Pictures Within Pictures

First Flowers of Spring

Spring is flowers, and while everything was still pretty much brown and dead, these flowers were popping up in a local park.  Unfortunately, these blue blooms were really tiny and not much bigger than my thumbnail so I took most of these shots lying on my stomach in the wet grass.  Besides getting cold and damp, my aching back did just that.  Most folks think photography is a nerd activity for introverts but I am here to tell you it is anything but that.  Photography is a physical sport requiring top conditioning and only the fasted acting ibuprofen.  Shooting flowers is not for sissies.

My Equipment

My equipment is always up for the task.  I used my all-Canon rig of a 5D MkII, 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS II lens, and an EF 12 II extension tube.  For shooting flowers, I highly recommend an extension tube as they allow you to focus up way closer than your lens will normally allow.  Get a thin one.  This is a very inexpensive way to do macro photography.   Read more about extension tubes here.  

I also recommend using any zoom, the longer the better as it will help blur the backgrounds way better than a wider angle lens.  Most of these were shot “wide open” at f/2.8 and close up.  This open aperture further blurs the background and is what gave these pictures that dreamy quality.  More information on blurring backgrounds here.  The combination of an extension tube, long zoom, and wide open aperture is just a fantastic combination for killer flower shots.

The Picture in a Picture

Below are some before and after pictures that show what came out of my camera, and what I made them out to be by cropping and doing a little tweaking in LightRoom 4.  Notice that when you crop, you can change the picture into something very different from what you originally shot.  Sometimes cropping can help adjust composition to conform to the Rule of Thirds and therefore look more pleasing.  But sometimes, you can create a completely different photograph by finding a hidden picture within the picture.  Cool.  By the way, shooting in RAW really helps preserve photo quality when you manipulate in software like this, and having more megapixels will allow you to crop in really close.

Pictures within Pictures: