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Steve F

Cone flower nightmare - identification help please!

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Hi everyone,

So I was at someone's garden in Austria for a BBQ recently and got my camera out and started photographing flowers (as you do.) And I have some nice shots of some cone flowers - Echinacea. But then, trying to identify the specific species for Alamy, wow.... I must be looking at hybrids, or maybe they change colour in different soils. Has anyone got any expert knowledge on what these are:

 

Cone Flower yellow petals - Stock Image

 

 

 

Cone flower red petals - Stock Image

 

Cone flower pink petals - Stock Image
 

A closeup of an Echinacea 'Delicious Candy' coneflower in Lower Austria - Stock Image

 

Cone flower orange petals - Stock Image

 
Wikipedia says there's only 10 distinct species, but they can look very different. Maybe these are all the same species??! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed looking at some pretty flowers like me :)
Steve
 

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Can't help, Steve, except to say that if cone flowers are anything like phlox, they may well change colour depending on the air temperature. I have a phlox in my garden that is blue when it's cold and pink when it's not and various combos inbetween. Hydrangea can be pink or blue depending on the soil, I believe. In fact, I was told years ago that if you bury rusty nails around the roots of a pink hydrangea, it will turn blue. Something to do with pH scales, I guess. Anyway, I enjoyed your pics - the centres of some of those cone flowers look like they were produced on a Spirograph.

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Hey Jan,

Thanks for the moral support at least! Yes, I did start to wonder if they're just variations on the same species. ALthough there was quite a diversity of colours and they were all quite close to each other.

 

They are really photogenic to photograph with a macro lens, it's true! Just on a different theme, I'm starting to wonder if I should crop my macro shots more to make them more 'spectacular'.... I think a lot of the bug images that you see in, e.g. magazines, must be heavily cropped. I mean, I'm already using a 90mm macro lens, you don't get much bigger than that, but my bugs look tiny!

 

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The breeders have been heavily invested in producing new cone flower hybrids and seed strains in recent years.  I've grown a few - none of the ones you've photographed unfortunately - but I haven't kept up with all the different varieties now available so can't give a definite ID on them.  Worst case just label them as Echinacea hybrids.

 

 

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Hi John,

That's a good tip, thanks. I can see there's a lot of funny names for hybrids - Echinacea Kismet® Red and Echinacea – hybrid ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’. "Hybrids" it is then I think, none of these are natural colours....

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1 hour ago, Steve F said:

I think a lot of the bug images that you see in, e.g. magazines, must be heavily cropped. I mean, I'm already using a 90mm macro lens, you don't get much bigger than that, but my bugs look tiny!

 

 

I went through an insect macro phase and might do some more as it's fun and challenging. Didn't have a "macro" lens and couldn't really afford one. What I could afford was a $50 + or -  Raynox DCR 250 clip on lens. They also make a DCR 150 with less magnification. Used in combination with an Olympus 40-150mm, (the inexpensive one,) and a homemade diffuser for the clip on flash, (for E-PL5,)  I was able to use the auto focus in good light. This is the setup I used for most if not all the dragonfly photos I have posted on Alamy should you care to look. Downside to this is you have to get within about 6 inches to focus which to me is part of the fun. No cropping involved. Tons of info out there on macro including the use of reversed lenses which I have done and only requires a cheap adapter and preferably a manual focus 50mm with an aperture ring. This will give you 1:1.  Have to get really close but great for filling a screen. Don't know the minimum focus distance on your 90mm but maybe getting closer to the bugs? Anyhow my 2 cents and hope this was helpful. Happy bug hunting!

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1 hour ago, Steve F said:

I think a lot of the bug images that you see in, e.g. magazines, must be heavily cropped. I mean, I'm already using a 90mm macro lens, you don't get much bigger than that, but my bugs look tiny!

One of my first few Alamy submissions with the Raynox. Not cropped if I recall correctly.

