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Easy Picking?

Copyright Andy Richards

Photography is about color. Even the classic B&W masters, like Adams and Weston used color. They were just phenomenally talented at using gradations between black and white to illustrate color. But it is not difficult to look at an Ansel Adams print and see color.

I have always preferred color to B&W. Maybe I am just simple-minded and don’t appreciate the art and skill involved in a great B&W print. I have never made an artistic B&W image I was moved by. I have certainly seen them made by others, I admire and envy the estimable skills of those who can. But color hits you right between the eyes and nature has a truly amazing array of colors in her palette.

Copyright Andy Richards

There is no recurring object in nature that has more striking color and variety than flowers. They are truly a miracle of creation. They are also usually very willing subjects. Which is, perhaps, why at a point in my photographic development, I was drawn to them, making 100’s of closeup images. While I haven’t made many of them in recent years, my portfolio includes many images, most of them dating back to the days of film.

Flowers, and particularly flower closeups, are a great way to build and hone your photographic skills. They are, for the most part, easy subjects to work with and portray. I see many still life “studio” shots of flowers. They are, if you can get them, a great subject for still life when you cannot get outdoors. They can be a great subject to teach you the art of lighting in a studio situation. They have color and texture, which are important aspects in the lighting game.

Copyright Andy Richards

Copyright Andy Richards

Copyright Andy Richards

Most of my own flower closeups have been taken in natural environments. While there are clearly challenges, I find that nature does an incredible job in many instances of arranging the image and juxtaposing color, shape and texture. Sometimes, the hand of man is involved and with a little skill (on the part of the gardener), that works, too. But this type of imagery can teach us about skills such as sharp focus, depth of field, proper exposure, and lighting. On an artistic level, they are also instructive about composition, including placement of objects, shapes, textures, colors and how they all interrelate.

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