Monday, August 03, 2009

Photographing flowers

click photo to enlarge
Any photographer who enjoys their garden inevitably ends up pointing their camera at it. Some enjoy capturing the entirety, or large parts, of their plot, showing off the structure of the planting and the seasonal changes that take place. Others home in on details, isolating groups of flowers or leaves, individual blooms, or other garden-associated subjects (i.e. things other than plants). I tend towards the latter approach.

The challenge with photographing flowers is to produce something interesting or new. Interesting is easier of course, though what interests one person may well be of no interest to another. When shooting flowers there are many variations and permutations - group or individual bloom, macro of flower, include leaves or not, angle, lighting, weather, etc. But coming up with something new on a subject that has been photographed many, many times is nearly impossible. One of the few occasions when I feel I've come anywhere near originality is in my image of some geranium (pelargonium) leaves.

We removed some potentillas from a border a while ago because they were aged shrubs, well past their best, producing few flowers. To fill the space until a more permanent solution was possible my wife planted a selection of annuals, including a packet of mixed rudbeckia. I took one of these striking blooms that are now in flower and tried to come up with a different kind of photograph of this familiar plant. Above is the best of the shots I took. I was aiming for a cropped, square image with the centre of the flower and a quarter of the petals centred top left, but the uncropped original seemed to have a better balance of flower to black space.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro, (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/4
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On