Just Fooling

March 30, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

DAYDREAM BELIEVERDAYDREAM BELIEVER'Spring Snow' crabapple blooms

Idaho Falls, Idaho
Spring is here; the landscape is waking up from its winter slumber. Flowering trees and shrubs put on a show that, for my money, rivals the annual autumnal extravaganza. Gardens come to life with pops of color. It's the season of renewal. 

I've got a thing for ornamentals in full bloom; pictured above is one of my crab trees in all its glory. Except that's not exactly what I'm seeing when looking out the window. I see snow, with more on the way.

Apparently the memo announcing Spring's arrival hasn't been widely circulated. April Fool! 

Winter is quite comfortable and in no hurry to leave Teton Country, thank you. Measurable snowfall is expected in the mountains every day through next Wednesday. Lower elevations will pick up more of the white stuff, too. Both Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole ski resorts remain open with all lifts and trails at 100%. 

Still, it's beginning to feel like spring is at least making a halfhearted attempt to show up. In Eastern Idaho, the mercury is forecast to break out of the 30s at least once in the next week. (Barely. But 41 is progress.) The sun is higher in the sky. The days are longer. I've seen a few robins. I hear the occasional bird singing. In Grand Teton National Park, the first grizzly emerging from hibernation was spotted last week. Spring is on the way. It's going to be late, but the ship does appear to have sailed.

For those who enjoy photographing springtime blooms, a much-delayed start to the proceedings can be maddening. Fortunately, it's possible to push the season. Find yourself some flowers and bring them inside!

In colder climates, nurseries likely won't have much in their greenhouses yet, but with Easter right around the corner, I guarantee you'll be able to purchase lilies and probably some tulips and hyacinths, too. Don't forget the grocery store: often you can find fresh flowers there all year long.

When choosing flowers, inspect them carefully: imperfections will be magnified. Make sure they're pristine. If you're new to this you may want to start with something like Gerbera daisies. Their flat shape means you won't have to deal with focus stacking. 

As far as your "studio" is concerned, very little is required.

Any table will do, as long as it can be positioned near your light source. Depending on what effect you're trying to achieve, you might want to place a large sheet of white foam core on the surface, or for reflective properties, try a sheet of glass.

You don't need a lighting kit; window light is sufficient (avoid direct sunlight). To soften the light, use a diffuser, or affix a large piece of tracing paper or other similar translucent material on the window.   

To set up a white backdrop, foam core is a good choice; it's inexpensive and has a nice matte finish. Velvet works well if you prefer black since there will be absolutely no reflection. You can also arrange the plants in such a way that a backdrop is unnecessary. I photographed the dahlia below inside the house before planting it in my garden, using a few other dahlias to create a wash of color in the background.

Plant clamps are great tools to hold flowers in specific positions. One end attaches to your tripod and the other to the plant's stem, keeping it motionless. You don't need a plant clamp for indoor flower photography, but it can make life easier.

That's it! You're all set. 

Try different lenses. Different depths of field. Different perspectives. Different plants. Different arrangements. Experiment with abstract compositions. 

You might find yourself going back again - and again - for more flowers. As far as self-assignments are concerned, this one can be kind of addicting. 

No fooling!

IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALLIN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALLGarden dahlia (Dahlia pinnata)

Newfields, New Hampshire


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