So, confession, I have this obsession with taking photographs of flowers. When I think about it, I guess this is where my photography journey began, even before having children. I love a photograph that evokes place, senses, emotion, so maybe it’s from growing up in a place with long, cold winters?
But this is the thing I think is good about these weird obsessions, they make you learn new things. Things that aren’t constantly moving are great subjects when you are learning how to use your camera, or to practice a new technique. Trying to get that close up of water on a rose petal really forced me to understand aperture and what f-stops do to change your photos. For that lovely blurry background, lower those f-stops. You can catch the sparking light on a water drop while the petals are all a mass of blurred color and texture. But this might not be the effect you want, maybe you want the whole bloom, so raise the f-stop and see more come into focus.
As summer seems to be on its way out here, I practiced low f-stop manual focus on a lingering bloom today. I almost never shoot with a manual focus, mostly because my kids are to wiggly to keep them in focus, but its a good skill to have when you are photographing something where you can take your time, get all artsy.
The camera settings for this photo are: ISO 500, f 2.8, 1/120 sec.
You can see that at a low f-stop, the focus area is very tight. The middle of the main bloom is in focus, while even though the fallen petals are not more than an inch or so away, they become a bit blurry. When you understand f-stops you really have much more creative control over your images, and that’s awesome.
If you are still learning about your camera, maybe try a f-stop project, take a few photos, maybe try black and white in the camera to help you see obvious differences. And, please, as always, feel free to share or ask questions.