Thursday, June 30, 2016

Love in a mist and the Meike MK320 flash

click photo to enlarge
There's something about the Love in a mist (Nigella damascena), sometimes known as simply Nigella, that makes me want to photograph it. I think it's the fact that it is quite different from most garden flowers. The flower head is fairly orthodox except for the prominent centre. The leaves are exceptionally thin and spiky and when seen in a group of many flowers give the misty appearance that prompted one of its common names.

The example in today's photograph has a blue flower and is the variant "Miss Jekyll". However, you can't see that because another feature of this flower is that it makes me want to photograph it in black and white. Against a black background the spikes become very prominent and give the plant a more threatening appearance than it actually possesses. The plant's seed pod is nothing short of remarkable and could easily be used by a sci fi film-maker as the basis for some alien life form. I made one of these the subject of a photograph in 2013 (also in black and white).

I took today's photograph with a 60mm macro lens and a newly acquired flash - the Meike Speedlite MK320, a small M43 compatible flash that performs much better and has more features and options than its cost of just over £50 might suggest. The guide number is 32, fine for my requirements - plant photography, family portraiture and indoor architectural detail shots. The fact that it comes supplied with a diffuser, a stand for off-camera triggering (the EM-10 works with it), has a metal foot (the plastic one on my Olympus flash soon broke!), three built-in LEDs, and it can be charged with a USB cable if you use rechargeable batteries, will I hope, encourage me to do more flash photography than hitherto. Time will tell.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Nigella Flower
Mode: Manual
Focal Length: 60mm macro (120mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On