by Jennifer OByrne
(Brooklyn Park MN)
This photo was captured in my garden after a quick rain. The water was forming a large droplet on the petal and I liked the way the flower stems in the background created a fan type look.
I was practicing with my macro lens.
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It’s interesting to see quite a number of flower shots being submitted this month – we must be getting near to spring!
As flower shots go, this is pretty good. Jennifer has done the right thing by choosing the macro lens – these lenses allow photographers to focus really closely on their subject.
(As a brief aside, many 'macro' lenses aren’t true macros. A true macro focuses so close to the subject that the subject itself is life size on the image sensor in your camera. For example; if your image sensor is 30mm by 20mm in size and you are taking a photo of, say, a postage stamp that is also 30mm by 20mm, the stamp would completely fill the frame and be in focus.)
The other thing that Jennifer has done here to make this a good shot is choose a wide aperture. The result is that the flower is in pin-sharp focus, but the background is blurred. This is what we call a shallow depth of field. Read more about depth of field here.
The water on the petals is nice too. Jennifer says that she captured this photo after some rain. If you want to add droplets to a flower like this, and there hasn’t been any rain, you can always cheat a little. Grab one of those plant sprayers. Set it to deliver a fine mist, and then give your subject a quick spray!
Is there anything I would change? Just a couple of things – I think the square crop is underused (everybody seems to go for rectangles), but I think it would work wonders here. Imagine a square crop close to the flower, cutting out the stray petal on the left of the photo. I think it would balance the photo better. Read a digital photography tutorial on cropping here.
My other tip is one that may or may not have been possible – and that’s wait for the sun. When flowers have had a sprinkle, and then the sun comes out, the droplets really sparkle and shine. I appreciate that there may not have been any sun. The only solution would be to take the photo on a sunny day, and use the 'plant sprayer cheat' described above.
Thanks for the submission Jennifer,
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Return to Digital photography tutorials - submissions, February 2008.