Nature’s Tiny Beauty – Anatomy of a small flower

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!!

Miniature beauty..
Small flower from a Sempervium. Click on the photo for more viewing options on Flickr!


Nikon D7000 with a 105mm Sigma macro lens with extension tubes.
ISO200, f/18, 1/250 with remote slave flash
No post-processing!


In a German legend, when god had finished naming all plants, a small unnamed plant cried out “Forget-me-not, my lord”. Then god said “That shall be your name”. Another legend claims that after the Creator thought he had finished giving the flowers their colours, he heard one whisper “Forget me not!” There was nothing left but a very small amount of blue, but the forget-me-not was delighted to wear such a light blue shade.

Forget-me-not! Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr.

The tiny, cheerful blue flowers of Myosotis have played an important part in European folklore and history – from being used as a symbol by Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) after being exiled by Richard II to its adoption by the Freemasons during the Nazi regime across Europe. The flowers of forget-me-not are no more than 1cm in diameter and grow in long thin stalks bearing many flowers. They are popular in gardens and grow on the side of river banks and streams throughout Europe.

Technical Details

  • Nikon D7000 camera with a 105mm macro lens with extension tubes
  • ISO 200, f/18, 1/250 with external remote slave flash
  • processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom


Strawberry Blossom – extreme macro

For all the beauty and colour of the strawberry fruit, the Fragaria blossoms are small, white flowers with a yellow centre (about a centimetre across). The following photo is of a wild strawberry flower shot with a macro lens with extension tube attachments (hence extreme macro). Strawberries below to the rose family and have 5 sepals, 5 petals and many stamens arranged spherically.

Strawberry Flower
Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr.

 Technical Details

  •  Nikon D7000 camera
  • 105mm f/2.8 Sigma macro lens with extension tubes
  • 1/250, f/18, ISO 200
  • External slave flash at right angles
  • Processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Bougainvillea – up close and personal

A cheery tropical bougainvillea lights up an otherwise dull, cold and rainy day here in Cambridge!

Bougainvillea. Click on the photograph for a larger version on Flickr
Technical Details:
Nikon D7000 with 105mm f/2.8 Sigma Macro lens and extension tubes
f/18, 3.3 seconds, ISO 100
Processed in Adobe Lightroom

Anatomy of a Hibiscus – Part 2 (Extreme Macro)

Hibiscus is a great flower to photograph. The contrast between the green sepals and bracts, showy red petals (this particular variety), deep red pistils surrounded by bright yellow stamens make a great study in contrast especially against a dark background. You may not enjoy the botany below, but I’m sure you’ll agree that nature truly offers a marvelous spectacle in the microscopic.

Click on any picture to see a larger version!!

A fully open hibiscus flower
A fully open hibiscus flower

We all learned in school botany (well some of us!) about the various parts that make up a flower. Generally, flowers have 3 components –

  • Calyx – made up of sepals that protect the bud in infancy and form the base of the flower
A hibiscus bud showing bracts and the calyx (which are both modified leaves!)
  • Corolla – made up of showy petals that encase the reproductive organs
A hibiscus petal
  • Reproductive parts (Corolla, Stamen) that are in turn
Detail of a hibiscus stamen and stigma
Detail of a hibiscus stamen (male) and pistil (female)
Close-up of the reproductive organs of a Hibiscus flower. The yellow stamens and the red pistils.
  • Stamen – that make up the male reproductive parts – in turn made up of the filament that holds up the pollen sac or anther. The anther releases pollen when open.
Detail of a Hibiscus flower stamen.
Detail of a Hibiscus flower stamen.
Even closer. Glittering Hibiscus pollen on anthers held up by the filament – forming the stamen of the Hibiscus flower.
    • Pistil – The female reproductive parts of a flower. These are also made up of three components
      • Ovary – that finally forms the seed after fertilization
      • Style – a stalk above the ovary
      • Stigma – the farthest extend of the female part of the flower which receives the pollen for fertilization. This is usually sticky and allows pollen to attach.
The stigma of a Hibiscus flower, with pollen on them.

The pollen in the above picture look spherical, don’t they? But in the picture below, which is a crop of the above, you can see that the pollen grains are spiky, thereby allowing them to stick to the stigma surface.

100% crop of a stigma showing the real structure of pollen.
100% crop of a stigma showing the real structure of pollen.

Well, that’s my botany lesson! Thanks for stopping by….

Technical Details

  • Nikon D7000
  • Sigma 105mm, f/2.8 macro lens (with extension tubes for the closeups).
  • External remote flash Nikon SB-600 Speedlight
  • Adobe LightRoom 4.3 for adjustments