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Macro Nature

Cinematic. Ethereal. Sublime. Flowers on the Macro Level.

Jeffrey Ofori photo of a young tulip and leaves
A yellow Tulip starting to bloom.

Having a day job as a Postal Worker in Canada, Jeffrey Ofori works outside, which is great because he’s a flower photographer, though it can be distracting to come upon lovely gardens as he’s delivering mail. But to say Jeffrey is just a flower photographer might not be accurate either, because he loves all genres of photography.

Jeffrey Ofori photo of a daisy about to bloom
A Daisy just starting to bloom.

Inspiration from Cinematography

My inspiration comes from—believe it or not—cinematography and color grading, [like] when you’re watching a movie or documentary and there are certain scenes that really draw you in and portray a mood or feeling. I combine that experience with all-inspiring mother nature, and when you bring it down to the macro level, a whole other world opens up.

This cinematic moodiness is brought out by altering the hues or colors of the image palette in his images. And it’s created a unique and visible style when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and come upon Jeffrey’s images. You instantly know who created them.

I aim for the cinematic moody feel for my flowers when editing. I always go for that vibe. It’s hard for me to take just a picture of a flower and leave it as is, there are a few instances when I barely edit the photo leaving the flower and its natural color and beauty. For the most part I like to have the flower or petals be the main focal point rather than the background and I want the flowers to tell a story.

Jeffrey normally knows in his head how the final image will look before he’s even brought the image into Adobe Lightroom. He says: “When I capture an image, a lot of the time I already know how it will look in post.” He adds: “I tend to have a calming feeling when I look at my final images. I like to give them names, which are sometimes quirky, sometimes serious. Most of the images that stand out to me though, are the ones that I name.”

I’m a huge fan of cinematography, color grading and color theory.

I’ve created my own custom presets that I work with to get the feel I’m looking to achieve. A lot of the time I shoot underexposed with the white balance set to Cloudy, I also always use a polarizer filter to block out the harsh midday sunlight, and I tend to stick to the Golden hours.

Another aspect to his style is that to the viewer, these flowers almost resemble dancers in a way—their petals are dainty, and in the perfect position relative to the rest of the flower. We’d even call Jeffrey’s images “ethereal” which is exactly what he wants his viewer to think. Jeffrey is adept at using texture, depth-of-field, and composition along with his own color style to create macro images of flowers that look as if they’re paintings not photographs.

“I want the [viewer] to bring their own story to what they see and feel when they come across my art. It brings me joy when I hear or read the emotional feedback from people, it’s a humbling experience,” he explains.

The “Blue Ribbon” image (below), which is my most popular and favorite flower it is an African Daisy just starting to bloom and it’s only an inch tall and the petals flow like poured water. With the right Nikon Micro lens these are the kind of results you can get.

Jeffrey Ofori photo of an African Daisy just starting to bloom
An African Daisy just starting to bloom.

No Flowers Were Harmed in the Making of These Images

I don’t manipulate the flowers themselves by adding or subtracting petals but rather I adjust the textures and tones. Like capturing people, every flower is different.

Jeffrey finds many of his subjects in neighborhood gardens and greenhouses. And because he always takes his camera with him, when the inspiration strikes, he’s ready.

I would say 99% of my flower photography is outdoors. I work with what I’m given. I capture flowers as they are in nature. The most I would do is move a leaf out of the way but I don’t cut or reposition the flowers in any way.” The other 1% of the time I capture indoors with store bought flowers but it is very rare, don’t get me wrong, indoor still life flowers are just as beautiful. I just like to shoot flowers in their natural elements and surroundings.

Jeffrey Ofori photo of an orange dahlia as it starts to bloom
A Dahlia just starting to bloom.

Embracing Nature

A shallow depth of field is probably most important to Jeffrey, he explains, especially close-up. It allows him to manually pinpoint his focus on a certain part of the flower rather than the flower being photographed completely in focus—to turn an image of a flower into a beautiful landscape that fills the frame.

As for color, I change it to how I see it. I’ll use different hues and shades to make you look twice. Most people know what the natural color of the flower looks like, what I aim to do as an artist is make you feel how a flower looks.

I consider myself an artist and the camera is my brush. When I use the quote “a rose is a rose is a rose” what I’m trying to interpret to the viewer is that it’s okay to use your creativity and not follow the norm, dare to be different and become your own. Macro photography is a world within a world where we walk past little things everyday that go unnoticed. If we just take the time and slow down, we can really embrace what nature has to offer. “We are here for experiences not appearances.”

Jeffrey Ofori photo of Echeveria Runyonii flowers
Echeveria Runyonii, completely altered colors.

Jeffrey has quickly gained a following on Instagram, having only joined the social media platform in early 2021. He understands the importance of engaging with followers, interacting with them. Along with regular posts, he replies to many of the comments he receives. “I appreciate that most of my work can be recognized based on my style,” he says.

Abstract Macro

Into the Abstract Macro World

Jasmin Javon abstract macro photo with shades of blue
HIATUS. Macro subject: oil, water, food coloring, dish soap, and glycerin. Camera settings: f/8, 1/500 sec shutter speed, ISO 100.