 

a-female-blue-dasher-dragonfly-stares-me-down-in-a-closely-shot-photo-with-a-raynox-dcr-250-clip-on-lens-focus-distance-approximately-four-inches-PBRA1F.jpg

Edited by jodyko
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18 hours ago, jodyko said:

 

 

I went through an insect macro phase and might do some more as it's fun and challenging. Didn't have a "macro" lens and couldn't really afford one. What I could afford was a $50 + or -  Raynox DCR 250 clip on lens. They also make a DCR 150 with less magnification. Used in combination with an Olympus 40-150mm, (the inexpensive one,) and a homemade diffuser for the clip on flash, (for E-PL5,)  I was able to use the auto focus in good light. This is the setup I used for most if not all the dragonfly photos I have posted on Alamy should you care to look. Downside to this is you have to get within about 6 inches to focus which to me is part of the fun. No cropping involved. Tons of info out there on macro including the use of reversed lenses which I have done and only requires a cheap adapter and preferably a manual focus 50mm with an aperture ring. This will give you 1:1.  Have to get really close but great for filling a screen. Don't know the minimum focus distance on your 90mm but maybe getting closer to the bugs? Anyhow my 2 cents and hope this was helpful. Happy bug hunting!

 

Hey, thanks for replying to my off topic macro question! My lens can focus at a minimum of 280mm. So you can focus a lot closer with your setup (150mm mim focal distance). And I'm using 90mm which isn't as much zoom as 150mm, and I'm using a full frame camera. This bee below is about as close as I can get with my lens. So is it just a question of my setup then....?? Great dragonfly shots by the way!!

Steve

 

p.s. beach looks pretty nice too :P

 

a-worker-european-honey-bee-apis-mellife

 

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On 31/08/2019 at 10:26, Steve F said:

Hi everyone,

So I was at someone's garden in Austria for a BBQ recently and got my camera out and started photographing flowers (as you do.) And I have some nice shots of some cone flowers - Echinacea. But then, trying to identify the specific species for Alamy, wow.... I must be looking at hybrids, or maybe they change colour in different soils. Has anyone got any expert knowledge on what these are:

 

Cone Flower yellow petals - Stock Image

 

 

 

Cone flower red petals - Stock Image

 

Cone flower pink petals - Stock Image
 

A closeup of an Echinacea 'Delicious Candy' coneflower in Lower Austria - Stock Image

 

Cone flower orange petals - Stock Image

 
Wikipedia says there's only 10 distinct species, but they can look very different. Maybe these are all the same species??! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed looking at some pretty flowers like me :)
Steve
 

 

As I live where Echinacea is native, I can tell you that the only non-purple naturally occurring species to my knowledge is the Ozark coneflower, Echinacea paradoxa, which is similar in morphology to the pale purple coneflower, Echinacea pallida, but is yellow. The plants in these photos appear to be cultivars of the common purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. There are composites native to North America that are not in the genus Echinacea that are also called coneflowers, which adds to the confusion. The orange coneflower is Rudbeckia fulgida. The prairie coneflower is Ratibida pinnata. Neither of these has flowers that look like different colored purple coneflowers.

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49 minutes ago, Steve F said:

Hey, thanks for replying to my off topic macro question! My lens can focus at a minimum of 280mm. So you can focus a lot closer with your setup (150mm mim focal distance). And I'm using 90mm which isn't as much zoom as 150mm, and I'm using a full frame camera. This bee below is about as close as I can get with my lens. So is it just a question of my setup then....?? Great dragonfly shots by the way!!

