Early Spring V

Purple vs. White Trillium

Purple Trillium, a different species from the white, present different challenges. The purple blooms tend to dip down toward the ground. White flowers face upward toward the sky. My successful photographs of purple (Click me for another Purple Trillium posting) have the camera lower than the plant, say where there is a bank above the trail.

Shot from beneath, White Trillium project a hopeful air. Here is a comparison of the two species in the environmental and individual treatments.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Early Spring IV

exploring Trillium habitat

Trillium as subjects are a continual challenge to find the compelling composition. Click me for another Trillium posting.

This afternoon’s sky was overcast, perfect for photographing wildflowers: clouds thin enough for light to pour through. In the clouds’ shadow there is not enough light for the plant to cast its own distracting shadows. Compare an earlier trillium photograph (click me to go there).

For the following photograph is a study in habitat. At f32, focusing on the trillium, the surroundings are clearly identifiable: several budding Foam Flower heads (Scientific Name: Tiarella), fern, rotting wood, the forest floor hidden by leaf clutter.

I released the shutter (with a 2 second delay) during a break in spring breezes, the overcast lighting bright enough for a speedy 1/8 second exposure. The focus on the opening trillium bloom is just as crisp in this exposure as the next.

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At 4 f-stop, the entire plant is in focus while many habitat elements are a soft blur. An interesting point is the leaf on the left. It is in focus somewhat and is a distraction. This was an issue, in my opinion, for the first photograph.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Another Woody Peony

A handy length of black velvet

By way of personal inventory, our home has two types of woody peonies in different hues. Last posting I gave you red, au natural. Today, you get yellow in a studio setting, back-dropped by black velvet. There is a story behind that long sheet of fabric. Back in the day, a nephew of mine named Chris and I used to hang out together in the Catskills and Adirondacks. Later, I offered to photograph James, his first born. In preparation, I purchased this six foot length of fabric. It served well for that job and, since then, has done double duty as a wintertime cage cover for the parakeet.

This week, I told Pam our yellow wooden peony was in bloom. A largish bush of full leaves that tend to cover the drooping blooms, Pam harvested six blooms to created an arrangement. These “babies” look great against the black velvet.

Yesterday I used the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USB lens and a tripod to capture the following two portraits of Pam’s Yellow Wooden Peony arrangement. In deference to the unanimous reader choice for crisp flower petals the following two versions differ in the crispness of the velvet backdrop.

My timing was fortuitous, last evening the petals started to drop. Pam reports 12 more blossoms are hidden in the bush, so we’ll have at least one more bouquet to enjoy.

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f 5.0 Black Velvet Backdrop
f 7.1 Black Velvet Backdrop
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Woody Peony Series

Effect of f-stop

May 2019 Pam and I visited the New York State historical site of Olana, the former home of Fredrick Church of the Hudson River School of painting. Off the walk was a small planting of flowers, among them a type of “woody” peony in full bloom on Memorial Day weekend, well before the “herbaceous” type that is setting flower buds at that time. These were a striking reddish hue.

On returning home we were pleased to find our own “woody” peonies of the same hue in full bloom as well. On Memorial Day I used the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USB lens and a tripod to capture the following two macros of the flower center with the lens aperture fully open (f 2.8) and at its smallest (f 32).

Question for readers: Which do you prefer, and why?

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f 32
f 2.8
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills