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Early spring wildflower photography

Hepatica is one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom in the metro parks.
Hepatica is one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom in the metro parks.
Photo by Bill McCracken

Spring wildflowers are blooming.

The first day of spring brings with it the gift of small flowers and warmer weather. Get down on your knees to view these beautiful flowers along our park trails and woods. This is the Hepatica (Americana). They can be found in rich wooded parks and woodlots through out central Ohio. The same flowers can be blue, white, and pink. Look for it on slopes that get the full warm afternoon sun. This image shows the flower and the lobed leaf that may be under other leaves or not present at all.
Photographing all of the early spring wildflowers requires some special equipment. First you should use a telephoto lens that close focuses from sixty inches to eighteen inches. Your camera should have the macro mode. This is the small flower icon on the program mode control dial or menu. If at all possible use a sturdy tripod because the shutter speed may be fairly slow. Very early in the mournig is the best time to have little or no wind to shake the flowers.
Focusing is the key to successful pictures. Sharp pictures are the result of taking your time and making sure the flower closest to you is in focus. If your camera has a selective focus area system, put the hot square on the flower. Compose the picture so the flower is not always in the bull’s eye. Include enough information in the picture so you can identify the plant later if you do not know what it is. The background is always the most difficult to control but not impossible. The best way to get it to blur out is make sure the distance from the lens to the subject is the same distance or greater to the background.
Composing could include the leaf or another flower in bud or full bloom. Pictures with the full bloom in the center are not bad but it should fill the picture. Allow enough space around the flower image for cropping later.
The lens used for this picture was a 70-300mm set at 240mm, shutter speed is 1/100 sec, aperture is f/80, and white balance is sunny day. The metering was set to pattern in manual mode with no flash.



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