I like to joke that I’m part hobbit, because in addition to the often unplanned adventures that I find myself on, I also have a special fondness for things close to home like music, laughter, good food, beer and cheer, and things that grown in my garden. Plus I’m a little short.
Whether it be growing the greens and vegetables that we eat all summer alongside the salmon that we catch, I also love the random, freeform, whispy colors of wildflowers that grow in our yard. Few things at home bring me such visual comfort and pleasure as stepping out the door and seeing a mass of bright orange poppies or watching pollen drunk bees dart in and out of the borage.
Occasionally I delve in and try to capture these colors with my camera. A couple years ago I hauled a couple of speed lights and big softbox into the yard and got some very nice results! Often, I like to shoot them as closeups. My little Fujifilm X20 (which has just been updated to the X30) is perfect for this, because it has an incredible macro mode that focuses up to 1cm away. It’s by far the best built-in macro capability that I’ve ever seen on any camera.
Crouching down in the grass, I try to get as close as possible. However, if I get too close, sometimes I start to see the shadow of the camera on the plant and have to back off a little bit. I’m not using a tripod here, just handholding and doing my best to be sharp. That’s always tricky with macro, though, because focus can go in and out as your body sways the tiniest bit. I’m not too concerned, though I’m mostly just having fun out there. Photography just for the love of photography. Nothing more.
Here are a few of my favorites from this summer. I shot the sunflower and the bottom bee picture last year. Enjoy. I hope they motivate you to step outside and try some new creativity with your own camera.
If you’re interested in flower photography, I recommend checking out his very good book by Harold Davis called Photographing Flowers. I’ve got this book and it’s certainly inspired me to try different approach with this kind of photography.