June 16, 2006

Flowers in Halifax

Digital original

Flowers have become something of a side-passion for me. Not to the point that I am actually interested in acquiring a green thumb and planting them but more as an academic exercise in composition and technique. The more I work with flowers, the more engrossed I become with the difficulty of making images of them that aren't just "pretty photographs".
Digital original
On this particular day, I had an afternoon free before I started teaching, so I went to the Halifax Public Gardens and sat down with my camera, a tripod and a macro lens to see what could be created.
The biggest issue of the day was the sunlight - the afternoon was bright and sunny, so I found myself either working in the shade or using my diffuser to shade the plants. I could have worked in the sunlight but I have such a strong aversion to the strong contrast that this gives. I prefer the richness of detail possible on a cloudy, overcast day.
Digital infrared original

Probably the most interesting element of working with the flowers is how much higher the bar is for perfection; with models, I often have to accept small technical flaws in favour of the perfect expression or pose but, with flowers, I can keep photographing until everything is as perfect as possible. For each composition I made in the gardens, I suspect I recorded more than a dozen separate exposures; in the end, after the couple of hours I worked in the gardens, I kept slightly more than twenty images of the three hundred or more I made. Shooting digitally, I had the freedom to experiment without worrying about material costs.

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