Plant Photography: Color

Helianthus annuus_Sunflower_DBG_LAH_6805

My final post on photographing plants, in all their forms, deals with one of my favorite aspects of photography—color. My dad was an avid photographer as well, but he preferred to shoot a medium format camera loaded with black and white film. Then he’d disappear into his darkroom and spend hours dodging and burning, doing his best to emulate Ansel Adams.

Me? I want color, and the more, the better. Happily, gardens are colorful places.

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Garden Photography: K.I.S.S.

Malus 'Branzam' Brandywine_Crabapple_DBG_LAH_5147

It’s helpful to understand your equipment, to know how to set up your camera so your subject will be in focus and properly exposed. Knowing how everything works will allow you to avoid mistakes and the frustration that accompanies them. If you’re especially enamored of technical things, you’ll probably enjoy trying out all your camera’s menu choices, dials, and buttons, learning what it’s capable of. But just as most of us don’t pull out our phone simply to play with the settings, understanding the technical aspect of photography isn’t our final goal. Rather, it’s the means to an end. We want to create quality photographs.

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Plant Photography: Lighting

5.25 x 5.25 Sunflower_5104

Photography. The very word means “writing with light.” In spite of all our digital technology, light is still the most important aspect of a photograph. And light is often the difference between a nice picture and an outstanding work of art. The old masters knew this—think of Rembrandt, with the light  illuminating his subject:

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Plant Photography: Settings

Pete photographing Paintbrush_GuanellaPass-CO_LAH_0026

The fun part of taking pictures of plants is going out into the garden, admiring all the flowers, and creating magnificent photos. The not-as-fun part is understanding the technology behind your images. Yet, if you’re going to get great shots, you need to know a little about how your camera works.

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Garden Photography: Accessories

Bee on Aster_DBG_LAH_7241_filteredYou’ve got a camera. You’ve acquired a few lenses. You’re eager to get out into the garden and start creating photos. And you can certainly do so, right now. However, there are a few additional accessories that will enhance your photo experience. What else should you add to your camera bag?

My top priority would be an extra battery, and another memory card. Batteries have improved drastically since the early days of digital photography. I used to go through two sets of four AA batteries in a single afternoon. Now my camera battery lasts two days, or more. Still, there’s nothing so frustrating as being in the middle of a photo shoot and realizing that your battery just died. Carry a charged spare!

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Gear for Garden Photography

8x10 Dahlia_BellevueBG-WA_LAH_6725_filteredIf you read last month’s post, you now know why you’re taking garden photos. The next question is, what kind of camera do you need? Cameras range from simple point-and-shoot models to the camera in your phone to professional DSLRs. While there’s a lot of truth that you get what you pay for, all of them take photos.

At least to start with, use the camera you have. Yes, you’ll have more creative latitude with extra lenses, camera features, and other equipment, but keep in mind that most important part of the process is the photographer. Continue reading