Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bluebells Pink and Bluebells Blue

Spring bluebells are delicate and charming flowers, and are in bloom only for a small number of days each year. They are a rare find in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and I have seen them only along the Cades Cove road. In the past 5 years, I had seen them only once before. So it was a rare treat to see them this past April.

There was a small patch of them in pristine condition one day, and then nearly gone 3 days later. The buds start out as pink, and turn blue as they mature. You can see both stages in this image.

These bluebells were shot in soft light on an otherwise sunny day. They were shaded by overhanging trees, and a few clouds that came and went.

Photographing flowers in soft light, that is light that has no strong shadows or highlights, is my favorite kind of light for flowers. That is a purely personal choice, and is not meant as a value judgment and is not an effort to deter you from photographing in different kinds of light.

Soft light makes exposures easy. That leaves the main considerations to be overall composition and a clean background. Notice the softness of the background in the image above. There are soft greens and darker tones, and nothing is distracting. Nothing interferes with the enjoyment of viewing the flowers.

When photographing flowers, pay very close attention to the elements in the background. Does it distract or interfere? Does it prevent the main subject from standing out? Is it lighter than the main subject? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then it would be better to fix those issues before clicking the shutter.

In all photography and in all art, ultimately it is the artist who determines what works best. Others may have opinions, some of them strong, but it is important to go with your gut when it comes to deciding on what works and what does not. No judge, spouse, colleague, or friend should make you seriously question your artistic and creative decisions. Yes, we can always improve. Yes, we can always learn more. But at each stage of our individual journeys we should strive to produce the kinds of images that make us happy and have a positive impact.

Shutter Speed 1/320 sec.  Aperture f/3.5.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 100mm macro f/2.8L IS.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Creativity is contagious. Pass it on."  --Albert Einstein

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