O.k. That was another one of those blatant, “gotcha” titles that has (almost) nothing to do with the subject. Not much flowery prose here, but it is about flowers.
In 1996, after a 14 year hiatus (life happened for a while), I rekindled my fascination with photography. By that time in life, I was considerably more affluent (which is still not saying much) than I was as a “poor college student.” With that “affluence,” I purchased a new Nikon N6006 SLR camera and a “kit” lens (I honestly don’t even remember what the lens was). I shortly began acquiring additional lenses and after some missteps, finally “sprung” for the top-end Nikkor 60mm “Micro” f2.8 lens. I thought it would be a good substitute for a “normal” 50mm lens. Ironically, I judge the lens to be just a little too sharp (I know – seems like a non-sensical observation for a photographer) for a general use lens. But it made very nice closeup images.
Like many “neophyte” shooters, I quickly developed a fascination for close up images. In my case, flowers were easy picking (yes; pun intended 🙂 ). I spent many hours happily setting up and shooting close-up images over the next several years.
Have you seen the strange neighbor on his hands and knees in his yard with the camera?
I am pretty sure I totally embarrassed my wife with the neighbors, as I crawled around on the ground in my yard, with the camera mounted low on my tripod. “Have you seen the strange neighbor on his hands and knees in his yard with the camera?”
There is perhaps no better practice ground for learning about the nuances of photography: directional lighting, depth of field, sharpness, composition and color arrangement are all possible with this genre. In addition, it is a great teacher of the virtues of electronic flash. You also learn very quickly the requirement of a sturdy shooting platform (a tripod), the relationship between subject movement, shutter speed and—again—electronic flash.
I have always loved color. What better place to find studies of color, from subtle to brilliant, than flowers? As my cataloging of images has gotten more detailed—particularly with the advent of Adobe Lightroom—I have begun to look at different categories of flowers, from different domestic varieties, to wildflowers. I’ll spend the next couple blogs posting some of my favorites.
During the first several years from 1996, I amassed around 500 flower images. After a while, I felt that I had “been there, done that,” and moved on to other images. This was probably partly driven by my greater ability to travel to more “exotic” locations than my backyard. I have a very good friend and pro photographer who likes to quote another pro, saying that “in order to get good photos, you have to stand in front of good stuff.”
More recently, as I have experimented with new lenses and cameras, I have found myself drawn back to the flowerbed as a testing ground. As I selected images for the next several blogs, I was interesting and fun to go back to the “early” years and compare them to recent photographs. I hope you’ll enjoy the next few posts. I’ll be off in the Caribbean for the next couple weekends, so see you later this month.