Thursday, April 19, 2012

The flowers of Hawaii: Beautiful vegetation on the big island

As we prepared to leave Hawaii to return to the rat race in Silicon Valley, I looked at my batch of images from the week and noticed that I had a lot of images showing the beautiful plant life on the big island. So this last post from Hawaii will focus solely on the foliage and talk about shooting techniques for these close up images.

I have always loved the colors of Bougainvillea, and the flowers on the island did not disappoint. As you drive around the island, it is hard not to notice the large bushes of Bougainvillea, as the colors are so vibrant. I did take some images showing the masses of flowers, but found that getting up close to these thorny bushes made for more interesting photos. As you can see from these two images, they bloom in different colors, which brings variety to the images as well.

In one of the previous Hawaii blogs, I wrote about the Canon 500D close up filter which I had connected to my Canon 100-400mm lens. (This filter, made by Canon, will convert any long lens into a macro lens.) I really love how I can focus so close to the flower, even with a long zoom lens. This saved me packing a separate macro lens and gave me the ability to get some nice tight shots of the flowers.

Using the same close-up filter, I shot very close to these White Plumeria. If you have been to the islands of Hawaii, you will recognize these flowers which are commonly used in the leis.

This is the same cluster of White Plumeria which I shot with the 100-400mm lens without the close up filter. A totally different view of the same flower, equally interesting but more common than the macro shot above.

This red Plumeria that grows high on trees, is just amazing. I shot this image from up on a balcony, looking down at the groups of flowers which were probably 25 feet in the air. (Photographer's note: When shooting foliage like this, you need to watch your background very closely, since it can either make or break your image. I usually try to find a background color that accents the color of the flower, and try to avoid branches that might be distracting from the "subject" of the image. One of the advantages of shooting with a macro lens, is that your depth of field is so extreme, that even if you have a bad background, you can diffuse it totally.)

You can't go to Hawaii and not take a picture of the Pineapple plants. Even though there were very few of these on the big island (since most of them are grown on Maui), we did see a couple scattered around.

Another cool cluster of Squirrel's Tail which drew my attention. (Photographers note: I try to either isolate one flower or find an interesting group of flowers which give me a pleasing composition. I also look closely to make sure that there aren't too many dead leaves or pedals on the plant. This can be distracting to the viewer.)

I did talk about complimentary colors, right? Well...this is a good example of that with these pretty red flowers which really pop against the green background.

And here is another example of complimentary colors. (Photographer's note: I shot this image and many of the others - without the filter - at f5.6 for two reasons. This is the highest aperture that the Canon 100-400 will achieve when zoomed to 400mm, and it also provided good focus on more than just one flower. If you look closely at this grouping, most of the images are in focus, but the leaves are soft enough as not to compete with the sharpness of the flowers.) 

When we were hiking around the volcano, we were hiking through one of Hawaii's rain forests, which were covered with large fern trees. I did take a wide shot to show what it all looked like...

...but once again found that the close up shots were more interesting.

There were plenty of these young ferns, but I liked this one because of the background, and more importantly due to the drop of rain which was suspended just under the formation.

In the previous blog post, I had photos of us hiking inside the volcano crater, in the rain. can't let rain stop you from shooting pictures. As a matter of fact, sometimes the rain can add to your images. In this case, like the fern images above, the drops of water which formed on the foliage added to the shot.

n all my trips to Hawaii, I always take pictures of the Red Ginger. There is something about the color and the shape of this flower that I really love.

This last shot was taken of a Chinese Hibiscus. Using the close up filter, I wanted to focus on the staminal column but use the red pedals as my background.

As a photographer who enjoys shooting even when I am on vacation (yep - it is a sickness), it was fun to give myself a little project, spending an hour or two walking around looking for cool plants to shoot. If you find yourself in a new area, try challenging yourself to find something unique and interesting to focus on (pun intended).


Greater Noida said...

Nice and very beautiful.

Tynte said...

All these flowers look stunning. Making flowers as your subject is a good choice because it blends well with your fine photographic skills. Readers learned a lot too from the unique tropical flowers you featured on this post.