Friday, April 24, 2009

Tulips and unwritten rules

click photo to enlarge
The tulips are in full flower at the moment, and in my garden that means bright patches of red and yellow. My self-imposed challenge over the past few days has been to come up with a different image of these much-photographed blooms. Anyone who has photographed flowers more than casually will know that this is a difficult task.

The variations that you can try are fairly limited - in or out of focus (or elements of both), distant or near, macro, from above or below, in garden or vase, colour or black and white, multiple flower heads or one, in bud, in full bloom or dying, in sun or shade, wide angle or narrower field of view. There may be a few other approaches, but not many.

I've tried pretty much all of those ways and posted quite a few variations, but over the past few days I wasn't coming up with anything especially different. However, there is an unwritten rule of photography that says, "If you can't find what you're looking for, stop looking, then you might see it." And that's what happened.

I drove through my gates quite late in the day as the sun was fairly low in the sky, and saw the light illuminating a patch of red and yellow tulips that were growing under a crab apple tree at the front of the house. Opening leaves and blossom on the branches were starting to throw some shade on the flowers below. The sunlight was striking the blooms from the side after being filtered by a large willow and some conifers. The contrast between the deep shadows and spotlit petals was striking, and the tulips appeared to glow. This is the picture I got. It's not outstanding, but it does differ from my previous attempts, and it's not an approach I've seen used before.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 90mm (180mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/200 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On