24
Aug
09

Still Life – Flowers

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Mostly, I shoot people – for my business and  for fun. But I do enjoy the taking a break and shooting other things, like flowers.

In shooting flowers,  my approach is similar to what I do in portraiture. I’m drawn to bold colors, with simple and clean layouts. What is different is that I find myself shooting in very close, often just focusing on a small part of the flower. 

I’m using the word focus in two senses. The first meaning is focus as in concentrate on or emphasize. But I’m also talking about photographic focus – what part of the image is in focus and sharp. In the image above, although it may be hard to see on the blog, the stamen on the right is really the only thing that is tack sharp. I used a macro (close-up) lens, which gives a very narrow depth of field – that is, a small part of the image will be in focus. Our eyes don’t work this way, we see with a fairly wide depth of field. But if we are in close on a lily and just looking at the stamens, the rest of the flower and certainly the background is out of focus figuratively – in our mind’s eye if you will.

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In this image, we see parts of  two lilies in side view. The stamens in the back are really fuzzy, but we know what they look like, from the ones in front.  Having part of the image in focus and part out of focus can help to create a sense of depth – three dimensonality – in the picture.

I know very little about flowers. I do marvel at the delicacy and beauty of the stamens, and the richness of color against the rest of the muted colors of the lily. 

Here’s one last image, with perhaps the narrowest depth of field of any of the pictures. If you saw this one alone, it might take a minute to figure out what the picture is. I like this somewhat abstract feeling. It lets us just enjoy the shapes and colors, and perhaps also let our imaginations run wild.

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