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!