We have this great azalea bush right outside of my office sliding doors, and there was one dandelion in pretty good shape. So, on a recent morning, I slipped out to grab some shots. It's pretty cool when a great situation is so close.
After trying several lens combinations (200mm macro with extension tubes, 105mm with extension, and 300mm with extension), the 300mm f/4 lens with 27mm of extension gave me the completely detail-less background.
I was able to stop down to f/8 to get good sharpness in the middle of the subject, yet maintain the completely soft, colorful background. The pink is a solid block of azaleas in open shade and the green is grass in bright sun. The distance of the green to the pink created a quas-color gradient.
I thought of adding a texture, but felt that the pristine, clean, bright, and colorful nature of this image was good as it was. See photo above.
OK ... on second thought ... I dropped in Alien Skin's Snap Art impasto filter and painted the effect out of the sharp spores in the center of the subject (photo below). Sorry ... I couldn't resist :)
Notes from the Editor: Pro photographer Tony Sweet teaches a number of online photography lessons at BetterPhoto's digital photography school, including: Fine Art Flower Photography and Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision. In addition, the BetterPhoto online photography school also offers special certification for photography.