[/caption] Early morning dew cascading over a sea of flowers at the Portland International Rose Garden in Portland, OR. Early Spring is the best time to visit the Rose Garden if you are wanting to photograph or just view the many flowers that inhibit the Rose Garden. However, June is the best time to see the Roses.
[/caption] Water droplets bead around a beautiful rose at the Portland International Rose Garden. This photo was actually taken after I sprayed the rose with my water bottle. I normally take a photo before spraying it in case it looks better dry rather than wet. However, I normally keep the photos of the roses once they’ve been sprayed since it creates a really awesome look. I wasn’t using a tripod when I took this photo so I made sure to keep a steady hand and ensured that I didn’t have my CIR-PL attached since that would have created too much shadow and guaranteed a blurry shot. I did make sure to attach my warming filter in order to create a more colorful photo. I was using my Sigma 50mm macro/prime lens and I set the camera mode to Program/Mode. The aperture was automatically set at F-5.6 and the shutter speed at 1/197 second. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 in order to keep the photo from becoming too overexposed since I didn’t have my CIR-PL attached. I moved the camera about 2 inches from touching the rose so I made sure to keep a steady hand and also tried to position myself in the best light in order to avoid too much glare. This is especially true since it was about 11:45am and the sun was very bright.
[/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] 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.