A group of photographers went out to Government House today to take some spring flower pictures. The day was close to perfect. The light was very directional, but not too harsh. There was a sporadic wind, but it behaved itself, for the most part. The only “problem” was that most of the flowers have not come up yet, however there were many other subjects to keep the eye occupied.
Since the meeting was closer to mid-day, I concentrated on contrasting light. I think backlight can be very rewarding, especially if you can keep a dark background. The image above also proves the point that sometimes less is more. I chose an angle lens and camera position that just showed what was needed, and excluded any distractions.
I also worked carefully on this image to avoid distractions, but the unwanted bits were quite a bit more subtle. There is a lot going on in the image but there were reflections and highlights that pulled the eye away from the center where I wanted to focus. In fact I had to break off some grasses that formed out of focus highlights where I did not want them.
Both of these images did not just happen. I made some very conscious decisions even after I saw the subject matter I wanted to shoot. Both of these images required a very specific camera angle and zoom to exclude superfluous influences from the surroundings. Both these images were much easier to take with a tripod, not to freeze camera motion, but to allow more precise studying of the frame. I would move the camera a little bit, scan the image through the viewfinder, looking for unnecessary elements like branches or highlights, then I would move the camera a little bit more and look again. In the case of the grasses on the bottom photo, I even removed a few pieces of closer grass that, while completely out of focus, created some distracting lines.
These two images look completely different, but they both required a strong pre-visualized image to complete them.