In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Presert - Don & Linda Gilmore
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Glandular Cape Marigold
Usually a bloom takes place at the end of March into April, but it depends on the amount of rainfall in the desert during the winter months. If it's going to be a good year, then here's a few things that could help you to take better photographs. There's a little more to this than meets the eye, and it depends on the camera your using, and more importantly how you use it. Here's some pointers to get you started.
Composition is important in all types of photography, and this is no exception. More on this can be found HERE This photo to the right was taken on the spur of the moment because of the beauty of the cactus flowers. A really healthy Buckhorn cactus with a lot of nice bright red blooms. But it's centerd in the photo and just doesn't look the way we wanted it to appear. Here's what you can do to improve that.
Now it would have been nice to be able to go back re-shoot this cactus, but that was not possible. In your imaging program it's a simple process to crop the photo and turn it into something more apealing. A nice view of the background and yet you still know that there was a fantastic cactus in bloom right in the foreground. Composed this way it gives the photo more depth and a better look at the blooms.
Nothing will ruin a photo faster than some object in the picture that draws your attention away from your main object -- the cactus flowers! Having a vehicle in the photo, even partially, takes your eye back to the vehicle, not to the cactus, which is supposed be to the center of interest. You want to portray the beauty of the flowers here. The rest of the background is not that nice either. So here's one way to improve on it.
Try to get a little closer. It not only shows off the flowers that have bloomed, but it also shows the cactus spines. A lot of this is taste, it's all part of the artistry of taking photographs. If you want the whole plant then photograph that but leave the vehicle out of it. It'll make the cactus look so much better and it'll make the cactus flowers the center of attention..
Sometimes the rule of thirds works and at times it just doesn't work. Showcasing a flower specimen and putting it in the center is perfectly acceptable. Later we'll look at several ways to isolate your flower specimen to make it stand out. This is a really healthy Claretcup Cactus photographed in the middle of a lava flow in an area called Parashant near the Grand Canyon.
Sometimes centering an object is a good thing. Like this small Fishhook cactus.
This is one way to show a size relationship. The Fishhook cactus above is only 1 1/2 inches in diameter but you'd have no way of knowing this. A person's hand or some other object that doesn't take away for the photo sometimes works great for this purpose. We did this one for indentification of the flower. Still unknown, but you can tell how small they were and what they looked like.
PAGE 2 Depth of field, isolation - a neat trick.
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When photographing flowers, don't hesitate to use a telephoto lens at it's closest focusing distance. For example, a 300mm we use will focus as close as 5 ft. and in doing this it gives a nice shallow depth of field isolating it from the background.