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Avoiding easy mistakes in flower photographs.

Virginia Bluebells in the early morning light.
Virginia Bluebells in the early morning light.
Photo by Bill McCracken

Taking photographs always produces the image that we wanted but is it the image desired?
The difference between an image that says it all and one that is hard to look at depends on how hard the photographer looked before the shutter was tripped. The Virginia Bluebells picture may at first glance look good but there is a problem.
Look behind the flower and there is a Dutchman Breeches against the log. That is the problem. The Blue Bells with the Dutchman Breeches in the background make the shape of an X. The breeches flower is white and is at an angle opposite the blue bells. Certain colors create heavier weight in a picture than others white, is one of those colors. It creates a distracting combination against the horizontal log. The hot bright spot on the log give the small flowers more interest and draw the viewer right to them. Instead of having a feeling of calm and supporting the blue bells it stops the visual flow.
Gardening an image done carefully and with minimal environmental impact will help. In this case do not remove the Dutchman Breeches but instead change the angle of view so they are not in the image. Moving to the right will crop them out and the hot spot.
In summary avoid hot spots, distracting objects at opposite angles, and plant parts that appear with no connection to the image. Also avoid out of focus objects in the foreground that may look like they are not visible but do create color shifts.
It may be the one of a kind flower and the temptation to pull out others to get the shot is overpowering. This usually damages the flowers and the result is the loss of both species. Exercise the ethics to preserve all the flowers. Creating a view that accomplishes this is worth all the effort.


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