flower

Hummingbird shares a flower

Hummingbird shares a flower

Hummingbird in Cloudcroft, New Mexico

While I was in Cloudcroft, New Mexico on a rural land photography assignment, I took notice of these very unusual flowers that I thought looked like rocket popsicles that a hummingbird was having breakfast at.  I had my excellent new Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro SP lens on my Nikon D750.  There was no way to track this fast moving bird through the air.  How to get this shot then?  Pre-focus on a flower you hope the hummingbird will land on, and wait.  I studied the bird's flying patterns a bit, noticing it kept coming back to this particular flower.  I approached slowly, very slowly, and then froze waiting for the hummingbird to return.  The focus point is not perfect, and I wish the hummingbird had chosen a prettier flower to drink nectar from, but I like the bokeh enough to share this photo with you.

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Flowers Like Rocket Popsicles in Cloudcroft New Mexico

Flowers Like Rocket Popsicles in Cloudcroft New Mexico

On a recent overnight photo shoot trip to Cloudcroft, New Mexico the excellent true bed & breakfast I stayed at, The Crofting Inn, had this wonderful flower garden.  Being still totally enamored with my recent purchase of the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Macro lens, I am always looking for opportunities to use it.  These flowers on their own would have been beautiful to photograph, but the color of the bokeh really makes this macro flora image.  Then upon further exam, I thought these flowers looked like the classic rocket popsicles I used to enjoy on hot summer days growing up!  Tell me what you think in the comments below.

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Old Town Albuquerque New Mexico Macro Flower Photography

Old Town Albuquerque New Mexico Macro Flower Photography

Last week I invested in getting a macro lens, the new Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro SP.  For those of you with really good memories, you will have realized this is my third Tamron lens in the past 9 months.  Tamron is just simply producing the best lenses available for Nikon right now.  I had the Nikon 105mm VR Micro (they use micro not macro in the name) lens from 2009 until about 2013 and loved it.  It was such a fun lens to shoot with, as making macro shots always had a sense of wonder at showing a hidden world the naked eye cannot see.  It had very creamy bokeh and was very, very sharp.  I also loved it for portraits and just as my walking around lens.

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Photography Tip - do not photograph flowers in harsh light

Assuming you have a good subject, then light and background are the two make or break factors for any photograph.  Both flower photos above have complimentary backgrounds.  However, only one of them works due to the light.  The top flower photo was made in harsh light.  Even with a large amount of digital editing to try and recover detail in the flower, it was not possible.  In contrast, the bottom flower required very little editing as it was photographed in good, soft light.  

No matter how pretty the flower may be, if it is not photographed in good light, then it will turn out looking ugly in a photograph.  Look for soft light for flowers.  This can be done by photographing flowers in shade and basically avoiding the strong mid-day sunlight times.  Early morning or late evening are often prime times for this kind of light.  Then remember to make sure the background is good too!

Dandelion Florida Fine Art Photography 50mm bokeh

Dandelion ready to be plucked and blown in the wind - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/4 ISO 200 1/400thJust a simple dandelion at the end of its flowering life ready for the wind or a young child to come by and send its parachuted seeds in flight.  Do kids still even do such things on warm spring days out in open green spaces?  I hope so.  

Purple Hyacinth Flower Macro Photograph from Publix

My purple hyacinth growing right in water in my living room!

I am a regular Publix (Florida grocery store franchise) Friday shopper, and have been all my adult life in Florida.  On a recent shopping trip I was thinking to finally get a new plant to replace the one that had long since died (of natural causes!) in my living room.  I was very quickly talked into getting the above purple hyacinth by the lady behind the counter.  Growing a plant right in a vase of water appealed to me, and she promised when in bloom the scent would fill the room.  She was right, it now smells great anytime I pass by the bloom!

Purple Hyacinth in bloom in my living room - Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR Micro @ f/8 ISO 200 0.4 sec natural light

Having flowers right inside your house also makes for a very convenient photography subject too.  So my photography tip is if you live somewhere that is really cold, so cold it deters you from going outside with your DSLR in winter, then go out and buy some flowers and shoot from the comfort of your living room!

Flower Arrangement Photography Lesson in Tampa with Gopal

Getting things setup to photograph flowers using an industrial light system in TampaI have taught over 200 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons to people who were mostly hobbyists wanting to get better at making photographs for themselves.  However, I am increasingly teaching people who want to get better at photography for improving their own business.  These are what I call Commercial DSLR Photography Lessons.  Such was the case when I went over to Tampa to teach Gopal (holding camera above) how to photograph flower arrangements using the lighting and gear he currently had.  

I still began the lesson like I do any other, by teaching Gopal my step-by-step processing for setting the camera in order to procduce a well exposed and sharp image in any given shooting condition.  From there we went to using his very specific setup in the same room he would be photographing the floral arrangements.  I gave advice on where to better position the lights and how to manipulate the exposure to produce the darker overall tone to the images that he wanted.  

In addition to this shooting process we also covered a little bit of digital editing workflow.  I look forward to seeing his final images using all we covered that afternoon.