Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Photography Self-Teach with questions: Wildflower Walk, Part 2

Here's another bit of loveliness from my wildflower walk on Sunday. . . a little flower shot in portrait setting to blur out the rest of the background.  I was a little surprised that the portrait setting worked better at doing this than the macro/close-up/flower setting.  I had assumed going in that the macro setting would be the most successful, but it wasn't.  Does anyone know why? Why is going to be my theme for this post.  I've got questions about what didn't work during this photo shoot.

I had trouble taking shots of fields of flowers.  The first picture doesn't look like much of anything.  The second one is a little better. The third one is the most successful.  So, I'm wondering why these were so hard to shoot.  I had the white balance set to bright sunshine, but I think there may have still been too much light.  It may also have been the fact that I was shooting with my 50 mm fixed lens, which just might not work for this type of shot.  Any suggestions or insights welcome!
 I thought some of the issue might be composition, so I took some photos that had things in it besides the flowers:  rocks; fences; sky.  The composition is more interesting in these photos, but they still lack intensity. The second is my favorite. Again, I'd love feed back or suggestions.
Finally, to end on a more successful note - one last shadow self-portrait.  I like the fact that it looks like I have flowers on my hat!
 

11 comments:

humel said...

Love the flowery hat! :-) I can't be of much help with the photography yet, I'm afraid - though when I've worked through my new course I hope to be much more informed! I agree with your choice of the third shot and then the second respectively being the most successful of each set of three, though - they're my favourites from each set, too xx

Sian said...

That's a really interesting point about the portrait setting. I think I need to go and try that out myself!

scrappyjacky said...

With your first photo...that is exactly what my camera would do.On my camera course we've been told that portrait mode is for head shots [not portraits at all] and will therefore blur what is not its main focus...while macro is to get a very clear close shot....so everything in the photo should be clear.This is just what I learned at my lesson last week [being a complete beginner]...but it does seem to work on my camera.
And I do love that first photo.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Thanks Jacky! That's really helpful and makes sense when I look at the pictures I took with my macro/flower/ close up.
I don't know why this information takes so long to sink in and stay in my head.
Rinda

Karen said...

The first photo is just lovely. Using the telephoto will also get you this kind of shot. My long zoom works the best for this, even better than my 50mm lens. I've had the same problem with fields of wildflowers. After our trip last summer, I did some reading and I just flipped through a couple of my photography books to see what I could find. It appears to me that the successful photos are shot from almost ground level so the front of the field fills more of the shot than the back. One of the photos used a pretty high aperture (low number) so the flowers in the back were more blurred. Another one shot with f/11 so the whole field was in focus, and at an angle so the tops of the flowers were the focus. Here's a link to a blog post I bookmarked a while ago. It might help answers your questions too. My neighbor's yard is filled with dandelions and wildflowers. I think I'll go see what I can do. I haven't tried this since my unsuccessful attempts last summer.

http://digital-photography-school.com/8-tips-for-photographing-wildflowers

Anonymous said...

LOVE the flowers on your hat!

Mariana

Karen said...

OK, I went next door and tried a couple of things. I don't think what I got is any improvement over the third of your field shots, but I posted them on my blog so you can take a look. I asked for suggestions too. Maybe we'll get some more. I belong to a women's photo group, I'll ask over there as well.

helena said...

love the flowery hat - I tend to look for empty space for my shadow but like this effect so will try it next time.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Karen,
Thanks so much! I think your observation makes a lot of sense; it's why I think the middle shot of the composed shots works fairly well. The poppy in the middle and other foreground images are more in focus. Thanks also for the link to the digital photography school site. I added that one to my reader. Off to study your blog post a bit more.
Rinda

Amy said...

Rinda I have a photography book by Scott Kelby(available online) which has a lot of hints/tips and tricks. He talks about the difficulty of nature shots and how many of us fall into the trap of trying to photograph the way we see the actual field,flower,beach scene etc. He talks about having an interesting foreground, middle and background and always looking for a different angle and not taking the shot how we see in real life. Also, he is of the opinion that nature shots should be taken at dawn or dusk .... not really practical in the real world!
Continual practise and experimentation seem to be the key.

Julie said...

These are really beautiful!