Also known as christmas cactus (but it is flowering here in Cambridge just in time for Thanksgiving), Schlumbergera’s are a strange sort of cactus plants. They have stems that look like leaf-like pads connected to one another. The flowers form at the terminal end of the plant. I grew mine from a small two segment section taken from a friends house and popped into a pot.
Autumn 2015 has been particularly great for roses here in Cambridge. My garden was full of roses in their second blooming flush this year and some are still in bloom (in November). This particular english rose has heavy blooms that almost bend the thin branches to the ground.
This photograph has a natural black background generated by the use of a off-camera slave flash at right angles combined with a small aperture f/11 and exposure time of 1/250. Click on the photo for options to view this in larger size on Flickr.
Nikon D7000, 105mm f/2.8 Sigma macro lens
f/11, 1/250, ISO100
Post-processed with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC
Every spring I try to take pictures of Daffoldils, which to me are the surest sign yet that the cold, wet and miserable winters are truly behind us and a (ever hopeful) good summer is to follow. The following photo was shot in daylight using a flash and high aperture to achieve a black background and enough depth of field to cover the whole flower!
It is that time of the year again! Autumn – when gigantic spiders make their way into the house and make webs in every available nook and cranny! And this one below (garden cross spider) made a huge web (almost a metre in diameter) between my beans and tomato plants.. Shudder!!!
There is this rose bush in my garden which struggles to survive every year regardless of what I try to do make it feel happy. But year on year it produces one or two of these really vibrant flowers in autumn! Just one of two roses sadly before the winter frosts kick in.
Capturing this photograph gave me no end of satisfaction. It was a very small flower (< 5mm diameter) to work with and it was a windy day and getting focus and framing right using increased magnification from extension tube attachments on the lens was a challenge. Finally getting the black background using a remote flash was also difficult. In the end, the results showed a beautiful, almost hand painted flower with flecks of yellow, magenta and crimson on the petals. There is truly beauty in small things!!
Nikon D7000 with a 105mm Sigma macro lens with extension tubes.
One thing they teach in school biology is the concept of food chains and food webs – the links that show interdependence of organisms based on the foods they eat. The photo below shows one such food chain starting with the rose (the producer) providing nourishment in the form of sap for aphids. In turn aphids are milked by ants for honeydew, a secretion that aphids produce. Ants are also known to “farm” aphids storing their eggs over winter and then carrying newly hatched aphids to emerging plant shoots in spring (called a mutualistic relationship).
Nikon D7000 with a 105mm Sigma f/2.8 macro lens
ISO200, f/22, 1/60 with remote slave flash to give a natural black background
This year has been very good for the aquilegia plants growing in my garden. This must have something to do with the mild wet winter we’ve just had here in Cambridge. Below is a photograph of a single aquilegia flower. These hardy, and highly toxic perennials also go by the names Columbine ( which comes from the Latin for “dove”, due to their resemblance to five doves clustered together – Wikipedia).
Nikon D7000 with 105mm f/2.8 Sigma macro lens
f/22, 1/60 with remote slave flash fired from underneath
Processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and NIK Color Efex Pro.