Our neighborhood is coming alive with Spring. Oaks and Maples are almost fully open, Daffodils are long gone and the Azaleas are in full bloom. Just before dinner, we took a much welcome walk, been spending too much time in my office chair. Took along a camera and made a few stops along the way.
1. Blue Clematis: Top lit with the soft diffuse light of open shade, medium key.Spotted this single Blue Clematis at the base of a mailbox. The street was heavily shaded and protected from a windy afternoon. This is an easy exposure that the camera meter will usually get right. I could get close since my lens has a MFD ( Minimum Focus Distance) of 12″. I used the maximum aperture of f4 to emphasize the center or the “star” in sharper focus from the rest of the “supporting cast”. Shutter speed of 1/200 was plenty fast for still air. That left me with an essentially noise free ISO 800. Had I used my Incident Meter, which I leave set at ISO 100, it would have read an EV (Exposure Value) of 9 or -6 Stops from EV 15 aka Sunny 16 Rule.
Near our front door, Azaleas are blooming. Common in the American South, I never tire of them. Originally from Asia and I felt connected when I saw some walking down a residential street in Japan. My photographs of them still haven’t captured their iridescence and textures so I keep trying.
2. Hybrid Encore Azalea: Back Light, hard direct sun, high contrast, low key.3. Hybrid Encore Azalea: Front light, hard direct sun, high contrast, low key.These were lit with the hard, directional sun of late afternoon which will provide some modelling vs the flat overhead light of mid-day. Open to the wind, I needed a fast shutter speed to prevent blur, even as I waited between gusts. I had no flash to stop movement. I stopped down to f8 for more DoF ( Depth of Field) as I wanted the blossom to be sharp from front to back. It would be the “Star”. Leaving my ISO at 800, I bumped my Shutter Speed up until the Histogram looked good and it was fast enough to freeze the wind motion.
Number 2 is back lit so the sun shines through the translucent blossom, letting us see how it grows. It helps show the iridescence.
Number 3 is front lit (I simply moved around) and is how most will photograph the blossom.
During editing, I got rid of background distractions, especially bright spots that take attention away from the “Star” and branches that lead the eye out of the frame. The goal is to keep impact by not diluting the dominant element and maintaining interest in the entire composition. It can’t be too busy or too sterile. It needs to be like the temperature of Goldilocks porridge, “just right”.
Gear used in this post: Pentax K5IIs camera, Pentax 17-70/4 lens.
Editing Tools used in this post: Adobe CC2015, Nik Collection, Pixel Genius Photokit, Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet, Pantone Huey Pro