Images and Stories from Photographing Flowers [Click on Images to Enlarge]
Cycle of LifeLeft: This is a shot of corn poppies (Papaver rhoeas) in my garden in early June. Many people do not know that “poppies” have their name because the flower literally pops out of its pod. This action takes place surprisingly quickly, and it can be a challenge to capture it photographically! The poppy in the center of the photo is mature, but the one to the upper right has just bloomed, shedding its delicate pod cover onto the petals of the more mature flower. The entire life cycle is compressed in this photo, but the pace of the action as it is captured seems languid and dreamy.
Poppies and IrisesRight: This image of red poppies and irises combined flowers from my garden (the poppies) and a bunch purchased at the store (the irises). I arranged the flowers carefully on a light box, then shot straight down, aiming for a high-key (overexposed) effect. Using a tripod to keep the composition in synch, I shot ten exposures with my 50mm macro lens. Each exposure was made at f/11 and ISO 100, with shutter speeds between two seconds and 1/50 of a second. To get the results shown, I started by processing the brightest exposure first (the one shot at two seconds), and then pasted in details from the darker exposures in successive layers, using Photoshop layers and layer masks.
Summer RainLeft: Following an unusual summer rain storm, the garden was heavy with waterdrops in the fragrant, still air. To capture these reflections of geranium blossoms, I used a telephoto macro lens (200mm) combined with a 36mm extension tube, and waited until the branch was absolutely still to make my capture.
ZinniaRight: With four kids, the bathroom in our old house could certainly use a facelift. But one nice feature is the frosted glass in the bathroom door, which has often caught my photographer’s eye. This frosted pane in the upper half of our bathroom door was probably added in the 1940s or 1950s. I found myself wondering what it would be like to photograph a flower through the glass. To try this out, I taped a Zinnia behind this glass, opened the door to maximize the light on the flower, and then set up my camera on a tripod. I used a 50mm macro lens to shoot the flower through the glass. This is a neat, impressionistic flower image that required no special fancy tools, or lighting beyond that available anywhere! If you keep your eyes open and look around you, you can find many floral photographic opportunities in unexpected places that can yield startling and exciting results without requiring any fancy equipment.