The first session of the day was Wildflower Photography with Jack Carman ( author of Wildflowers of Tennessee) and Bob Hutson (co-author of Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains). I didn’t realize who our instructors were and I wish I brought my books for them to autograph! This was an awesome session and I learned so much.
Contrast and Control Techniques
1. Full sun casts harsh/very hard shadows, requires contrast. Control to lower contrast.
2. Mixed sun/shade - need to lower contrast
3. Cloudy bright - no contrast needed
4. Deep shade - raise contrast
1. add light to shadows and subtract light from highlights; use reflectors (crumble tin foil, paste on foamboard with dull side out) and get as close to the flower as possible so as to light the flower and not the background; sides or angles but not head on.
2. Diffuser - white rain umbrella, frosted vinyl shower curtain, sheer white cloth
3. Shading tools - black cloth over umbrella
4. Use friend’s body, hat, coat, newspaper
5. Blocking only direct sun will diffuse
6. Block all creates shade
7. Diffuser in sunlight all the time.
8. Sometimes wait for cloud to block the sun.
1. Zoom: use optical zoom not digital
2. Longest focal length
3. Telephoto lets you control background better
4. Choose background that is far away
5. Make subject stand out
6. Increase contrast between subject and background
1. Zooming is cropping
2. Move to change composition
3. Odd number of flowers looks best
4. Simplify - focus in on what is the most interesting thing
5. Bulls eye pictures are less pleasing.
6. Get your subject off center
7. Thirds rule
8. Don’t let subject touch edges of frame
9. Bulls eye work with symmetrically shaped subject.
10. Get in as close as you can.
11. Make horizontal and vertical photos. Most subjects will lend themselves to one or the other.
12. Look for geometric shapes such as diagonal lines, curves, s curves. Diagonal lines look better than straight up and down.
13. Most things look better from their level.
14. Stop and study from all angles.
15. Sweep the edges of the frame with your eyes and look for distractions.
Taking the Picture
1. Highest quality image setting
2. Set lens for telephoto
3. Work under optimal lighting conditions (cloudy bright)
4. Get helper, tripod
5. Use light modification techniques.
6. Use auto ISO setting - shutter speed at least 1/100 of a sec.
7. Compose using LCD on back of camera, not viewfinder
8. Autofocus on what is most important
9. Manual focus if autofocus doesn’t lock on what you want.
10. Manually focus at the distance that gives you the composition you want.
11. Use 2 hands.
12. Brace elbows against body and squeeze slowly.
13. Use autoexposure -either program mode or aperture
14. Use exposure compensation - check your image for blinkies to see if you have blown the highlights.
1. If flower is blowing in slight breeze, be patient.
2. Photograph early in the day when wind is generally still
3. Shield plant with umbrella or other device.
4. Check image on LCD screen for exposure, focus, composition, and wind before you walk away.
1. Do it Right in the field. Photoshop never as good.
2. Search for picture or good specimen. Spend more time looking than photographing.
3. Small groups or single flowers are easier to work with then large mass. A large mass works better for a carpet or scenic.
1. Do not damage your subject or environment.
2. Gardening is the removal of things from the picture consistent with a natural look. Do in a nondestructive manner.
3. Use dead leaves to cover rocks and sticks and water to tone down/darken things.
4. Never remove or damage live plant material
5. Gently brush other vegetation out of the way or stake back if necessary.
6. Don’t remove all the leaves around the plant. Return everything back the way it was.
7. Think about what you are doing. Don’t trample other stuff to photograph something.
Our next session was on Bugs and Butterflies with Chuck Parker. Here are things we saw:
3. Stonefly (characteristics are 4 wings, 2 prongs at end of abdomen, long antenna, mouth parts not well developed, wings specific)
4. Scorpion fly
5. Moth fly
8. Dark winged fungus gnat
11. Ground beetles
12. Rolled wing or needle stoneflies
18. Carpenter bee
19. Tiger beetle - iridescent blue green
20. Adult mayfly
21. Saw flies - female ovipositor looks like saw blade.
22. Doll’s eye
24. Beetle larva
25. Seersucker sedge
26. Sweat bee
27. True bug
28. True fly
29. Bee moth aka hummingbird moth
31. Leaf hopper
32. Lady bug
33. Water penny
34. Flatheaded caddisfly
35. Forester moth - day active; white belly, white stripes, black body
36. Caddisfly cases on rocks (if stuck - pupated)
38. Angelwinged butterfly
39. Black fly larva - look like bowling pins; can eat bacteria out of water.
40. Rhyme -
Sedges have edges.
Rushes are round.
And on grasses,
Nodes can be found.
Come back tomorrow to see my notes from Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Day 3!
Original photo by Pat Hensley