Another week has seen me safely sticking close to home watching the spring growth.
The nights haven’t been as cold and this past week has been a mixture of bright sunny warmth and cool rainy overcast days. Just what one should expect of the end May’s spring weather.
This morning I got up to a very wet yard. I didn’t hear the rain last night, but it looked like it rained a lot and the wind hadn’t picked up enough to dry the plants.
Ha, that meant another good day for photography. I got my camera with a 200mm macro lens, my Benbo tripod, fastened a flash on a light stand, pulled on my rubber boots, jacket and a hat and went out to photograph wet plants in my spring garden.
I knew I would need to work fast because there was a slight breeze. I don’t mind getting rained on, but a wind makes it hard to get sharp photos.
I would choose I flower, place the flash and then get my camera. On this morning I didn’t bother with my black backdrop, it would just get wet. I was planning on shooting with a wide aperture so the background would be soft anyway. I like to darken the ambient light when I use a flash and I could keep the wide aperture and balance the light by increasing my shutterspeed.
I have written before that I control the ambient light by using high-speed sync.
HSS means I can use very high shutterspeeds and not be limited to the low default shutter/flash sync of 1/250th second. The higher shutterspeed would also make it easier to photograph the flowers that might move slightly from the because of the morning’s breeze.
The last time I ventured into the garden to take pictures there was very little growth, but this past week has really changed things. Of course everything is green and there are flowers, but the most noticeable thing is the Lilacs. The Lilacs are in full bloom and have filled in along the path from my car to my door and what I like best is how the whole front of my yard is now a solid wall of purple and white.
I remember 20 plus years ago planting Lilacs along the fence with my wife and wishing they would grow fast. We looked forward to being able to sit on our deck without being seen from the road. It took years because there isn’t a lot of water available and the summers are dry so growth is slow. As I looked around the yard for small subjects to photograph I thought about how I now have the seclusion I yearned for back then.
I ignored plants that didn’t have water droplets and focused tightly so I would have a soft background with limited depth of field. I wasn’t making a record of the plants I have. Identifying a type flower has never been my interest. My wife liked flowers and could name every plant, but I just care about the colour, texture or shape and the photographs I can make.
An overcast day with a bit of rain is excellent for flower photos. The colours are stronger, there are no harsh reflections and with a flash as the key light instead of the sun one can be very creative. I know that walking through a field on a sunny day is so much fun, but when it comes to photographing that same field I prefer an overcast and sometimes rain.
After all its really about the photography and as American photographer Annie Leibovitz once said, “The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.”