The Nature of Travel
I have been working for Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris guiding and developing new photo trips this year. I started a new project using video to show potential travelers the photo gear our guides take into field with them. This series is called It's in the bag. Check out the pilot episode where, I film the video, edit the video and star in the video. So far it has been a fun project.
Let the challenges guide you.
As I finish up this week of posts, the one thing brought to mind is, I am not a writer. I enjoy the writing but I enjoy the photography even more. Why, maybe I am just a visual person. Before I finish up my entries completely allow me to cover one more thing that not only applies to flower photography but all types of photography.
There are days, or nights, you go out and images don't come easy. Nature gives us many challenges and just the thought of overcoming them will discourage some photographers. I find my vision grows more when challenged by these constraints, be it rain, wind, clouds, my mood or what ever the environment throws at me. When this happens get out and see the beauty in the rain, or the clouds the wind. Unless it is a safety issue, please know your limits, you will be amazed at how these elements can help you focus your attention on your natural world.
I hope you can use some of these ideas to go out and let them lead you into new adventures and growth in your photography.
A little breeze, arnica and lupine. A field of flowers can convey more about a place when other elements are included in the scene.
Don't forget photographing flowers in the bigger landscape. It might be in the forest or it may be in the meadow, flowers add a great deal of color to the landscape. When shooting landscapes I always try to find some foreground subject to add interest to the scene. Flowers can be a strong compositional element to add to any landscape. Getting in close on the lupine here allowed for some strong foreground detail and draws the viewer into the larger image. In most cases the blooms will add extra element of color or texture to help attract some attention to the photo in creasing the dynamic nature of your landscapes.
Tripods are still a good option for these kinds of shots as they can let use use the small f-stops needed to increase your depth of field, getting crisp focus on foreground and more distant background scenery. This is where a wide angle lens works well for flower photography, or you might try a tilt shift or perspective control lens in these types of images to help grab that extra crisp focus. This is also a good image to add the use of a circular polarizing filter that can help with adding saturated color by removing reflected light from the surfaces of petals and foliage, providing for rich colors.
Day 5: Lens selection, Selecting out the composition and compressing the field.
The lens you choose has a great deal for how you render a photograph and it is very true even with flower photography. The first and go to lens for most people thinking about photographing a flower would often be a macro lens. It is true a macro lens does allow you to get close and bring in all the intimate detail of a bloom but digging out a telephoto may allow new options to compose and draw out you vision.
I enjoy the fact a telephoto or telephoto zoom lens allows me to step back from a subject and reach in close at the same time, but there are other properties about these powerhouse lenses I enjoy more. When leading photo trips I work to get my travelers to practice isolating what in a scene really attracts or catches their eye. I find a using a telephoto to be a good way from an the image maker to reach for the isolated view and extract out what it is catching the eye. This is a great way to remove any elements of a scene that distract from what you are attempting to portray. I also enjoy the fact that longer lenses tend to compress the field of view. Telephoto compression is the ability of a longer lens to bring the foreground into a closer plane with the back ground, compressing the image and flattening it out. I often catch myself saying things like," telephoto compression takes a three dimensional world down to a two dimensional world, while I am leading my photo trips." The longer lenses will not really help with adding depth of field but the compression will help with separation of your subject from the back ground.
In this example of the tulips the 300mm perspective smashes the flowers down to a tighter plane creating a much more dense composition of color and pattern.
Backlight is one of may favorite types of light to work with flowers and it is one of the easiest to use. Most flowers are somewhat translucent, and just moving to the opposite side of the flower from the source of the light changes the scene dramatically. The petals and sometimes the leaves, filter the light coming through them, creating this effect that I compare with stained glass light. Backlighting your subject this way is great for bringing out and saturating the colors. I also believe the back light brings out a depth and dimension that will add extra life to your flower photography. Another bonus is the out of focus highlights can help with framing your focal flower. This can be done at all times of the day but will be easier and work best in the earlier and later hours of the day. Near high noon, you will have to get very low to back light the blossoms. Give this a try the next time you are out. The exposure is usually easy, check your histogram and make any adjustments needed at the time.