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Faithful colors in small wildflowers.

Sessile trillium blooming at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on the Cobshell trail.
Sessile trillium blooming at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on the Cobshell trail.
Photo by Bill McCracken

This unusual wildflower that blooms in the spring is the Sessile Trillium. The Sessile Trillium shape with its three leaves and bloom in the center is unique from most other flowers of spring. The contrasting shades of green on the leaves make this attractive. They only bloom for a short period of time and the next two weeks are the peak time to see them. When photographing this flower the goal is to capture the tones of green so they are correct and sharp.
A good composition tip here is to look carefully at the background so none of the leaves turn into bright hot spots. Do some gardening; remove the twigs or debris that shine so the background is not busy. Remove debris that creates angles of confusion to distract the viewer in the image. Make sure that the white balance is set for the lighting you are working in.
The exposure goal here is to isolate the flowers leaves so they will pop off of the picture. First there are two ways to accomplish the end result. One method is to spot meter a gray card in the same light as the flower to reproduce the middle tones correctly. The best result is if the camera is in manual exposure program. This will bring out the variations of light and dark on the leaf. Second is to rely on the cameras metering system. Choose the matrix or pattern metering. Set the camera on Auto metering mode. Next in the viewfinder move the image around so most of the squares are on the flower. Done correctly the color variations will be properly saturated and exposed. The background will not compete with the flower. And the time spent in the computer will be kept to a minimum.
Image sharpness is a major concern and the wind affects this just as camera shake can. Early in the morning is the best time of day for light and reduced wind. Use a tripod to eliminate camera shake along with either a cable release or the self-timer. The most important element is patience waiting for just the right moment.
In summary select the flower, clean up the background, set the white balance, determine the metering method, and take the picture. This image was shot with the following settings; shutter speed 1/80 sec, aperture f/9.0, exposure program manual, metering mode pattern, white balance fine weather, and the lens was a 70-300mm set at 300mm.