At last, there is a splash of colour on the ground, our long and wet winter (in the UK anyway) is coming to an end. I suspect a lot of damage has been done by the water-logged, cold ground and some plants won't have survived. It's difficult to believe that this time last year a hose-pipe ban was announced and now we seem to have more water than we know what to do with (for now at least).
So I turn to spring flowers - a real joy to look at but what about photographing? Not my favourite - often low to the ground and with plenty of bare earth around which never looks good in a shot.
So how do you get the best shots?
Well, unless they are in pots and you can focus on the flower rather than the form it's all about getting down, and dirty. Yes-photographing prone, lying on your stomach....on the cold damp earth.
I have tried all sorts to make things easier. I bought, at great expense an angle finder for my Canon. This I discovered was more awkward than lying flat-I wouldn't recommend it, in fact if you want to buy one...
I have tried little bean bags to prop up my camera - with moderate success and getting my tripod really low, bad for the knees. For me the best solution is this:
-One camera set on the lowest ISO you can get away with to render a sharp image - which is probably going to be 400 minimum and maybe more if the light is low.
-A macro lens or equivalent I use a long lens to capture details too.
and the magic ingredient...
-One old shower curtain. I have experimented with all sorts of waterproof stuff, ground sheets, exercise mats etc etc. But a cheap flexible shower curtain is easy to drag around and easy to clean. Washing line, hose.
-A lot and I mean a lot of patience, holding your camera very still, I usually prop it up on one hand holding the lens and snap with the other. I usually end up grumbling about snot drops (aka snow drops) as I work. Yes, I know they are beautiful but to photograph?
So there you have it. A professionals trick for photographing flowers that are low to the ground. Not rocket science and definitely not glamorous but it gets the results.
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