Essential Equipment –
Whether you travel far to find your favorite flowers or they happen to grow in your back yard, there are a few pieces of equipment that can help you capture that perfect image.
For a cloudy, calm day I might just need the basics like: a Tripod, Macro lens, and a remote shutter release. But when conditions are less than perfect, the following gear can help you save the day.
If you are trying to avoid harsh, direct sunlight, then a “collapsible round multi disc diffuser” (do a google search ) is what you need to provide some shade for your flowers. These come in a variety of sizes and can also be used to help block the wind.
It’s usually best to avoid windy conditions when taking flower photos unless you are trying to take blurs. But sometimes, I’m just stubborn enough to try and beat the conditions. One successful way I have battled moderate wind and diffused the light is to use a “30” collapsible light tent” ( google it ) with the fabric bottom cut out. Mine is about 30 in. on each edge and can usually be set over the flower with enough room behind it for a natural background. If my camera position is low, I can attach a colored background on the back panel or use the natural white fabric for an out of focus backdrop.
A geared head (Manfrotto Junior 410) has replaced my ball head for most of my still life photos. It is a bit heavier but it allows you to accurately and repeatedly compose your images. No more slight shifts in composition as you lock down a ball head.
For the Pink and White Lady’s Slipper at the top of the article, I used a Really Right Stuff (RRS) focus rail attached to the geared head that helped me to “focus stack” several images. Focus stacking is where you to take multiple images of the flower that are each focused on different areas from front to back. These images are then brought into a program like Photoshop or Zerene Stacker and combined together to create a single, sharply focused image of the entire flower. This can be useful when you have limited depth of field because of your lens/aperture/ISO settings or if you are trying to use a wide open f stop like f2.8 to blur the background and you want to make sure that all the parts of the final image of the flower are in sharp focus.
Buggy Issues –
Most of my wild flower images are taken next to ( or in ) water. Because of this, I am constantly battling biting flies and mosquitoes and have found “The Original Bug Shirt’ by www.bugshirt.com to be a life saver. If folds into a pouch and is always in my camera bag. Add some thin gloves and you are pretty much “bug proof”. I tend to avoid using strong bug spray for a variety of reasons but mostly because it has a tendency to remove the finish of any gear it gets on.
In wet areas, waterproof boots are a necessity and a small tarp can be handy to set your bag on.
With a few bits of gear you will more likely have more fun, take better images and stay out longer.
After the Shoot
Now the fun begins as you post-process the images you’ve taken. Be sure to try different filters and processing software to add a little pizzazz to your images and make them unique. Pixel Bender – Oil Paint was used as a filter on this bee and fringed gentian image.
Check the Archives on Denise Ippolito’s Site
This article was published in Denise Ippolito’s – Creative Photography eMiniMagazine. While the e-Mag is no longer published you can still find the archives for the articles at: Denise Ippolito – A Creative Adventure
This RefineEdge Photography Blog contains more articles I wrote for the eMiniMagazine. Just look in the sidebar for the eMag category.