[/caption] You can get very creative with your shots when photographing flowers with a prime/macro lens. This is a photo of a Dahlia flower and I was only about 6 cm from the flower. I was using my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens. The great thing about prime lenses is that you don’t need a tripod or even IS when getting ultra close to your subject. The trick is to make sure that you remove your CIR-PL and attach a warming filter and a UV filter. It’s also an advantage if you find the right angle as well as finding the best saturation and angle of the sun before taking your shots. I usually just move around and look through the lens to see if it looks like it may be a keeper or not. Since I don’t have to hassle with a tripod, I can just as easily delete the shot and move on to my next one. Utilizing the histogram is necessary and I always adjust the white balance whenever needed. I try to keep the ISO at 100 and keep the camera mode at Program/Normal. One thing to always remember is that you want to be sure that you find the focal point and ensure that you either have the entire subject in focus or just the part that you’re interested in. This is one of the best parts of a macro/prime lens. Having the creative instinct to just play around with your subject and get some really cool shots can be very rewarding and usually unexpected.
[/caption] This is a really cool shot of a Dahlia Flower that I got really close to in order to have nothing but the Dahlia’s pedals in the photo. I made sure to focus on the middle pedal with the rest of the flower slowly becoming out of focus as you work your way outside of the focal point. There is only a limited amount of shadow in the shot, which is what I wanted since I was hoping for the entire photo to be completely in bright red. To get this shot I attached my Sigma 50mm Marco/Prime lens and stood about 2 inches away from the flower. I attached my warming filter and UV filter in order to capture the most brilliant colors that I could without having any camera shake or blur. Since I wasn’t using a tripod, I made sure to remove the CIR-PL and kept a steady hand since the ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at 0. It did help that it was about 11:20am and I was facing towards the sun. The shutter speed was at 1/166 second ant the aperture was at F-5. I kept the camera in Program/Normal mode in order to eliminate any blur or camera shake.
[/caption] Beautiful Dahlia flower that looks more like a golf ball sprouting pedals! This type of Dahlia is pretty cool to photograph but you have to look for a specific focal point in order to bring out its personality. I took this shot with my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens and had the camera only a few inches from the flower. The entire background is out of focus due to the low field of view but I did want to have as much color in the blurry background so I made sure to locate a flower that had several other flowers directly in the background. I made sure to remove my CIR-PL but made sure that I had my warming and UV filter attached in order to bring out the natural tones and awesome colors of the flower. The shutter speed was fast at 1/320 second and I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0. The aperture ended up at F-7 and I had the camera mode at Normal/Program. I wasn’t using a tripod and I almost never us a tripod when taking macro photos so you want to make sure and keep a steady hand as well as utilize light and avoid too many shadows. You also want to always utilize your histogram and review every shot that you take so you don’t miss an opportunity to adjust your camera settings.
[/caption] Not all flowers are created equal and the Dahlia seems to make a pretty strong argument. If you look closely, you can look directly into the center of the flower and see how each of the pedals grows. It almost looks like a giant onion but only much prettier and colorful. I took this shot while using my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens and was about an inch from the flower. This shot was taken at the Swan Island Dahlia farm in Canby, Oregon.
[/caption] This is another photo of a Dahlia that was taken at the Canby Dahlia Festival in Canby, Oregon. I was looking for a unique shot of one of the flowers with the blue sky in the background so I decided to crouch down on my knees and angle the camera at about a 90 degree angle. I wanted to get as much of the sky in the background without cutting off too much of the dahlia so I made sure to move close enough to the flower without losing any of the field of view. I was using my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens so I wasn’t able to zoom. However, I was able to get as far away or as close as I needed to in order to get the perfect shot. I’m about a foot from the flower and the lens didn’t need much time to focus since the subject stands out like a battle ship. My Sigma lens doesn’t have IS and since I wasn’t using a tripod I made sure to remove the CIR-PL and keep a steady hand in order to avoid any blur or camera shake. I kept the ISO at 100 and played with the white balance until I was satisfied. Since I always check the histogram after every photo I take it’s easy to decide on which is the best shot to keep.