Anemone in Black and White
by Sue Barthelow
Ah, spring is in the air. The daffodils and other spring bulbs are blooming throughout
the foothills. The almond trees have moved beyond their peak bloom, and other trees are
joining the cacophony of bloom to overwhelm the senses. Here in the countryside, the
wildflowers are popping up, inviting us to come out and enjoy nature.
Being a photographer, you probably have your camera on your mind and, hopefully, in
your hand. It's time to take advantage of those lovely spring blossoms; to capture
So dust off that camera and wake it up from its winter slumber. Here are some tips
that may help.
Watch out for the wind. Unless it's the movement you’re trying to capture, you'll get
your best images when the air is still.
Use your tripod and self-timer or remote control
to get the sharpest images.
Full sunlight brings out the brightest colors and adds contrast to give
you highlighted detail. Watch out for dark shadows. You can lighten
the shadows using a reflector or fill flash.
If you want to give your flowers a softer look with muted colors, shoot
on an overcast day, in the shade, during early morning or after sunset. You may be able
boost your colors by changing your camera's optimize image settings to something that
will produce more vivid colors (check your camera manual).
Depending on the orientation, the light near sunset can make light colored flowers
glow against a darker background.
Use your aperture priority setting. To blur the background, start with
an f/5.6 aperture. Move upwards from there to get more and more depth of focus. Anything
over f/11 is probably overkill.
Set your color saturation setting to Enhanced.
Use a variety of lens focal lengths. Try everything from wide angle to
telephoto. A telephoto lets you step back from the flower and makes it easier to throw
the background out of focus.
Try your camera's macro setting and get up close. You can capture an
interesting part of a flower that will give you a different type of image.
Shoot in both horizontal and vertical camera positions.
Want to create a portrait? Try placing a black, white or colored
backdrop behind a flower to give it that formal, composed look.
Vary your position and look for the most compelling image. You can
shoot from below or above the flower. You can shoot from a level straight at it. Sometimes
shooting from an off-angle will give you the best image. Watch the light and shadows.
Look for an angle that gives you interesting texture or contrast.
Trying to capture a fine art type of image? Get up close and personal.
Capture a small area of the flower that provides an interesting feature. Leave or crop
out everything except for that intriguing section.
- How about something in black and white? Look for color variations
that will give you everything from black to white.