Wildflower Shooting Tip #1: Start Small

A California poppy shakes off the morning dew near Bartlett Lake. Cover photo by Suzanne Mathia

2010 looks like it might be a big year for wildflowers.

When you hit the trail with your camera, whether it’s to Organ Pipe National Monument or the Superstition Mountains, think small photographically. Start your day in the field by concentrating on medium shots or close-ups.  The tendency of many people is to try to capture everything around them by going for wide expansive panoramas. Often this can be an overwhelming task simply because there is too much to take in visually.

Start by shooting details. Pick out a single flower or a small cluster. Since you’re shooting close-ups, try experimenting with your depth of field. Do you like more or less background in focus? What about the direction of light? Walk around your newfound subject. As you work these vignettes, you’ll begin to find your own visual rhythm. Your location will gradually become more familiar to you and you can begin to pull back to make panoramic shots with greater success.

— Jeff Kida, Photo Editor

3 Comments

Filed under Et Cetera

3 responses to “Wildflower Shooting Tip #1: Start Small

  1. Kay Keck

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the tips. I was in your point & shoot workshop in the fall, and am thinking about moving up to a digital SLR camera. Do you–or anyone else reading the blog– have any recommendations?

    Kay

    • David

      Kay,
      Stretch as much as possible for your initial purchase. Your initial lens choice(s) will impact your photography for years, so try to get the best you can afford. My first camera body in the digital age was a Canon 30d with a Canon 24-70 f/2.8L lense. I have since upgraded the body, but still love the lens. If wide angle’s are important to you, a full frame sensor, i.e. Canon 5D or Canon 5D Mark II, are excellent choices. More important than equipment is just getting out taking pictures, always asking yourself what could I have done to improve the composition, the color, the foreground, the background, did the photograph tell a story? All of these things will improve your photography. Enjoy, this is a great hobby!

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