It is possible to puzzled over my choice of an ungainly potted plant acquired over two years ago from the Eddydale farm stand. We popped in for tomatoes, sweet corn and watermelons after a hike along nearby Treman Park, I spotted the plant on display in the front. The cashier suggested we visit the greenhouse to view the parent, currently in bloom. Memory of the blossoms were short lived as we lived with this collection of malformed green lobes sprouting long stalks.
The plant occupied a pool-side water barrel summers, a bedroom corner winters. This year, 2020, flower buds formed late July, one on a lengthening stalk. “Dutchman’s pipe cactus” is a popular name, from the appearance of the flower on the end of a stalk turned up with a terminal curve.
Keeping a watch eye on progress, I noted a swelling on Wednesday, September 23rd morning, more pronounced by evening. First thing Thursday morning the flower was in full glory. I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with the Canon EF 70 – 300 mm lens. The variable focal length lens can be used for macros, offering more flexibility compared to the 100 mm macro lens.
For the first three photographs of this series I used the Photoshop feature Photomerge, combining 12 or so image files. For each file the camera was mounted on a Manfrotto BeFree carbon fiber tripod with a ball head. Focus was on manual and, using the screen of the Canon 5D I gradually changed the focus, crisp focus moving between planes. In theory, the Photomerge chooses the best focus for each image producing a perfect result.
As the session progressed the scene brightened and for these last two photographs I used aperture priority at the highest value (36) and autofocus.
Here is a comparison of a merged and high aperture photograph.
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