Friday, June 03, 2011

An Explosion of Flora

If you like photographing flowers and gardens, late May and early June is truly a time to not stand still. There are daily changes in what's blooming, and it comes and goes very quickly. I am very fortunate that my wife Adrienne is a horticulturist -- the fact that we have wonderful gardens with beautiful perennials is all due to her talent and hard work. Me, I dig holes and plant things where she wants them. I'm not clueless about plants or flowers -- I had a botany minor in college, and as an entomologist, it helps that I know something about plant life. However, I am a better photographer than I am a gardener. The gardens at our house provide me with a never-ending source of photographic subjects, and I am sure that I have shot thousands of images right here.
beauty has many layers
The point I want to make here is that the way to hone your skill and develop a style, is to shoot often. If you are interested in flower and garden photography, architectural photography, nature photography, fashion, trains, or any other genre -- you need to shoot often to better your skill and competence, as well as find a style that gets your creative side going. Not everyone can shoot some subjects every day, but flowers and gardens are good training and preparation for other types of nature and landscape photography. Shoot at different times of the day -- even twilight, to see how lighting changes the atmosphere of an image. Wet flowers and grounds after a rain give the garden a totally luscious look that is absent when everything is dry and less intense-looking. Try different focal length lenses and see how they affect your scene. This is a good time to become familiar with your tripod as well. I recently set up my old plain-prism Nikon F with the standard 50mm f:2 lens, a roll of Walgreens 200 (made by Fuji) color film, my sturdiest tripod, and a cable release. I wanted to shoot in the garden late in the day at f/16 and see what results I might get.

backyard retreat

As you can see, that photo is pretty darn sharp, well-detailed, and great color. Sometimes I want a softer, dreamier look.
blue asterisks

softer and dreamier, dammmit!

maple and ferns

But not this dreamy...

I'm thankful to have such a lovely photographic playground!

1 comment:

Digital said...

some of the best shots i have seen