By Scott Shephard
Deb had been reminding me that these orchids, given as a gift to her a year ago and resurrected from near death, were waiting to be photographed. I figure I walked by these beautiful flowers at least 100 times before they finally called out in a voice loud enough for me to hear. And so I spent 30 minutes yesterday looking for the perfect pose. I like this one best.
And for those who are interested my photographic process, read on.
I was thinking low key all the way. "Low key" is photographer talk for a photograph where the subject is the brightest thing in the frame. This photo of grand-nephew Emmett is a good example.
And so here is my first (and only) attempt at a low key photo
My immediate reaction: "No." Frankly, I saw nothing at all special about this photo. And the orchids said, "You can do better." And so I went to high key, where the subject is the darkest thing in the frame. E.g., today's photo.
You might think that I have access to a special, controlled setting for my photos but frankly, I like the "keep it simple" philosophy. And what you see below is my "studio" for the orchid photo.
Yep. Nothing fancy here. Just the subdued light filtering in through patio doors on a very cloudy afternoon.
A Few Technical Details
Tripod? Yes. Lens? My Canon 100mm 2.8L macros lens. Aperture? f19. Why 19? Because my lens was only a few inches away from the flower in this photo and I wanted to make sure I had enough depth of field so that both the purple part of the flower and the yellow leaves were in focus. I could have used an even narrower aperture (f22) but I know that very wide (2.8) and very narrow apertures aren't the strong suit of even expensive lenses like the one I used.
Here Beginneth A Very Short Sermon
The poet Ezra Pound's mantra was, "Make it new!" I learned this in college and I think of it every time I photograph a subject like this yellow orchid. I ask, "Can I photograph this in a way most people don't?" When I'm successful, that's when I feel comfortable calling myself a photographer.
I would also like to point out that good light and good composition are the essence of a good photo and that you don't need an elaborate studio for the former or an art degree for the latter. (I majored in English, Greek and Latin in college).
Here endeth the sermon. Can I get an "Amen!?"
Here's my second favorite photo of the session. I turned the orchids around and photographed their backsides, which most people ignore when the take flower photos. But I think they have very nice backsides. Don't you?
Canon 5DIII 1.5s f/19.0 ISO200 100mm