Sunday, August 24, 2014

Exercise 3 - Shoot Something Different

Tall Wild Sunflowers Dancing

I am most comfortable with sweeping vistas, towering clouds over mountains, and reflections is ponds. This year because of the abundance of wildflowers and flowers in my garden I have made an attempt to do something my sister is best at. Or my photographer friend Terry Atkins Rowe. And it is not that I have never photographed flowers. My loyal readers have seen my portraits of orchids. Such beautiful posers in the controlled environment of a green house.

I do not have a macro lens but my 55-300 mm zoom does a great job at macro if you can get far enough away from the subject. And I like the fact that I do not have to lie down on the ground or erect a tripod necessarily. I often do go into the human tripod - butt, two feet, and elbows on knees. Butt on ground only if it isn't wet.


You are never suppose to shoot down on a flower so unless they are tall like the Tall Wild Sunflower or up on a hillside like this thistle it does require some kneeling. Something which I was more than happy to do this year with the salmon colored poppies in my yard.

But because I really am not the photographer in love with painful digital detail, my photos of flowers, I like to think, are more painterly.

The first Salmon Poppies

And perhaps, poetic. And the out of focus is every bit as important to me as what is in focus. Especially since the lovely background above was in fact my driveway. But the out of focus seed pods in the solitary poppy below is the making of the subject - the last poppy of the season.

The last poppy of the season

But at some point one has to make a stab at that mega pixel challenge and see if you can get a flower with pinpoint accuracy. Then you can say I can do that just do not choose to. Rather like Picasso who could draw very, very well but didn't.

Onion Blossoms

I also do not like to cut my flowers and take them out of their environment to control the breeze or the background. The onion blossoms were in my bow tunnel so quite unintentionally they got the opaque plastic behind them.


The hollyhocks got the rest rest of the plant for their setting. They looked their best in the evening light.

Double Ruffle Purple Hollyhock

It was upon coming in from attempting to capture my hollyhocks at dawn that I caught the growing light on the geranium in the studio.

Pretty in pink

A word about self assignments. There are those we give ourselves consciously and those which are rather subconscious. And some exercises like the 15 foot circle I have blogged about can be done in 10 minutes and others which take a great deal longer. The pick a shape exercise was a few days. The flower pictures were over five weeks. And it was the blooming of the poppies which made me dedicate myself to trying to truly capture them not the article I have been linking to. It just made me see that flowers have always been something I was not good at and sort of avoided.

Reflections, which is exercise #4 on Five Self Assignments That Teach You To See I have been doing for about five years. It has ceased to be an exercise and may have become an obsession. I am debating doing a blog about that or not since reflections are so often featured in my photo blogs.

That leaves me with exercise #1 - Pick a color. It would be so easy to wait until fall and do yellow.

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