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Pictures from the Yard

A recent tip on flower photography [1] brought to mind my own experience taking pictures of the flowers in our yard. However, since these pictures were taken without the benefit of any photographic skill or knowledge, this article contains no information on composition, focal length, shutter speed, or any other artistic or technical detail. I just point, shoot, and hope for the best. If the technical expertise that you’re accustomed to seeing here is what you’re seeking, you may want to visit our digital photo archives [2].

All of these pictures were taken with relatively inexpensive point and shoot cameras. I don’t remember the make or model of the first camera, but the one currently in use is a Canon PowerShot SD750. Since almost all of these photos are detail shots, it was exciting to get a camera with a macro lens. However, since I didn’t know what a macro lens was, that discovery was purely accidental.

Following failed attempts at portraits, landscapes, and various other types of photography, I finally settled on flowers. My wife’s green thumb plays a significant role in the outcome, as we always have beautiful flowers to photograph. The inherent beauty of flowers, and the fact that they don’t fidget or become self-conscious subjects, also helps.

The best photos are generally those taken shortly after sunrise, due in part to the gentle caress of the morning dew.

Early morning shots and ones taken just before sunset also offer light and shadow effects not available any other time of day. Of course, these effects can be manufactured, but the proximity of the subjects makes it possible to wait for nature to provide the proper lighting.

In some cases, the flowers are too small to be observed without the close scrutiny achieved by crawling around in the flower beds. However, the macro lens made it possible to capture the tiny blossoms below.

Occasionally, a visitor unknowingly sits for a portrait.

One of the key advantages to digital photography is the opportunity to take a nearly unlimited number of photos. Keep what you want and delete the rest. In my case, for each one kept, dozens, (at least) were discarded. So, the best of these is more the result of persistence and luck of the draw, than of photographic skill.

With no training in photography, I have no idea what qualifies as a good photo to a discriminating audience. I only know what looks good to me. What I have discovered however, is that subjects for photographs are all around us. Images captured here were always there in our yard, just a few steps from the front door. I’d just never noticed.