Now that spring is finally here we are entering (hopefully!) wildflower season. Not only is this a beautiful time of year but it also lends itself to a host of wonderful photographic opportunities. Landscapes can be transformed into a colourful patchwork and it’s often worth going back to a place at this time of year to see how different it looks.
In this video, Leigh “Snap Chick” takes us through a few of her tips for getting the most out of the outdoors at this time of year.
One of Leigh’s main points is that when we are planning to shoot any kind of scene, we often have an idea in our mind beforehand of what photos we want to take, and how they will look. This is actually an excellent thing to do, and previsualization is an important step in improving your photography.
However, as Leigh says, it can limit us in the variety of photographs we end up taking, giving us a sort of ‘tunnel vision’. A really good exercise to combat this would be to come up with 10 different ideas on the same theme, in this case photographing wildflowers.
So for example, you could take a pulled back sweeping landscape shot of the whole vista right through to an incredibly detailed macro shot of the stamen of a single flower, and everything in-between.
Vary your lenses, change your aperture, have fun experimenting with different shutter speeds and you can even bring along some plain backgrounds to place behind the flowers for added variety.
Using a macro lens can be a great way to photograph subjects such as plants and insects in extreme close up, however, if you don’t have one, don’t let it stop you. You can use extension tubes, try a DIY project, or simply use the gear you already have in your bag. I often like to limit myself intentionally to just one or two prime lenses when I go out to photograph places for fun, just to challenge myself more and see what I can get with limited gear. The advantage is that it pushes you to think more creatively, and you’re also not continuously changing lenses. Plus it’s less to carry, and leaves more room for the important things like snacks!
One of my favourite images I shot last year was an almost bug’s eye view of some poppies I found growing along the side of the road. I used my Canon R‘s flip screen so that I didn’t have to risk lying in dog poop. Is it the world’s best photograph of a poppy? Perhaps not, but it’s certainly a different point of view and not a shot that you see every day.
One other important point: please don’t pick wildflowers and try not to trample them. It’s better for insects and we should always try to leave the natural world as we find it for others to enjoy.
I can’t wait to get outdoors and find some more wildflowers to photograph this year, who’s joining me?