Rick Hobbs Photography

Wildlife/Nature/Outdoor Photography

Photo Tips

Photographing Fields of Wildflowers

I recently returned from a photo adventure to photograph fields of wildflowers and mountain scenes in Crested Butte and Ouray, Colorado. We were not doing macro photography on isolated flowers but instead the focus was on trying to capture the entire scene.

Near Crested Butte, Colorado

The first thing you have to do is submerse yourself in the place of most potential. So I did my research to find out the best general areas to visit and the best time to usually be there.

Once on location you can drive around to find great scenes and potential subjects. If the light is right, it is not to windy, and everything looks good - go for it. If the light is wrong, or it is simply to windy, but everything else looks good - consider it a scouting opportunity and come back when the conditions are right for the best results.

Near Crested Butte, Colorado

When the scene includes the mountains, like above, I prefer my entire scene to be "in the light". However, if I'm just shooting the flowers, like below, I prefer the entire scene to be "in the shade".

Because of the shade you do not have to worry about hot spots and shadows caused by the direct sunlight, however, you will likely have a blue cast to everything so I use an 81A warming filter to help with this and if it is not enough you can always help correct the color in Photoshop.

Near Ouray, Colorado

Good technique and applying the right tools for the situation are also important. Good technique begins with a sturdy tripod so you can capture more depth of field by using a slower shutter speed and still get a sharp image. Since you will be using a slow shutter speed you will also need the patience to let the wind stop before firing.

Near Crested Butte, Colorado

I set the camera to aperature priority and dial in f/22 for good depth of field and the camera gives me a slow shutter speed but that is OK because I'm on a tripod. Then I put a focusing box on a flower in the foreground usually the closest one to me then I recompose the shot and create the image. The lens of choice was the 28-70mm on all these images.

Near Crested Buttte, Colorado

If there are no interesting clouds in the sky, like above, I will usually just include the mountain tops but very little blank, boring sky. However, if there are interesting clouds in the sky, like below, then by all means include them to add additional impact to the overall photo.

Near Crested Buttte, Colorado

The two main filters I used in the sun are the 81A and a polarizing filter. I stacked them together, the 81A goes on first, then the polarizing filter so I can easily adjust it as needed, then the lens hood goes on to block any unwanted light from hitting the lens. This combination works great with cloudy bright light as well like in the image below.

Near Crested Buttte, Colorado

I only used the 81A when shooting in the shade like below.

Near Ouray, Colorado

The last tip on this subject is to move around to find the best angle or to illiminate things you do not want in the image. For example in the image below there was a gravel road with cars on it in front of the trees on the left side of the photo. By simply moving back a little and getting lower to the ground on this small bank - the road disappeared.

Near Crested Buttte, Colorado

 


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