Tulips have some of the most amazing colors and magnificent features. However, sometimes changing them to black and white offers you the chance to showcase their features without their colors stealing the show. This photo was taken of red and yellow tulips sitting side by side. I wanted to created a really interesting profile so I rested on my stomach and tilted my camera up towards the sky and tried not to get as much of the flowers in the frame without having any distortion. The sun was at a perfect angle, which was at about a 90 degree angle and the light was coming through the flowers as well as their stems. There were no clouds in the sky which allowed me to perfectly cast the tulips as though they were floating in mid air. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I was trying to get the most panoramic photo as possible as well as create a large field of view so I set the focal length at 14mm so there wouldn’t be any of the flowers out of focus. I set the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0 due to the high glare and overexposure of the sky. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-6.4 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I attached my warming and CIR-PL filter and I wasn’t using a tripod since the camera was only a few inches from the ground.
[/caption] There in nothing more beautiful and energizing than photographing tulips in the early months of Spring in the Pacific Northwest. However, finding a perfect sunny day can be somewhat difficult and challenging. I took this shot last April but unfortunately the tulips were very stressed due to the rainy and cold weather that stunted their growth. Last Spring was unseasonably cold, rainy and muddy, which created a very challenging situation for the many photographers that frequent the tulip festivals that dot the Northwest. I took this shot while kneeling down in the mud and positioned my camera towards the sky hoping to get a good shot. Since I was in such a peculiar position I wasn’t able to use my tripod so I had to be sure to keep a steady hand and keep it level. I was using my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens which helped capture the shot. I attached my warming filter in order to maximize the color of the flower and take advantage of the suns rays. I was only about 8 inches from the flower which allowed me to get a good focus on the center tulip and it stem but kept the rest of the tulips out of focus. The shutter speed was 1/99 second and the aperture was set at F-4 since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3.
[/caption] The weather hasn’t been very kind to the tulips all across the Pacific Northwest this year. The heavy rains have created a lot of stress and the colder weather hasn’t allowed the spring flowers to flourish very much. While visiting the Woodburn tulip festival I was concerned that it might be too muddy as well as finding several stunted patches of tulip. This year I decided to take a different approach while photographing the tulip fields. In fact, I spent most of the day in the Tulip garden since they were more colorful and seemed less stressed. I decided to get as low as I could to the ground and try to get a panoramic photo with as many tulips in the frame as possible without too many distractions in the background. Unfortunately, the tulip fields were too muddy and the bottom parts of the tulips weren’t as photogenic. On the other hand, the garden was surrounded by grass which allowed me to lay on my stomach or crouch on my knees in order to position my camera up at an angle. I decided that it was better to position the camera on the ground and then just point the camera towards the sky with the tulips in the foreground. This allowed my to get much lower than using my tripod and I was able to completely rest it on the ground to ensure that there would be no camera shake. I used a bubble level in order to ensure that the photo would be perfectly aligned with the ground. I took this photo at about 11:10am and the sun was at a perfect 90 degree angle on the right. I wanted to create a look that made the tulips look enormous as though they were towering over the landscape so I adjusted the camera as close to them as possible and simply pointed the camera at about an 80 degree angle. It took me several try’s before I got the shot I wanted but I spent a good part of the day perfecting this method. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24 wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 14mm so I could get the most panoramic photo as possible without having any vignetting in the corners. I had the camera in Normal/Program mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.3.
[/caption] Macro photography is best when able to get really close to flowers so you can show the intricate parts of the subject. Normally I will spray a flower with water in order to focus on a water droplet so it really brings out the character and color of the flower. However, whenever I am lucky enough to photograph a flower with an insect near it I try to focus on the insect rather than a water droplet. This is especially true since you usually can’t spray the flower without scaring off the insect or angering the bee. I wanted to try and have both the rose and the bee in focus when I took this shot so I decided not to use my 50mm marcro/prime lens and instead use my 18-55mm lens. I tried to get as close as I could without distorting the picture so I changed the camera menu to Program/Normal as opposed to close-up. I stood about 8 inches from the rose and increased the focal length to 55mm. I made sure that I had removed the warming filter and CIR-PL so I could eliminate the possibility of any camera shake/blur. Due to the shadow and low light the shutter speed was pretty slow at 1/83 second and the aperture was at F 6.4. Since the bee was about to fly away I wasn’t able to adjust the ISO or white balance. The ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at -0.3. I was somewhat disappointed that I wasn’t able to get more light from within the flower in order to enhance the bees body. But because I was facing the sun and there was some shadows blocking any direct light, I tried to use this to my advantage by eliminating any glare. This photo was taken at the Portland International Rose Test Garden just above downtown Portland. I have visited this park numerous times and I can spend hours photographing the thousands of roses dotting the isles. During springtime, before the roses bloom, you can photograph dozens of other types of flowers as well. The hills within the park are teaming with possibilities and I have found myself enveloped in the scenery.
