Waterlilies and Creative “Flare” by F.

Waterlilies and Creative “Flare” by F.M. Kearney

Photographing waterlilies has its pros and cons. Unlike other flowers that are often surrounded by unsightly twigs, weeds and/or soil, waterlilies grow in the middle of lakes and ponds amidst decorative lily pads. With fewer distractions around them, it’s much easier to compose a “clean” shot. The downside is that they grow in the middle of lakes and ponds. Unless you’re willing and able to wade out to them for a close up, you will almost certainly need to use a zoom lens. Although all of the waterlilies I’ve ever shot were in the reflecting pools of botanical gardens, I still needed to use a long lens to obtain a tight composition.

The dark water that usually surrounds waterlilies provides opportunities for creative possibilities. It can be filled with the reflections of the flowers themselves, or with special effects. I used Cokin diffractor filters to create the multi-colored flares in these images I shot in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A diffractor filter works by producing colorful design patterns around bright light sources. Different variations of these filters produce different design patterns. Although there are no visible light sources in these photos, I composed them with the reflection of the sun on the water just outside the frame. These filters are very sensitive and were able to react merely off of the brilliance of the sun alone. I rotated the filters to place the designs in the exact spots I wanted them.

Diffractor filters may not be for everybody. In fact, they mimic an effect many photographers try to eliminate – sun flare. You certainly wouldn’t want to use them if your goal is to capture an accurate documentation of something. I rarely use them myself because I’ve always considered their effects to be somewhat hokey. However, if the light source is completely omitted from the shot, as in these two particular images, they can be used much more creatively since the cause of their effects is not immediately evident. If you’re in the mood for something different, diffractor filters are a fun way to add an artistic “flare” to your photos.

Article Submitted By:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit http://www.starlitecollection.com.
http://ow.ly/nPydQ http://ow.ly/i/2QPTy http://ow.ly/i/2QPTz

My Fisheye Lens: I wouldn’t exactly con

My Fisheye Lens:
I wouldn’t exactly consider my fisheye lens my everyday “go-to” lens. Its extremely wide and barrel-distorted view makes it unsuitable for the vast majority of the images I shoot. Every once in a while, however, I’ll come across a weird subject that requires a weird perspective. Such was the case last Spring at the New York Botanical Garden. The tulip display in the Home Gardening Center is built in a circular design, making it an ideal candidate for this type of lens. I set up my tripod in the rear of the garden with barely enough room to spare. Had I lowered the angle just a few inches, the legs would have become visible in the shot. I felt the resulting image adequately conveyed and accentuated the unusual shape of this garden.

F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit http://www.starlitecollection.com.
http://ow.ly/jBC7n http://ow.ly/i/1NeuO

Creative Flower Photography (Tip #2: Let

Creative Flower Photography (Tip #2: Let the Sun Shine In)

Conventional wisdom tells us to always keep the sun at our backs when taking a picture. This is a pretty good rule to follow for most subjects – especially if you don’t want details lost under a heavy silhouette. However, always following conventional wisdom will usually result in conventional-looking photographs. If your subject is fairly close and you use proper lighting, it really doesn’t matter where the sun is. In fact, I often deliberately include the sun in many of my flower shots.

The photo above is a cluster of daffodils I shot with the sun center stage. In order to bring out the details in the flowers and the grass, I placed two flashes on tripods on either side of the composition. A single flash will also work if a two-flash setup is too much of an ambitious undertaking. Since a single flash tends to create harsh shadows, a reflector can be used in conjunction with the flash to help balance out the light.
These simple lighting techniques will free you from always having to take the same old tired-looking photos. So, don’t be afraid to let the sun shine in.

Article Submitted By:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit http://www.starlitecollection.com.

http://ow.ly/jrRdA http://ow.ly/i/1Lykm

The Awakening The first day of Spring is

The Awakening

The first day of Spring is finally here and the abundance of blooming flowers will soon present an array of interesting photo opportunities. Tulips are one of the first flowers to make an appearance, and are usually photographed in large, backlit colorful clusters. As beautiful as they may be, these types of shots can sometimes become a little monotonous if done too often.
I decided to try something different while strolling through the Central Park Conservatory in New York one day. Using a fisheye lens, I placed the camera flat on the ground in the middle of a bed of tulips. Composition was a bit tricky (to say the least), but I found that I could get a pretty good idea of what the camera was seeing by looking at the reflection on the lens. I pre-focused by using a tape measure to determine the height of the tulips. An aperture setting of f/22 insured that almost everything from the ground up would be razor sharp. I then set the self-timer and stepped back out of the way. “The Awakening” is one of several photos I took that day. I’d like to say that the sunburst in the lower left was carefully planned and calculated, but I can’t…it was pure luck!
So, think a little outside the box the next time you’re in the middle of a field of flowers. Instead of shooting everything from your eye level, get down low and check out what the ants see from their perspective views.

Article Contributed by:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit http://www.starlitecollection.com.
http://ow.ly/i/1IDHK . http://ow.ly/jejgY

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS… by F.M. Kear

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS… by F.M. Kearney

My Early Morning Pass got me into the botanical garden hours before it officially opened to the public. The daylily garden, running adjacent to a narrow pathway, was at its peak. With no swarming throngs of curious onlookers to deal with, I practically had the whole place to myself. The winds were light and the skies were clear. I was prepared for a fruitful morning of uninterrupted flower photography at the New York Botanical Garden.

Everything was going perfectly, until a groundskeeper warned me that he was about to turn on the sprinklers.

Say what now!?

Within seconds, my tranquil “studio” was transformed into a virtual water-theme park. Huge plumes of water shot high in the air, all over the place. I quickly gathered my gear and retreated to a safe distance, then glumly watched all my plans for the morning literally get washed away. The sprinklers were placed several feet apart, leaving a few dry areas along the pathway. They were the portable, oscillating type – producing neat arcs of gently rotating columns of water. As I watched the water fall on the flowers, I started to notice a distinct pattern. If the water rotated too far in one direction, the flowers looked like they were in a torrential downpour. If it went too far in the other direction it missed the flowers entirely. But, for just a few seconds during the cycle, the water appeared as lightly falling rain. With a renewed sense of excitement and urgency, I grabbed my tripod and carefully stepped into one of the dry spots – setting up just inches outside of the water’s maximum reach. I zoomed into a cluster of blooms situated in front of a shadowed hedge. This provided the perfect backdrop to offset the backlit water and flowers.
At this point, all that was left to do was to simply wait for the precise moment in the cycle when the water was just right.

I was amazed at the myriad of creative compositions available in this new and unique environment. It was like photographing flowers again…for the first time. I was actually disappointed when the sprinklers were finally turned off. All that was fresh and new was now, once again, common and ordinary. I reluctantly shifted gears and returned to shooting the pictures I had originally intended. Quite frankly, it was somewhat of a letdown.

When unexpected things happen, it’s important to have enough flexibility to keep the creative juices flowing. Even more important, you need to be able to recognize them as potential opportunities, rather than annoying obstacles. After all, a lemon doesn’t always have to be sour.

F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit http://www.starlitecollection.com.

http://ow.ly/i0aP9 http://ow.ly/i/1zMNC http://ow.ly/i/1zMNT http://ow.ly/i/1zMWW