasing about this image is how the intricate shapes of the florets are sharpened by the very simple out of focus florets in the foreground and the petals in the background, capturing the texture of the flower. The extreme close-up shows the great intricacy of the texture from the smooth velvet like florets further out from the centre to the more jagged and spikey centre parts. As this is the most textured area it commands the most attention and draws the viewers eye into the image.

Camera settings = 55mm, ISO 800, aperture f/5.6, shutter speed 1/80.

One of the best aspects about this image is its the three dimensional quality and how it gives the effect of depth. The in focus leaf in the foreground really captures the viewers attention and the out of focus background adds layers and sense of depth that creates the 3D effect. The diagonal undershot view is also very effective. By shooting upwards, the size of the leaf is exaggerated and adds intrigue to the shot. Due to this being an unusual angle that people do not see every day especially with flowers, it makes the image more interesting to look at. The leaf is very textured and commands the most attention, capturing the viewer’s eye and drawing it in to all the refined hairs that litter the underside of the leaf adding a harsh texture that contrasts to the smooth petals in the background.

Camera settings = 55mm, ISO 800, aperture f/7.1, shutter speed 1/60.

This image is my personal favourite. I find the way I captured the refined details of the nectar droplets in contrast to the harsher spikes they rest upon very intriguing and makes you look more closely at every minor detail of the disc florets. I also find the colours of the images very visually appealing. The bright yellow outer petals make the image appear bold and contrast to the darker brown, black and green tones of the florets. The darker centre tones are balanced out by the clear shine of the nectar, creating an overall very balanced and harmonious colour palette.

Camera settings = 55mm, ISO 800, aperture f/5.6, shutter speed 1/80.

Here are some of the other images I took of this flower, the embodiment of summer. All the images shown have been taken on my Canon 750D.

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