Every few years there are large fields of sunflowers growing near Long Lake (Sarona, Wi.). This was one of those years. Fortunately we have relatives in the area who alert us when they are at their peak.
On several walks along the trail I’ve managed to capture photos of some of the flowers. The Touch-me-nots are in bloom along the trail and cover the hillsides.
As those of you who follow this blog know I spend most of my time outside doing nature photography. Occasionally during bad weather I will bring flowers or objects into the house to photograph them. I really don’t have a studio I just setup out in my sun porch. As the photo on the right shows it is a fairly simple studio consisting of a picnic table, a box, tag board, a black cloth and a clamp to hold the object. Because the studio is on my sun porch and I don’t have any control of the light I typically only setup the studio on a cloudy or overcast day. Since this is also a dining location during the summer and fall my wife insists that it be taken down at the end of the day so my window of opportunity for photography is rather limited.
All of my photography is done with natural light and I never use a flash. I typically use my Nikon 300s camera, Sigma 150mm macro lens, Manfrotto 055CXPro03 tripod and Markins Q20 ballhead. Sometimes I will use my Kenko Extension Tubes if the item is really small. I have a McClamp that I can clamp to the table and use to hold the object. I use Helicon Focus and Photoshop CS5 to process the images.
Tag board is cheap so I can have a variety of different colored backgrounds. I typically prefer black but I occasionally use white or some other color that works with the subject. In this case I found a Woolly Bear out in the prairie on a Canadian Goldenrod stalk and brought them both into the house. He wasn’t the most cooperative subject but I did manage to get some photos of him against a white background.
Someone gave us some Calla Lily bulbs this spring so I planted them in the garden. They were beautiful when they bloomed but I had a difficult time getting any good photographs of them in the garden. I noticed that someone else had gotten some beautiful shots of them in their studio so I decided to pick one and bring it into my studio. The photos turned out much better than anything I had gotten in the garden.
This past week we had a nice drizzle overnight and into the morning. As I walked around the farm I noticed that everything was covered with water droplets. I thought they would make some great shots but it was drizzling too hard to photograph outside. I decided to pick some clover and foxtail that were covered with droplets but I wasn’t sure I could make it to the house with the water droplets still attached. In fact, I wandered around the prairie with them in my hands for quite a while before making it to the house. Surprisingly the water droplets were still on the plants when I set up in my studio.
I also did some experimenting with creating water droplets on the flowers using a combination of water and glycerin in a spray bottle. It worked but I needed a different spray bottle that produced a finer spray. It is something I’ll try again the next time I decide to setup my studio.
As long as I had my studio setup I decided to make a second trip out to look for some more flowers. I happened to see this fellow on the road so I picked him up and brought him along. Once I had the clover ready to shoot I put him on the clover and let him climb around. When his photo session was done I took him back outside and let him go.