To celebrate the Spring Equinox tomorrow (and because I like the word ‘equinox’), today’s post is filled with lovely flowers. A couple of weeks ago, my mum and I drove out to Hodsock Priory near Sheffield which is well-known for having woodlands with carpets of snowdrops in February as the new season arrives. Snowdrops are pretty tough plants, as they are usually the first to flower after the cold winter, pushing their way through the cold soil to poke their little heads out of the ground (did that come out in David Attenborough’s voice for you? It did when I read it back). By the time we arrived, some of the other plants had started flowering too, so there were lots of different coloured petals decorating the grassy gardens.
My advice for photographing short flowers like these is to get down to their level; a bugs-eye-view, as I like to call it. I find that you get much more interesting images this way than if you shoot from eye level, as that’s what everybody else sees; it doesn’t seem special or magical. If you have a DSLR then use a low f number (wide aperture) in order to get that nice shallow depth of field (where focal points are sharp and detailed, surrounded by lovely hazy fuzziness). If you have a compact camera, see if you can find the macro mode, which has similar settings designed for close-up shots.
You can crouch down and look through the viewfinder, or better still, lie on the floor so you’re really close to the ground. However, this isn’t always possible if the ground is wet or if there are a lot of people around and you don’t want to look like a muppet – in these instances, I put the camera down on the floor and hope for the best. This is something that you get better and better at with practise, as you begin to get to know your camera and lens so you’re more aware of what they can see from various positions. I also use this method a lot when I want to make a cinemagraph and I don’t have a tripod (see below), as the camera has to be completely still, which is not possible if I’m holding it myself.
If you look really carefully, it moves 🙂
Another thing I do is use my bag as a camera cushion – it stands about 20cm up off the ground/wall, protects your camera if the surface is wet, and (depending on what you have inside the bag) can be reshaped to hold your camera steady at different angles. This was especially useful in Paris when I wanted photos of the both of us but didn’t have a tripod (and you know when you ask a passer-by to take a photo for you, they look at your camera like it’s a potato).
Hope the tips were useful – feel free to share your flowery photos with me if you like 🙂
Love Marie x