The joyful beauty of spring is upon us. That means we are treated to the presents of nature, one of them being wildflowers. I don’t care how old you are. You never get tired of seeing the kaleidoscope of colorful petals and inhaling the scent of fresh blossoms. Photographers, naturally, want to capture their beauty. I like to get in close to explore the tiny world inside and let the camera lens document their secrets. Here’s how I got this shot.
This wildflower was one of hundreds on a back road in the Grand Tetons, Wyoming. The light was pouring on the bed of yellow smiles at just the right angle. I stopped my car with my workshop students and we proceeded to photograph the flowers.
First, I put my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens on my 5D. Then a sturdy tripod was set up for a steady shot. Even the slightest hand movement will result in a blurry photo, so I always use my tripod. My camera and lens were only about 2 inches away from the flower. I knew I wanted a soft and emotional look for this image, so I used an aperture of 2.8 for the narrowest depth of field possible. This kept only the stamens in focus, and let the petals pleasingly blur. When working this closely to a subject, manual focus is essential. Auto focus may not pick the same spot in the shot as you would, so you need to take control and focus yourself. A shutter release was used to watch the flower without having to squint through the viewfinder and still be able to fire when the right moment presented itself. My ISO was set to 50 for the clearest shot with no noise. Then it was a matter of patience. I released the shutter between windy breezes. My students and I went home with a sunny smile on our data cards.