[/caption] The trail that follows along Herman Creek that cuts through the cliff walls along the Columbia River Gorge displays some of the most awesome scenic views in the Gorge. There are also several additional trails that you can choose from that offer difficult hikes. The Gorton Creek trail will take you directly over the Gorge 2700 feet above the Columbia River or you can also hook up with the Pacific Crest Trail within just a few miles on a different trail. However, the Herman Creek trail is my favorite since you follow through the steep walls of the Gorge and takes you along many viewing areas of the forest along with spectacular views of the creek. During spring and early summer you can photograph some of the most beautiful flowers that dot the trail. I took this shot on 6/3/10 at 10:48am during a fairly overcast day and when the water levels were extremely high. I was standing on a bridge that is just just .4 miles off the main Herman Creek trail. I like this shot because I am standing directly over the creek which allows me to encompass the water and the vegetation that looks as though the river is bubbling right out of the forest. I was using my Canon EOS Rebel T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm kit lens. Since I wanted to get the flowing motion of the river along with a long shutter speed I had to use my ND8 filter along with my UV and warming filter. Normally I only use my ND4 but the glare was still pretty intense due to the amount of water and the fact that it was traveling at such a high speed. A slower moving river or waterfall is much easier to photograph than one that is moving much faster. In fact, I was only able to set the shutter speed to 4 seconds. I had the camera mode set at shutter priority and the aperture was at F22. The F stop was at F22 since I had the ND8 filter on the lens which only allowed a small amount of light through the lens. I also set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3 due to the glare of the water. Taking photographs of fast moving rivers and waterfalls really requires you to master the art of utilizing and understanding light and your subject. I can spend hours changing my filters and settings in order to take the perfect shot. However, I am rarely disappointed when visiting the Columbia River Gorge. The photo opportunities are endless. I normally avoid the Gorge when the water levels are low and if the vegetation is still sparse or too dry due to the time of year. Late summer and winter isn’t the best time to get the best shots.
[/caption] One of my favorite hikes near Mt. Hood has got to be one of many trials that face the west part of the mountain. the views are spectacular and there is a lot of peace and solitude. There aren’t any paved roads, only narrow and windy gravel roads that take you to around 4000 feet elevation gain. One of the most scenic trails is the Timberline trail which takes you around Bald Mountain. At this part of the trail you can get some of the most spectacular photos of the mountain. The Mt. Hood national forest surrounds the mountain in the foreground and the birth of the Sandy River is directly below, along with the dozens of amazing waterfalls pouring out from the glaciers clinging along the mountains flanks. The photo shown here was taken just below McNeil point and you can see one of the waterfalls that helps form the Sandy river on the upper left. Muddy fork travels directly below which becomes part of the Sandy river. At this particular spot you are in the middle of two relentless creeks on both sides. You are basically on an island that only allows you to go straight up if you are trying to avoid the water. However, I did have to jump across the muddy creek, which can be very dangerous if the water level is high. I usually spend a few minutes looking for the safest spot to jump since I don’t want to break any of my equipment. You can also see another waterfall on the far right of the photo. I took this shot when I noticed how picturesque this photo looked with this Foxglove in the foreground of Mt. Hood. I was using my Canon EOS Rebel T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. On this day the haze was particularly bad and the glare from the sun was pretty intense. I made sure to attach my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters in order to soften the sky and bring out the colors of the vegetation. I set the camera to Program/Normal mode which put the aperture at F7 and the shutter speed at 1/125 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -1 step due to the brightness of the sun. I was trying to get as much in the frame as possible so I had the focal length at 20mm. I didn’t want to have any blur in the corners of the photo so I ended up having to crop each of the corners. Since I was looking up for so many of my shots, several parts of the photo looked somewhat blurred. This was mostly due to a combination of things…. The field of view was huge, there were several subject in the photo and each subject was either close or farther away. It was like trying to take a 3D photo. Hiking in this part of the Mt. Hood national forest is best during late Spring or Summer. You will still find some snow and the flowers are amazing.
