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Ferox Hortus The Fierce Garden

Ferox Hortus (the fierce garden) is a project I began in the autumn of 2017 driven, in part, by a desire to reinvigorate my passion for photography. I’ve not taken many photographs over the past couple of years, a combination of events and circumstance. However, with 2018 underway it’s something I hope to change. It focuses on two groups of plants, insectivorous plants and South African succulents. Plant portraiture is a very accessible form of photography, if you can find the plants that is. Fortunately, most of the images in this project come from my own collection, a fact that conveniently avoids the hassles encountered in setting up a tripod at more public venues.

The interplay of light with the plant is what is most intriguing to the photographer combined with the contrasts, pattern and symmetry that can be brought to the fore by photographing them in black and white. The images in the project are nearly all macros, taken with the oldest lens I own: the 105mm f/2.8 micro-nikkor.

Nepthenes x Bloody Mary

Getting the light to accentuate and emphasise the textures and patterns of the plants meant using a light tent to soften the harshness of daylight. Backdrop was a simple chalkboard, smeared with an appropriate amount of chalk. For many years, I've used SilverEfex Pro to do my black and white post-processing and with its recent adoption by DxO Labs, I'm glad to be able to continue to do so. I've always liked the way that it mimics many traditional darkroom practices - albeit with a far greater sophistication than was readily obtainable in a darkroom.

Haworthiopsis coarctata

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