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Hey folks, The wildflowers here in Colorado are out in force so it’s getting hard to drive down the road without wanting to stop the car and grab a photo.
This lovely Dwarf Lupine Flower (I think, but not certain) was part of a large clump I found about two feet off the pavement. This causes some issues when shooting including a very ugly backdrop for the flower (pavement and gravel) plus constant “wind” being produced by each passing car. This wind makes my flower’s stem swing back and forth, A real issue when doing closeup photos like this as the plant keeps moving in and out of a very narrow area of focus.
So here is a step by step how I managed the photo.
- I used a 70-200mm lens (that’s what I had on me). This lens simply does not have the magnification to get a nice close photograph so I added a 36mm extension tube which allowed me to reduce my focus distance from the flowers. In doing this I am able to increase the magnification of the flowers to about .4x (almost 1/2 macro).
- As noted the wind from the passing cars causes the plant to sway in and out of focus very easily so I stopped down my aperture to f/8 which gives me a little bit of breathing room without giving up my nice bocca blur. I still was not able to nail perfect clarity. You can see it is lacking perfect focus on the foreground blooms, but I was getting tired of lying on the side of the hot road.
- In order to deal with the ugly background (not just ugly, but distracting to the composition) I hung a white reflector from my tripod and placed it behind the plant as a backdrop. Since I had to give up my tripod for the backdrop the image was shot handheld lying on my belly.
- The sun was harsh noonday sunshine, not conducive to a good floral photograph, so I had my passenger hold a small diffuser above the flower (just slightly out of frame) to give a nice soft even light.
- The diffuser actually was working too well giving me a lack of directional lighting so I had my passenger hold another silver reflector with his other hand just out of frame to the side. This reflector’s job is to redirect some sunshine into the petals from a side angle giving shape to the flowers.
- Once the shot was taken I brought into RAW for some shadow fill and then into Silver Efex Pro to give “push” style black and white toning which is a heavily contrasty look. This draws attention to the shape of the petals and the veins within.
Wildflowers don’t last all summer so get on out there and shoot.
Note: there is still room in my upcoming Wildflower Photography Workshop if you want to learn to take better flower photos.
#wildflowerphotography, #wildflowers, #tutorial