Impressionistic Irises

The irises in front of the junior high are in full bloom.  Irises are a famous subject for painters, notably impressionists like Van Gogh and Monet.  The beauty of irises is at all scales of view, from very close up to the scale of a garden landscape or even larger.  How can the camera capture this beauty in an abstract way?  I fitted out my 24-85mm lens with a sunglasses (0.6 plus 0.9 neutral density filters) so that I could set the shutter speed at ¼ second without having to use a terribly small aperture (which would show the dirt on my sensor as spots).  My apertures ranged from 4.5 to 14.  Then began the dance. With a shutter speed of ¼, which is pretty long, moving the camera too fast and too far created pure blur or more abstraction than I wanted, so the movements had to be smaller and/or slower. I wanted to go for garden scale shots, with irises, the white flowering bush behind and a tree above all in the scene, ideally with a sense of depth–irises close and other elements further back.

I would be glad to have feedback!  Which is your favorite?

irises-1In this one I was interested in the iris plants’ leaves and I gave the camera a slightly twisting motion as I tried to move in parallel with the tree branches.  I don’t always like the vortex look but this one was fairly minimal.


irises-3I think I was moving the camera in a small tight curve for this one.  I suspect there was a pivot point between the end of the lens and the sensor (vs moving the whole camera with the lens axis always orthogonal), so the camera movement effect is different for the foreground (irises in focus but shifting) and the back ground (relatively large arcs moved by points of light). The single iris in the lower right seemed a candidate for removing by cropping at first, but that eliminated the perception of depth in the scene.

Same deal for the next one, with different effect for foreground and background, but the camera movement created a Van Gogh-like effect, especially in the background. I like the dissonant angles between the white flowers and the purple irises.  Do you?


irises-4This one is just kind of fun, with the little circles. You can tell it is a scene with a tree, but the white flowers jump forward and make the distances hard to see.

irises-2Here the little circles are not quite so pervasive and there is a contrast with the pointy iris leaves.

irises-6The Van Gogh effect again, but no dissonant angles.


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