|Flower Power, © Greg Clure|
Here are some tips to help you as you venture out this spring in hope of capturing some wildflowers:
- Know your species, research what you are shooting, some species close up at night and don’t open till the sunshine warms their petals, the California Poppy would be a good example. While most blooms are best shot during the golden hour some will need to be shot at mid-day. Also follow the internet blogs in your area to help you time your travels to peak bloom.
- Research the weather; you are looking for super calm days. Wind is the bane of wildflower shooters so go out on a calm day, you’ll get more keepers. Overcast days also make great days for shooting wildflowers as they tend to be less windy and less contrasty as nature provides the softbox. Also, the wind tends to die down at the beginning and end of the day. If you do find yourself stuck in the wind, don’t try to beat it, rather; accentuate it by using long shutter speeds and make some dreamy abstracts.
- Pay attention to the direction of your light. Most species will look great backlit which gives flower petals a translucent quality and adds a nice rim light emphasizing their form and helps separate them from the background as well as each other.
- Pay attention to your background. Nature can be chaotic and messy so look for a clean uncomplicated background; this will help direct the viewer’s eye to your subject flower. Can’t find an uncluttered background, get down low next to the ground and use the blue sky as your background.
- Look for complementary colors. Complementary colored flowers work to enhance each other by making each appear more vibrant than they would alone. Think cool blue lupine in a field of warm orange poppies or yellows flower fields against purple mountains.
- Get down on their level. If flowers were people you would shot them at eye level, when was the last time you shot someone from directly overhead?
- What setting should you use? You need to use fast shutters to freeze motion and wide-open apertures to blur your backgrounds for those specimen shots. Try 1/250 or faster and f/2.8 – f/4. Of course, you’ll need to use a small aperture for those grand scenic fields’ of wildflowers, try f/16 or f/22.