Weekly Photo: sunflowers

Ahh… sunflowers.   The early warning that fall is close.  I love their size and bright yellow colour.  They are welcomed in the garden as most of the other flowers are past their prime or have been hit by that early frost.  They are nature’s last hurrah.

Sunflower, Aug. 2011

I like how the petals on this sunflower do look like the sun’s rays as kids would draw the sun.

sunflower, Aug. 2011

I tried to photograph the whole sunflower, but I was not pleased with any of the results.  Because they are round and big you get a lot of distracting background in the shot.  So I played around with only shooting half or parts of the flower.  I like the affect.  You don’t always have to shoot the whole image.  Sometimes just parts with create a strong image.

cropped and enlarged sunflower, Aug. 2011

Taking the idea I discussed of only shooting half the sunflower I played around and cropped and zoomed in to get only the bottom quarter of the flower.  Again I like the image.

cropped and enlarged sunflower, Aug. 2011

This time I cropped and zoomed in on the upper quarter of the same flower.

enlarged and backlit sunflower, Aug. 2011

Just as the caption says I shot this flower using backlighting to create the glowing petals.

In all the images I used my polarizer to reduce flower glare.  I bracketed all of my shots -1, 0, +1.  Surprisingly I used the -1 image for all of these.  I have found most of the summer that the 0 image is usually the one I pick, but with these bright flowers I preferred the underexposed image.  I handheld all of my shots and it really was obvious on some of the images.  I tried to focus in really close to get an image like the one right above but all of those shots were out of focus.  Probably because of two factors, camera shake and very shallow depth of field.  What I did was use images that I shot further back and then cropped and enlarged them in photoshop.  Very little photoshopping was needed for these images.  I found that I had to do very little contrast adjusting as the histograms were right on.  I tweaked the colour saturation a little to bring up the yellows.  Of course I did a lot of cropping and cloning to get rid of distracting backgrounds.  I think I will put the camera on a tropod and retry shooting these flowers this weekend.  The advantage of sunflowers with a tripod is sunflowers are tall.  I tried using a tripod with lupines this summer and I found they were too low.  I had trouble getting the tripod adjusted and being able to see through the view finder at ground level.

Let me know what you think of these images.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Photo: sunflowers

  1. Beautiful effect Dad with the backlighting. I agree, I love images that get you very close to the subject. The “macro” images reveal details of the flower that would otherwise go completely unnoticed.

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