[/caption] One of the best ways to get a really good and tack sharp close-up photograph of a flower is by attaching a macro/prime lens and utilizing your cameras settings in order to ensure that you take only the best photos as possible. I have a 50mm lens and never attach it to my tripod when I’m taking macro photos of flowers or insects. You always want to be sure and use your histogram since it’s one of the most important things that you can do in order to eliminate photos that you will just end up deleting when you get home. The histogram also helps you learn ways to change settings in order to take a good photo. You will also want to attach a warming filter and remove the CIR-PL if it’s attached. I almost never use a tripod since I want to be able to move around a lot and get into some very peculiar positions in order to get the best and most unique photos. A tripod is too cumbersome and can limit the angles that you can get the best photos. However, sometimes it’s appropriate to use a tripod but 95% percent of the time I won’t use a tripod when I’m taking photos of flowers or other close-up shots. Since you also want to try and keep the ISO at 100, you will want to get comfortable with the white balance setting since it’s the best way to brighten the photo without having to increase the ISO. I also set the camera to Program/Normal mode in order to make sure the camera focuses on the spot I want to ensure is in focus. The close-up setting won’t always focus on the part of your subject that you will want to focus on and will hamper your abilities. It’s also important to attach a battery pack on the body of your camera so you can have a large grip for vertical shots. I have a Canon T1i and I purchased the battery pack and only use it when I’m taking macro photos. And last but not least is to ensure that you keep a steady hand and always make sure that you take advantage of the lighting, background noise and color format of your subject. I normally put the sun in the back of my subject in order to get full light but look for shade in the subject that I’m photographing. This increases the chances that your subject will evolve into a great photo opportunity and have an awesome personality that will catch someones eye. Normally the pedals or the body of the flower will shade some of most of the direct sunlight but still allow the light to shine on the area of focus.
[/caption] If you had the chance to visit the Schreiners garden, located just between Brooks and Keizer, Oregon, you were lucky enough to photograph some of the most unique Iris flowers in the world. They have mastered the art of hybrid’s and there are dozens of Iris’ to photograph. You will want to make sure and bring your macro/prime lens and leave your CIR-PL in the bag since you won’t want to have any camera shake or blur. I don’t use a tripod and I get as close as I can to the flowers in order to get the most brilliant photo as possible. Just make sure that you utilize your histogram and try to keep the ISO at 100 in order to keep the photo as tack sharp as possible.
[/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.
[/caption] Who’s ready for Spring? I couldn’t help but include one of my rose shots from last year. I took this shot in early June at the Portland Rose Garden. I sprayed the rose with my water bottle to give it more personality. The sun was pretty high so it really allowed me to avoid any shadows from hiding the pedals. I am really amazed that I’m able to get my best shots without using a tripod. I used my Canon 18-55mm kit lens to take all of my flora shots last year. However, it does have IS. I just make sure to remove my PL-CIR or at least crank up my exposure so I don’t have camera shake. I usually only use my warming filter, which is a must. I’ve really experienced great macro capabilities with this inexpensive little lens. I am able to get just inches from the flowers and still get great shots. During the late summer months, I was able to get some great shots of bees pollinating the flowers. You can even see the pollen on their little legs. I plan on purchasing a 50mm macro lens so I can really get some even better shots of flora during this spring and summer.