This year I decided to take matters into my own hands…..instead of searching in vain for “natural” wildflowers, I was going to search for “man-made” (or cultivated) wildflowers. Much to my dismay, even man-made wildflowers were challenging to shoot.
I mean really, if you are going to scatter wildflower seeds somewhere, perhaps it can be done in a place that gets some shade during the day and is protected from the wind. I don’t think that’s asking for much. In full disclosure, I spread some seeds in my backyard, and did not consider the above, and found myself struggling with the natural elements – sun, wind, and a dive-bombing hummingbird that happened to build a nest right above my flower patch.
Below are flowers from 3 locations:
- The side of the road near my neighborhood, courtesy of Wildflowering.org.
- The LA Arboretum (again courtesy of Wildflowering.org)
- My backyard
Here are some general tips for where ever you might drop your tripod to photograph wildflowers:
- Set a high ISO to freeze any movement. Wildflowers are genetically adapted to flutter in the breeze to improve their chances of propagation.
- Use a remote trigger. This will stop camera shake when you press the button and allow you to better time when the shutter opens to a lull in the breeze
- Overcast days are the best, if that’s not possible, search for flowers in the shade or create shade with your body, a jacket, or a reflector
- Get close with a open aperture. Wildflower scenes tend to be messy – many do look like weeds. Using a macro to isolate a bloom or two while throwing the background into a blur will contribute to creating a beautiful image.
- Look for the ugly. Sometimes beauty can be found in “spent” flowers, those on the downside, or that have gone to seed.
Hi, Peter and Mary, another lovely presentation of images! One of the most lovely images I captured of a flower was inadvertent–I pressed the shutter just as the wind kicked up. What a image…a nature blur with streaks of color from the flower, not PhotoShop involved. Sometimes an amateur like me gets lucky.
Hi Loretta – I love those moments. Sometime I will post my favorite “accidental shot” when I went on my first photography workshop. Peter and I still laugh every time we see it. It was one of my favorites from the experience.