In The Desert
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Photographing Flowers 2
DOF, Depth of Field
Return to PAGE 1 of Photographing Flowers.
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Taken with a telephoto lens at f 8, 100mm as close as the lens would focus. The background is blurred making the flower stand out. This is the advantage you have with a telephoto on a D-SLR. A nice way to show a flower using a shallow DOF.
A point and shoot camera at f 4, 16mm. This is easily accomplished by using the macro mode on the camera. It's the one setting on a point & shoot camera that naturally has a narrow depth of field. Use it to your advantage in a case like this. You can see that objects in the foreground and background are losing focus, and farther back they are completely out of focus drawing your attention to the Indian Paint Brush. Don't hesitate to use the macro mode on your point & shoot camera.
Taken at f 5.6, with a wide angle zoom lens, the only part of this image that is clear and in focus is the center of the purple flowers (Scorpion Weed). This was done with a D-SLR camera and would be very hard to duplicate with a point and shoot, See below.
Taken with the same camera and lens but set to f 22. The mountains in the background are much more defined and detailed, and the flowers are all in focus. But the problem here is this - at
f 22 the camera is stuggling because of lens defraction which takes away from the sharpness and detail in the image. Here is an instance where a point and shoot camera really shines. It has a much larger DOF no matter what f stop it's set to, so you could take this photo and have everything in focus, and sharp.
Here we're going to concentrate on focusing with different types of cameras and how to accomplish the desired result with each type.
Point & Shoot and interchangeable
lens camera (D-SLR's)
Octotillo's are very photogenic when they have leaves and are in full bloom. They usually leaf out and bloom within two weeks of a rain, so you may catch them earlier than the other flowers in the desert. Here the background adds to the composition and makes a nice shot. Taken with a D-SLR at f8, 17mm and back far enough to get a good focus on everything in the scene including the Ocotillo.
A close-up of the blooms on an Ocotillo are always very pretty. Here we used a large aperture to help blur the background and make the flowers stand out.
This is the same photo as the one above. We used a mask and took the flowers and a short piece of branch supporting them and put it onto a different background. This really makes the photo pop. It also enhances the red color in the flowers. More on this type of imaging work can be found HERE . In fact if you go to this linked page you'll notice we used the same sky in one of the photos there but discarded it for another. Here this worked great.
Tricks of the Trade
This is an easy trick to accomplish with the help of a piece 1/4 inch black foam board. It can be purchased at a Walmarts. It's very inexpensive. I got this tip years ago from a photographer. You can see where I pointed out the thumb holding the piece of foam board. Now this has to be turned so the direct sunlight is not hitting the board so it remains black, but so that the sun is hitting the flower. See the video below.
This is milkweed with a bee taking advantage of the pollen. Don't hesitate to catch insects or bees on the flowers your photographing. It always adds a nice touch to the flower pictures and makes them look more natural.
When the desert is blooming make sure you have your camera with you. You can get some outstanding photos, just think about some of the things mentioned here to help you capture that great shot your looking for. Have fun --------
Don't forget to visit the Plants Page on the site for indentification of flowers and cactus blooms. You'll be amazed at all the different varieties available to us in the desert.