We are heading into the season of nirvana for nature photographers.
Certain woodland (before tree leaves block the sun) species of
wildflowers are already blooming even in the northlands of where I am
located. Several domestic escapees are also “on the bloom”. From now
until October (longer at latitudes south of my Wisconsin, U.S.
location), those image makers who recognize the “visual poetry” that
exists within and without the boundaries of a flower, will spend
blissful days with flowers of all sorts. Unless of course, the enemy
called the wind attacks.
With the amazing amounts of types of flowers there are in the world,
the countless applications they have in photography, and the numbers
of types of images you can make with them, and the visual stimulation
that can be produced by photographing them, and the number of times I
have clicked the shutter of a camera of this subject, I could have
displayed thousands and thousands of pictures in today’s post. (You
have just read the world’s longest sentence.) I have decided not to be
so cruel as to do that, but there are still a lot of images below.
What to do with flowers???
Whether you show a single blossom in its entirety as with our first
picture below, a single cluster as is the case with the second photo,
or you move in closely to create either an rt or natural history study
of the parts of a flower, as is the case with the Lily and Chicory
flower, there is no subject so cooperative in helping photographers
bring their motives to fruition.
Combinations shots, of flowers and some of God’s “little critters”
make flowers as a subject, even more special.
Whether you are gathering pollen as with the bees you see below,
hunting even smaller creatures as in the next two images after that,
or taking nectar as is the case with the butterflies and Hummingbird,
flowers are visited by insects and other critters constantly, leaving
nature photographers with busy day of both natural history and art
Some flowers are endangered and that provides even more incentive to
make flower pictures.
I tried three times over the years to photograph wild White-fringed
Prairie Orchids. Winds the first time, and ugly light the second (I
could have fixed both with wind blocks and light blocks….come
prepared) thwarted my efforts, but it was only on my final attempt
that I did manage some nice images.
Flowering plants with multiple blossoms provide a different visual
feeling to them than do single blossom plants.
This marsh flower gives off a different mood and one blossom plant might.
Using maximum depth of field with groupings of flowers can work well,
but using less depth of field can help create ethereal, semi abstract
images that show “washes of color”, as is the case with the Lupines
you see below.
Variety and versatility was always my preference in the field.
It is not always necessary to show an actual flower to show a
flower….so to speak.
Below we find two Geranium petals laying on a bed of moss. This image
was made in the middle of a forest on a spring day. The question was
once asked of me, did I set up this scene. No…..not exactly. If memory
serves and occasionally it does not, I photographed what I found and
then turned one petal a little to the side for improvement. I rarely
touched anything I found in nature but I was once a studio
photographer and sometimes willpower failed and I might make a small
Groups of wildflowers make nice photos. They are rarely the most
compelling (just my opinion) wildflower shots but they have a certain
sense of poetic order to them. At least the first image below does.
That first picture was made above 13,000 feet of elevation in the
Colorado Rockies, and the second was made in the New Mexican desert.
I have always loved, and no that word is not too strong, flower images
that contain from one to dozens of blossoms, when they are in the
context of their environment. Even inner forest images can be
simplified into simple, elegant works of art.
The Virginia Bluebells in the first photo, and the wild Germaniums in
the second, were made less than a mile from each other on separate
years. The same principle.
A forest can be a visually complex place, yet the images below reek
Of course, there is always the “flowers in the landscape” scenario,
and it is a good one.
The first selection below is a photo of the high desert of Utah, on a
stormy day, with some desert wildflowers the foreground. Anytime I
made landscapes, I was on the lookout for flowers and other plants, to
insert into the scene for added interest. That rock formation in the
distance is actually fairly close here. I used an 18mm wild angle lens
I order to obtain the view I wanted. The dramatic light from the
storm aids in making this image fairly compelling.
This image is that of a high mountainous summer blue sky, a rock form,
a steep green mountain hillside, some Mountain Sunflowers (I believe),
and above all the combination they present to viewers.
I have never hesitated to photograph cultivated garden flowers when
they presented themselves as an opportunity.
Human planted flowers, an old 19th Century human built (of course)
cabin, with some antique rocking chairs on that cabin’s porch, was
just what I was looking for at the time. I and my partner were
teaching a photography workshop in Wisconsin’s historic and
picturesque Door, County.
All photography is a practiced form of reductionism. Even if we use a
fisheye lens, move it around to see everything we think we see with
our eyes, and then digitally stitch those files together, we do not
capture a balanced view of all that is there. It is that act of
hopefully artfully reducing reality, that I have always loved about
I also made some “whole cabin“ images of that old building with some
more colorful flowers as a visual lead in. That shot is still a major
reduction from reality.
Much of photography is about what to leave in and what to leave out.
The art of such, is what will make you, I, or anybody, unique within
the realm of photography. I always felt, that helping students to
realize that was more important than teaching a 100% command of the Xs
and Os of image making.
There is always an opportunity to learn, and I hope I occasionally
helped others do just that. Of course, I was also learning at the same
To everything there is a season. Enjoy the flower season!!
He Has Risen
To those of you who celebrate Easter, I wish you a fine day. I talk
not of Easter bunnies and colorful eggs.
Today honors the day the Savior took our place. He took upon Himself,
all of the pain, and all of the shame that belonged to us. He suffered
all of God’s wrath so we had an easier way to become forgiven for our
He was visited by a single angel, who merely bowed in front of Christ
to signify acknowledgement of that dept having now been forgiven.
He suffered so we could have a simpler way to Heaven. When we accept
His gift, we have the opportunity to live for eternity in the presence
For those who have been opting for sin over the Power and Grace of
God, today seems like the perfect time to change the path we are on.