Photographing a summer garden   

 

This year has been a good year for my garden. There has been lots of heat and just the right amount of rain since the beginning of June. I have sat on my porch enjoying the changes as plants bloomed, then withered, while others renewed the colour with their new blooms.

It is the middle of July here in British Columbia and last evening I watched the light drop with cooling clouds moving in making it perfect to wander the garden for some photographs of the mid summer blooms.

I mounted my old manual focus 200mm macro lens on my camera and placed my big 800w flash on a c-stand and started taking pictures.

This time of the year I see so many point-and-shoot flower photos by photographers that are so excited with the beauty around them that they forget about building the photograph and just, well…point and shoot.

Their close-up snap shots might even be sharp if they remembered that the closer the lens is to the subject the less the depth of field and selected a small aperture. However, in most cases the final images lack interesting light and the background detracts from their chosen subject because it’s the same exposure or sometimes brighter.

I always use flash. A flash allows me to underexpose the background and any other features that I don’t think are important. I know I unapologetically keep harping on using flash. That’s because flash will make one’s subject, whether it’s a flower, person or pretty much anything, even in the dullest environment look better.I also select “high speed flash sync” on my camera (most modern cameras have that) so I can use a fast shutter speed if there is a slight breeze.

Photographers use flash to create highlights and shadow with pleasing results when they do portraits of people in their studio, but seem forget to use flash when making portraits of flowers.

An off-camera flash allows me to control the light’s direction and moving a light stand with a flash mounted on it slows me down and makes me think about the portrait.

The time of day doesn’t matter and the brightness of the environment is just ambient light that, inside or outside, is easily controlled when one uses flash. And on that overcast afternoon light adding flash made it easy for me to underexpose the background.

I’ll sum up by saying that I like photographing my garden. The garden is a soothing place and even when something has stressed me it’s calming there and creating photos allows me to time to sort though anything that has been bothering me. Or like the day I am writing about, lets me have fun discovering and photographing the remarkable world around me.

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