Photographer Jasmin Javon is passionate about photography and her specialty is macro abstract photography.

“Each style of photography has its own element that captivates me. I enjoy landscape photography for the way it submerges me into the beauty of nature; B&W photography, for the way it plays with light; and portrait photography for the way it captures the essence and identity of someone. I started out as a portrait photographer, so it will always have a place in my heart.”

With her abstract macro work, she lives to create art that makes you pause and explore the work in detail with your imagination. In fact, she utilizes composition, angle and light or exaggeration of elements like form, shape, color and texture to turn a photograph into a piece of art. She defines her work as Abstract Fine Art or Photographic Abstract Art.

“I’m inspired by art itself and the art in nature. The way the clouds move across the sky, or the reflection of the setting sun on the ocean. I also get inspired watching artists do things like paint pours, or work with acrylic resins. I can watch that stuff for hours. I LOVE watching creators put their soul into their work. That’s what inspires me to do the same.”

Jasmin Javon macro abstract photo of colorful soap bubbles
VITREOUS. Macro subject: soap bubbles. Camera settings: f/5.3 1/125 sec shutter speed, ISO 1100.

Techniques in macro

There are a variety of techniques that Jasmin uses to create her abstract art, however they’re all macro. In fact, early on she had only an entry-level DSLR, kit lens and extension tubes to make these images. She’s since moved to the Z 50 mirrorless camera and NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 lens.

Jasmin taught herself the various techniques she uses by doing a lot of research on the internet. She explains that she was determined to perfect her craft.

“At the time [I began] I couldn’t afford a true macro lens so my first thought was “How can I accomplish the same results of a macro lens on a budget?” The answer was extension tubes. The only con about using these tubes was the extra weight they added to the camera.”

“Macro techniques allow me to zoom in on the details I find most intriguing compositionally. All of the images I take require selective focus to capture the tiny details, shapes and colors.”

Some images use a technique similar to what you would do to create a fluid painting, others are more simple—soap bubbles or oil and water, or tendrils of smoke.

Jasmin started off photographing oil and water and her photography has: “evolved into more than I could have anticipated,” she says. She has used common household products to create thought provoking images. Jasmin says she finds inspiration in the beauty of things that you typically wouldn’t pay much attention to.

“The pure and simple interaction between water and oil is beautiful in the right light.”

Jasmin Javon macro abstract photo of oil and water
QUEST. Macro subject: oil on water, placed over a brightly lit backdrop. Camera settings: f/5.6, 1/125 sec shutter speed, ISO 1400.

Putting in the work

Jasmin says she aims to shoot twice a week, for a minimum of 2-3 hours at a time. “I just get lost in it,” she says. “When I’m shooting, I typically have an idea in mind of what technique I’ll use and even what colors I want to go with,” she says. Jasmin keeps a master list of ideas and adds to the list as inspiration strikes. However, she’ll also let spontaneity dictate what she shoots. “I will change up the colors and styles at least 3-4 times during one shoot,” she explains.

Jasmin is always testing different materials, in different lighting with different colors and shapes to see what she can change from the last shoot. “I never want my audience to get bored with my work. I love creating new things because it makes me realize how limitless this craft is. I crave the creative aspect of making something out of nothing. It is so satisfying and invigorating to me. Moreover, I want to appeal to more than just one person’s interests.”

“The NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 lens is just remarkable,” Jasmin notes. “I was very surprised at how compact and lightweight this camera is with the lens attached.”

“I thoroughly enjoy the sharpness of the images I get and how easily I am able to focus tightly on subjects.” She also loves the versatility of the lens, “I can go from macro to full frame in an instant.”

Jasmin Javon abstract macro photo of colorful dyes mixed with oil and water
EXUBERANCE. Macro subject: oil, water, food coloring, dish soap and glycerin on acrylic sheet placed over an LED light. Camera settings: f/4.2, 1/5000 sec shutter speed, ISO 320.

Just doing it

Jasmin had worked as a studio portrait photographer and even for Disneyland as a Photopass photographer. While she loved bringing memories to people that she knew would be cherished forever, she also wanted her work to be taken more seriously.

She thought to herself, “What do I have to lose if I go after my dream of being a photographer?” Jasmin says she took that and ran with it. “My first camera ever was a Nikon COOLPIX 2500 and here I am being interviewed by one of the top camera companies in the world. I am living testimony that going after what you’re passionate about can only bring good things to you. I believe if you go after what you love doing with all your heart, you can’t fail.”

Jasmin utilizes Instagram to build awareness about her abstract macro photography and has been able to reach a worldwide audience for her work. “I love engaging with fellow artists & photographers, reaching new audiences, and exploring the works of like-minded creators.”

Jasmin Javon macro abstract photo of white smoke on a black background
FLOW. Macro subject: smoke from burning incense cone. The trick is to get the moving smoke in focus. Camera settings: f/3.8 1/4000s ISO 45600.