Steve

 

p.s. beach looks pretty nice too :P

Hey Steve,

Well I'm certainly no expert and sorry to get off topic. I'm still a newbie. Seems to me that 280mm, around 11 inches, would be a nice working distance for skittish insects. I would suggest that you investigate the wealth of info on macro photography. I can tell you though that magnification on "macro" lenses varies and many are not 1:1 which supposedly qualifies as "true macro." I have a Pentax 100mm macro that is 1:2 and it won't get me those dragonfly shots. Extension tubes are cheap and can be used with any lens you're using to get you closer and fill up your frame. Also the Raynox clip-ons are hard to beat IMHO for macro on a budget. Really nice flower shots in your collection! Sorry I can't help with the cone flower ID. I have a policy of shoot first and ask questions later myself. The local botanical gardens has a large orchid conservatory and I plan to spend more time there but the hybrids among orchids make identification an issue as well. Best of luck.

 

The 40-150 close focus distance is .9 meter. It's the clip-on lens that gets me closer.

Edited by jodyko
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On 04/09/2019 at 21:17, jodyko said:

One of my first few Alamy submissions with the Raynox. Not cropped if I recall correctly.

 

a-female-blue-dasher-dragonfly-stares-me-down-in-a-closely-shot-photo-with-a-raynox-dcr-250-clip-on-lens-focus-distance-approximately-four-inches-PBRA1F.jpg

That's amazing! I'm guessing that's no kit lens you're using. Its face almost looks cute. :)

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On 04/09/2019 at 19:24, Steve F said:

Hey Jan,

Thanks for the moral support at least! Yes, I did start to wonder if they're just variations on the same species. ALthough there was quite a diversity of colours and they were all quite close to each other.

 

They are really photogenic to photograph with a macro lens, it's true! Just on a different theme, I'm starting to wonder if I should crop my macro shots more to make them more 'spectacular'.... I think a lot of the bug images that you see in, e.g. magazines, must be heavily cropped. I mean, I'm already using a 90mm macro lens, you don't get much bigger than that, but my bugs look tiny!

 

Generally, people advise not to crop too tightly as the buyer can always do that themselves. Also, your cone flower images have plenty of impact as they are so I'd leave well alone. As for bugs, can't help there, either - my bug photos please me but they wouldn't please anyone else. I sometimes wander around the garden and photograph what I come across, but just for fun. I absolutely know I couldn't compete in the macro arena!

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6 hours ago, Jan Brown said:

That's amazing! I'm guessing that's no kit lens you're using. Its face almost looks cute. :)

 

Thank you Jan! Actually don't remember which lens but certainly something inexpensive as that's all I have. The element that allowed the close macro focus was a simple 50 dollarish  Raynox clip-on lens. Can't recommend it highly enough for a budget minded macro photographer.

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9 minutes ago, jodyko said:

 

Thank you Jan! Actually don't remember which lens but certainly something inexpensive as that's all I have. The element that allowed the close macro focus was a simple 50 dollarish  Raynox clip-on lens. Can't recommend it highly enough for a budget minded macro photographer.

Then I'm even more impressed, I assumed you'd used a very expensive lens. That photo is an object lesson in what inexpensive equipment is capable of in the right hands. Fab. :)

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On 05/09/2019 at 17:22, TABan said:

 

As I live where Echinacea is native, I can tell you that the only non-purple naturally occurring species to my knowledge is the Ozark coneflower, Echinacea paradoxa, which is similar in morphology to the pale purple coneflower, Echinacea pallida, but is yellow. The plants in these photos appear to be cultivars of the common purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. There are composites native to North America that are not in the genus Echinacea that are also called coneflowers, which adds to the confusion. The orange coneflower is Rudbeckia fulgida. The prairie coneflower is Ratibida pinnata. Neither of these has flowers that look like different colored purple coneflowers.

 

Thanks TaBAN, I've labelled them up as best I can. Yes, it is pretty confusing! I'm even wondering if I should go around a garden centre here #facepalm

Steve

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On 06/09/2019 at 14:51, Jan Brown said:

Generally, people advise not to crop too tightly as the buyer can always do that themselves. Also, your cone flower images have plenty of impact as they are so I'd leave well alone. As for bugs, can't help there, either - my bug photos please me but they wouldn't please anyone else. I sometimes wander around the garden and photograph what I come across, but just for fun. I absolutely know I couldn't compete in the macro arena!

