Over the past several months I have spent a fair amount of time photographing flowers. In part, this has simply been because I love flowers, enjoy photographing them, and want to get better at creating images of flowers. A further incentive was that I had signed up for a photography workshop at Butchart Gardens that took place in mid-August (more on that in my next post.)
Here in St. Albert, AB we have the wonderful St. Albert Botanical Park. This hidden gem is entirely maintained by volunteers and is absolutely gorgeous. I have visited it a number of times this summer. My back yard has also provided some beautiful flowers to practice on.
An early Spring visit to the garden saw tulips in full bloom.
This was followed, a couple of weeks later, by the irises starting to bloom nicely.
By now the roses had also started to bloom. I really enjoy photographing roses just at the buds are starting to open.
I enjoy creating images with a very shallow depth of field: in other words, with the flower in focus and the background blurred. As the roses in my backyard started to bloom, I had opportunity to play around with various techniques, including creating a bit of a glow around the flower.
In this image of a zinnia, enough is in focus so you can see the leaves on the plant but the background is blurred.
For my birthday, my wonderful wife gave me a Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens. This is a specialty lens that allows parts of the image to be in focus with the rest exhibiting a beautiful glow. So, of course, I had to practice with it in my backyard. There is definitely a learning curve with this lens and the more I use it the more comfortable I get with it.
In this comparison, you can see two different lilies, one with a “normal” lens and one with the Lensbaby. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, they just give different effects.
Of course, not everything has to be a colorful flower to have a beauty of its own.
In this final image, I experimented with my Lensbaby and using a flashlight to illuminate a specific portion of the petal from behind.
In my next post I will give an account of my trip to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, BC.