Thursday, September 18, 2014

Photographing flowers at your local nursery

A while back, I made a couple of trips to our neighborhood nursery to photograph some of their flowers. I grabbed my Canon 1Dx and Canon 100mm macro lens and had some fun. My goal was to capture some of the colors and patterns of the plants, and try to isolate some of the cool details that we might not normally see.

I started shooting wide shots of the flowers, looking for the most interesting colors.

I also came across these leaves and enjoyed the simple green colors. I shot this at f4 while focusing on the one leaf, therefore letting the leaves in the foreground and background fall out of focus.

Keeping with the "leaf thing" I shot this photo. I really liked the patterns here. This was cool, but I quickly decided that I wanted to get even closer.

When photographing flowers like this, you really need to move around a lot to find the right composition. For this shot, I kept getting lower to the ground and moving left and right to get the composition you see here. I made sure to focus on the anthers (which generate the pollen) of the middle flower, drawing the viewer's eyes to the center of the photo.

Using the same grouping of flowers, I moved directly overhead and shot this. A totally different perspective, but equally interesting. At least, I think so...

Then I got down low to the ground and shot this photo of the flower at eye level. This is a perfect example of how one plant can yield totally different visual results.

While examining these same flowers, I noticed that the underneath of the flower was just as interesting as the top view. And since my goal was to show details usually not seen, I saw this as a cool opportunity to bring attention to something that is usually ignored.

I have always been attracted to repeating patterns, and really liked this composition. There is something very simple and tranquil about this photo, as compared to the shot below which is more vibrant and visually stimulating.

These flowers reminded me of fireworks.

Using the Canon 100mm macro lens to it's fullest, I got right into the middle of these flowers to show more detail.

My second trip to the nursery was just after a light rainfall, and I was hoping to capture some macro shots showing water drops on the flowers. And this is exactly what I found when arrived.

For this shot, I decided to make the water drops the subject, and not the flower. For this, I isolated just one side of the flower, and focused on a couple of water drops.

I used a narrow depth of field to isolate a small slice of the flower. I wanted to isolate a few of the smaller water drops, and keep the center of the flower in reasonable focus. (Photographer's tip: When you are shooting macro photos, where the depth of field is more narrow than usual, I encourage you to try different apertures. Try shooting at f/4, then switch to f/8, f/11, f/16 and so on. This will give you some different perspectives and give you a choice of which you like the best.)

This final shot was one of my favorites from the two photo shoots. I decided to photograph only half of the flower from above, and maintain focus on all the water droplets. I think that this is a good example of how an image can be pleasing without having to show the whole subject. This same method is widely used when photographing portraits, when the subject is cropped tight.

For those of you who live in cities, where you don't have a lot of wild foliage to photograph, I encourage you to head down to your local park or nursery.  Remember to ask permission and be respectful of the workers and patrons. And most importantly, experiment with your camera and have fun!


If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. I would really appreciate that.



Dave Spence said...

Great weekend project Jeff! Lots of great tips and "out of the box" ideas. Thanks for sharing your garden center adventure! :-)

newday said...

nice - I would imagine that the nursery is happy to see the images.