You probably know by now that I’m no arborist, and my knowledge of plants and vegetation is about the same as my knowledge of particle physics. Which is to say, not exactly stellar. All I know is that flowers can be really pretty, and when I see interesting shapes and colors in nature I like to have the opportunity to capture them with my camera. About a week before I took this shot last April I noticed trees all over town exploding with bright purple flowers and while the effect was fascinating to see, I was never able to really get the kind of picture I wanted. Everything I tried just wasn’t quite able to capture the image I had in my mind, until I took a closer look and found what I was missing.
The key to getting the picture, I realized, was to give the viewer something to focus on. With an entire branch full of purple and pink there was no one clear spot to look at, but after realizing that many of the trees also had tiny little leaves sprouting from amidst the puffs of violet I knew I could use that to my advantage. I used my Nikon D750, 50mm lens, and a +4 close-up filter to get close to the leaves, and shot at f/5.6 to get a reasonably wide depth of field. This let me get the leaves to be sharp and focused while still giving me plenty of background blur, which hopefully helps the viewer see that there’s a lot more going on than just some leaves.
This is another example of the continuous learning process that is basically required of anyone who wants to learn more about photography. Or any given pursuit, for that matter. I had the equipment to take this picture about three years ago but none of the knowledge and experience, either on a technical level or from an artistic standpoint. It’s fun to see what happens as you refine and hone your craft over time, and I’m sure not too long from now I’ll revisit a scene like this and take a picture that’s even better. And it’s this cycle of continuous learning and improvement which makes this hobby so much fun :)
Rebecca Burlingham says
Gorgeous. Great subject for shallow Depth of Field. I agree that photography is a constant learning process. Sometimes it is a re-fresher course, too.
The trees are Redbuds, btw. They are worth revisiting. The leaves are heart shaped. The blooms, which sprout out of the branches instead of at the ends of the branches will produce what looks like bean or pea pods. The blooms are bee magnets if you want to try photographing fast moving subjects. The leaves will also take on an iridescent quality as they get older. Keep your eye on them.
Redbuds…got it! Thanks for the information, and for your comments too! I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for bees on those blossoms next year and see if I can get a few shots :)
I need to remember your advice next spring when the Redbuds begin popping! Thank you.
Susan Gutterman says
Lovely! I am on the same journey, and you put it so well.