About halfway through composition of my review of Ninagawa Mika’s Sugar & Spice, about 5 minutes after I discovered (and ordered a copy of) the Acid Bloom series, I felt inspiration and excitement like I haven’t in a long time. I ran to the camera shelf, grabbed the OM10, 50mm f/zuiko, and a +4 Macro filter that came with it, and got to shooting.

Alas. I, a fat, balding, middle-aged slob like me, isn’t going to go make Acid Bloom in an afternoon. But I did make some pictures quite unlike anything I’ve ever done before, using tools and processes that I’ve never used before, so I think it’s a win overall… And who cares anyway? I had fun!

(Not) Channeling Ninagawa - Crepe Myrtle

It’s the moment I feel like a plant, or like a bug alighting on a flower,
that I release the shutter.

When I’m not in this heightened state,
I may shoot a beautiful flower beautifully, but that is all.

For me, the process of photographing a flower is something more, something that goes beyond the flower.

When I’m photographing well,
I am always floating on another plane — a place between this world and the world beyond.

Ninagawa Mika. Acid Bloom. Nazraeli Press, Tucson, Arizona. 2003. unnumbered.

I actually maybe felt that flow, got in the zone, a couple of times, but mostly I failed. Mostly I just made pretty pictures.

I had never used a macro filter before. Reversed and free lenses, proper macro lenses, sure, but macro filters? Never.

About halfway through the second roll (I shot two rolls in as many days), I checked the focus range: near to far, maybe 12 inches from the front of the lens (not measured).

Once in the computer I tried a few things. At first, I just boosted the saturation a bit, fiddled somewhat more than I usually would, the, by accident almost, I discovered Capture One’s baked in ICC profiles, and checked to see what the “Vivid” profile looked like.

This is something best done early on in the editing, as the changes are rather drastic. I’m not sure what all it’s doing, and it may be worth investigating if the “Flat” or “Neutral” profile might give a better starting point for my more usual negative-conversion work than the default “Generic” one.

I shot the second roll partially in the Fort Worth Botanical Garden, t0 which we’re members but don’t go often enough. My darling wife cultivates plants, and has quite a collection of flowers and fruits in the backyard, but our garden has nothing on BRIT’s.

Really and honestly, I had more fun shooting and more fun processing the negatives than I have had in a long time. I can see doing this more and hope to find something more with it.


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