Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When The Stars Align

Sometimes when you are out photographing, the perfect shot presents itself with no effort on your part. Just being observant is good enough. This phlox was just such a situation.

Walking slowly along a narrow roadway, I saw many phlox in prime condition. Strolling at this pace was a lesson I learned several years ago from a man I passed along a trail here in the Smokies. He was walking very slowly, pointing out several plants and flowers along the way. He said that this approach enabled him to spot things that a faster pace would not. So I learned to slow down and REALLY look.

When you slow down, it gives your mind a chance to absorb all that is around you, and for your eyes to find some ideal subjects. As I began to view each plant, not just the overall expanse of phlox, I spotted this grouping. This is one plant that amazingly has three phases of the blooms  -  tight buds, a partially opened flower, and a fully opened flower. The spacing created by Mother Nature between each bud was perfect and all I had to do was click the shutter.

This flower was in full sunlight, and I shot some as-is, and others with a small white nylon diffusion disk. I selected this image, shot with the diffusion disk, for today’s blog. 

The diffusion disk works well when photographing flowers in sunlight since it creates soft light and eliminates harsh shadows. This is a small folding disk of translucent nylon measuring about 12 inches in diameter. It folds down into a very small 4-inch package with its own zippered carrying case.

It is small enough to hold in one hand and shoot with the other, even when not using a tripod. If you happen to be out with a friend, it can be helpful for one to hold the disk while the other person shoots, and then trade off. Hold the disk as close to the flower as possible without it showing in the frame.

When photographing close-ups of flowers, shallow depth of field creates soft out-of-focus backgrounds. An aperture of f/2.8 or f/4 is a good starting point.

Shutter Speed 1/100 sec.  Aperture f/3.5.  ISO 100.  Lens: Canon 100mm macro f/2.8L IS.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III, handheld.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “…when the stars aligned, I was ready.”  --Shannon Lucid

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