I know flower posts have been submitted here before and I surely have nothing original to offer but they do make a versatile subject, allowing an appreciation of colour, texture, form and placement. These were all taken inside the Walled Garden at the stunning Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire just before my Eastern/Central/Somewhere In Europe trip. The vivid specimens are a fitting testament to the diligence and vision of the team of gardeners there who braved the heat to maintain the beautiful flowerbeds.
The images can also be a tribute (at least in my humble opinion) to the macro lens I used to shoot them, the Olympus 60mm f/2.8. A dinky little number which, unlike most hefty macro lenses, is small enough to fit into my coffee mug (the sunglasses are meant to give scale to the mug – after all it could be any size really, couldn’t it?).
Yes, a full frame sensor will give a shallower depth of field than the micro four thirds sensor (far from a necessity for macro work) of my E-M5 but the bokeh on this thing is pretty good and I imagine it would double up as a decent portrait lens for this format too. Most macro lenses that I have historically used with my old DSLRs have also been slow to focus, but this little guy is reasonably quick and sharp and thus I have always included it in my light travel kit as a mini-telephoto lens. Not to oversell it but it’s great to walk around (especially in hot weather) with a lens and camera so light I can barely feel them.
Right, enough about gear (sorry!) and back to the flowers. I don’t have a green thumb but I love beautiful gardens and can certainly appreciate the effort that goes into them. Flowers are always an enjoyable photographic challenge that offers almost unlimited compositional potential.
One can focus solely on details, turning tiny petals or stamens into an entire landscape upon which the eye can travel.
Or it may simply be the way they stand in the light, the sunlight glowing gently through their translucent petals.
Maybe it’s their texture and the patterns that define their individuality, reminding us that we in the animal kingdom are not so unique in exhibiting so much variety.
Your composition may consider how a flower fits against the background of its brethren or surroundings; it does not always have to be isolated.
Of course flowers do not have to be shot from side on or above. Try shooting them from underneath (it helps if you have a flip-out touchscreen – I rarely use a viewfinder anymore), or turn the camera so that your frame lines up with the direction of the flower.
One of the bonuses of flowers is that they attract all kinds of beautiful creatures amongst their midst.
Ultimately, it may simply be about making a straightforward portrait of a flower.
These were all processed in Lightroom, again to my personal taste and style, mainly contrast and some selective dodging and burning. And as much as I love vivid colour I actually had to de-saturate many of these from their original appearance. Shot handheld using the touchscreen to focus where I wanted, mainly between f/2.8 and f/4 in aperture priority at ISO 200 with the camera choosing the shutter speed.
Well, that’s me. Now it’s your turn to go out and shoot some flowers and show me how it’s really done. Best of luck!
Really great flower photos sharif and i love the way you take a dig at full frame dslrs:) . Ive noticed you dont take any of your pretty friends shooting with you anymore. It would give the article a very nice trademak look if you fit one of your friends in the composition somewhere somehow.
Thank you Muhammad!
Got nothing against full frame dslrs except perhaps the weight. Even own one myself and my latest post was mostly shot with one.
My pretty friends still come with me and I’m sure I’ll include a pic of one or more of them sometime. A lot of the pics are perhaps not for public consumption…. ;)
I am a sucker for water lilies and yours is a beauty. Perfect condition and well executed.
Thank you Carlton!
Keep um coming! Never enough beauty! I am now going to take a picture of a beautiful mum, just because.
And when you travel, it’s best to go with a person who likes to reflect on the environment and doesn’t rush to get going along, what do you think?
I’m sure you’re right, Linda :)
Lovely. Mine are similar.
What camera did you use?
Joan, the lens was mounted on the Olympus E-M5.
Terrific images! Makes me want to shoot flowers, which I rarely do. Are you using a flash on some of these? The light is terrific!
Thanks for beginning my day with inspiration…
Thank you Duffy! No flash was used on any of these. It was all natural light on a very sunny day :)
Do go out and shoot some flowers! I’m sure you will find it rewarding :)
I have the same lens and love it. I enjoyed your excellent results as anybody can have the right lens but it takes expertise to capture what you have done.
Thank you Robert!
Sharif, stunning photography . . . Masterful composition and manipulation of DOF.
In particular, your 9th photograph resonates with me because of its structure, simplicity, and deep reds. I can visualize this subject in black and white exposed with a deep green filter to separate the reds . . . Tantalizing . . . I would be interested in an alternative version with the image cropped from the bottom to a 5:4 aspect ratio in the horizontal orientation . . .
Bravo, my friend! : )
Thank you Rick!
All beautiful flowers.
Indeed they are!
Nice!! I always have had a special love for photographing flowers, especially close-up photography. Every flower can open up a treasure of possibilities. thanks for the great photographs!
Thank you Tim!