 

Hi Jan, nice to see you're still here, I thought you might have taken your bat and ball home with all the negative likes! There are a few characters on the forum, but I think overall it's quite a good one and generally positive. It is difficult giving and receiving advice - I experience the same sometimes as a badminton player, where the local town "A team" players sometimes think they're god's gift. Taking pictures of objects in the house has worked out quite well for me, but as you have already said, you photograph what you like.

Steve

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On 05/09/2019 at 17:24, jodyko said:

Hey Steve,

Well I'm certainly no expert and sorry to get off topic. I'm still a newbie. Seems to me that 280mm, around 11 inches, would be a nice working distance for skittish insects. I would suggest that you investigate the wealth of info on macro photography. I can tell you though that magnification on "macro" lenses varies and many are not 1:1 which supposedly qualifies as "true macro." I have a Pentax 100mm macro that is 1:2 and it won't get me those dragonfly shots. Extension tubes are cheap and can be used with any lens you're using to get you closer and fill up your frame. Also the Raynox clip-ons are hard to beat IMHO for macro on a budget. Really nice flower shots in your collection! Sorry I can't help with the cone flower ID. I have a policy of shoot first and ask questions later myself. The local botanical gardens has a large orchid conservatory and I plan to spend more time there but the hybrids among orchids make identification an issue as well. Best of luck.

 

The 40-150 close focus distance is .9 meter. It's the clip-on lens that gets me closer.

 

Hey Jody,

Hmmmm... You've given me food for thought. I will look into this further. Your images definitely have a lot of impact and its interesting you can achieve that with a clip on lens. By the way, I YouTubed the Raynox clip-on lens, and the guy insisted that you needed a tripod and couldn't hand hold because of the magnification! I don't know how skittish dragonflies are, presumably you hand held? You must have a really shallow depth of field.

 

I'm using the Sony E-mount F2.8 90mm macro so I am 1:1 and its great for flowers and portraits, but I can't achieve your results with this lens on its own....

Steve

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Hey Steve,

Rarely do I use a tripod. I can say with almost 100% certainty that none of my insect macros have been shot using one. I can also say that I often use a monopod, particularly if the insect is above about waist height. Alternately I sometimes carry a 4 foot long piece of bamboo about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter and use it in the manner described in the link to follow. More likely though you'll find me on my belly on the ground elbows serving as my tripod or sitting cross legged on the ground elbows on knees or kneeling and using the strap around my neck and the tilt screen to focus. This can also be done while standing. So I guess aside from the monopod you could say hand held. I don't know the magnification on the DCR 250 but it is considerable and I've read in forums where people suggest starting with the DCR 150 being that it's easier to handle. Depth of field is very shallow which is one of the challenges of macro photography. Focus stacking is a technique that I've yet to try but some people use to amazing result. Focusing is by some accomplished manually moving the camera back and forth once a near focus has been achieved. Flash, preferably diffused, is almost a must.

 

I think you'll find the link below enjoyable as well as informative. I modeled my technique to one degree or another after that described by the author.

 

https://beingmark.com/macro-illustrated/

 

Certain dragonflies are quite approachable. I've had them land on the finger of an outstretched hand. I have a picture of one perched but placing one foot on my finger while I took the shot with my free hand. One behavior that you'll probably observe in the field is of them returning repeatedly to a particular perch so if they fly away at your approach they'll often return. Robber flies likewise. I've also found that there MIGHT be an initial reaction to a flash but that subsequent flashes seem to have no effect. It's a fascinating area of photography and I've just scratched the surface. I'm pretty sure I'll be dabbling more.  😊

Edited by jodyko
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Hey Jody,

I've been thinking on and off about getting a monopod. Just need to convince my wife, hah! Thanks for the link, useful stuff!

 

I have the same feelings about macro photography, it's just getting the time isn't it.....

Steve

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