[/caption] I couldn’t help but return to the Woodburn tulip festival again. This time I wanted to concentrate on macro shots and photographing the many insects that pollinate the flowers. I tried to look up the names of the insects but it seems tulips are pretty complicated little guys. I believe the Syrphid Fly is one of the main pollinators. I took several pictures of them. However, I decided to post this macro shot taken from the side. The pedals on this tulip had fallen off, which allowed me a great opportunity to get this shot. It clearly show’s how intricate and diverse these flowers are. However, most of my macro shots were taken from directly above the tulips. You can view some of them on my business facebook at PNW photography LLC. Again, I used my 50mm macro/prime lens and attached a warming filter along with my UV fiilter. I kept my setting at auto which increased the F stop to 4.5 and I set my ISO at 200 since it was pretty overcast. I didn’t use a tripod. It’s very difficult to get some of these shots without crouching and my tripod was just to cumbersome and time consuming.
[/caption] I decided to post this picture on my blog in order to show just how great the day was. This has tulips, snow in the mountains and incredible clouds. This isn’t my best or favorite that I took but I really wanted to show off just how incredible the scenery was. I may not have taken the best photos of a tulip farm but I’m sure there aren’t very many photographers that have a combination of the three in their portfolio….Except for the other photographers that were here the same day as me, of course. The entire day was spectacular. On this shot I had set my camera to normal exposure. The F stop was set at 7.1 since the clouds were changing constantly. Sometimes the clouds would obscure the sun but then it would suddenly appear and drown out the color of the tulip filed. The focal length was at 55mm. I used my warming filter and CIR-POL on each of my lenses. I used my 55-250mm telephoto lens throughout most of the day. the ISO was set at 100. I made very little changes while using photoshop. Mostly I just darkened the clouds when needed and occasionally cropped a little, in order to take out some of the people. I was able to use all of my lenses pretty regularly all day while photographing….18-55mm, 55-250mm, 50mm macro/prime lens and my 18-24mm wide angle lens. I would highly recommend a trip to the festival if your in the area. A lot of the tulips weren’t even out yet so I’m sure that the rest of April will be even more spectacular. It’s also a great place to bring the kids and there is plenty of food. I plan on returning as much as possible this Spring.
[/caption] I wasn’t sure the name of this flower but I believe it’s called a tulip tree flower. Most of them weren’t open but there were a few that had. I took this at the Portland International Rose Garden on Friday. However, while driving near my house I noticed that there were 5 of the same trees just 800 feet from my front door. I will be photographing more of flower since it’s so interesting. I can’t believe that I never noticed this before. Sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees. I took this with my 18-55mm kit lens. I removed my CIR-POL so I wouldn’t have camera shake since I didn’t use my tripod. However, I did use my warming filter to bring out the vivid colors. I had my lens at 55mm focal length and I was about 6 inches from the flower. I kept my camera in Auto Exposure with an F-stop of 5.6 and my ISO was at 100. I had taken several pictures while in Flower mode but this one was taken in Auto.
[/caption] I can’t believe Spring is officially here. It’s pretty cool to think that soon all of the spring flowers and trees will be blooming. I’ve already snatched every Oregon flower brochure that I could find so I don’t miss any of the spring festivals this year. This will be my first year ever being able to go to one, so I hope to get some really great shots. I took this photo of a wild iris about two years ago along the Oregon coast. This was along the South trail of the Cape Lookout trail system. This was back when I was using my Panasonic Lumix point and shoot. I believe I was using a warming filter as well as a CIR-POL. I believe I didn’t even crank up my ISO or the white balance. Even though it was around noon, the lighting was perfect since the trail was shrouded in shade. I didn’t use a tripod on this shot. I was really surprised that this came out since my Panasonic is only a 8mp and is really shaky at close range, even though it has IS.