Friday, July 30, 2010

Love That Shot - Blossom Workshop ~ Exercise One

As a photographer you know that it is a never ending journey of knowledge. Technology, lenses, cameras, software...etc. It is always changing and you are always learning new things. I am stepping outside my creative box this week and taking a "Blossom Workshop" at I have always loved looking at photos of flowers but never have I really taken the time to photograph them myself. I wish I had planned this exercise a little better but I was limited on time. After a long day of work yesterday I headed out of my house to get some pictures of some flowers (it was 8:45 at night) and the sun was fading fast. I had only about 15 minutes of shooting time available before I was out of light.

The idea of this workshop is to step out of "AUTO" mode in your camera and to start using your camera to it's fullest potential. You will be amazed at how simple it is once you learn how to do it. I am a hands on person and this workshop is great cause they give you step by step instructions on how to set your camera and include visuals too for those (like me) who need to see something to know what to do. But the great thing about this workshop is that it doesn't just apply to "Flowers" you can take this knowledge with you when photographing your kids or animals.

Here was my first exercise
Practice taking photos with these settings. (These were settings given to you in the workshop... visit them at to find out more!)  Then experiment with your aperture. Try a variety of aperture settings. Take note of what the camera decides to set for the shutter speed and ISO. Observing this is the first step to understanding how shooting in Manual mode works.

Here are my photos taken and I left them SOOC (Straight out of the camera) so you can see my settings. Keep in mind that since these were taken at night my settings may be different then someone shooting in the early morning or later afternoon. Later I will try some different textures that are available for free at

Also the flowers were starting to wilt.... so when photographing flowers try to find some that are in full bloom. Since I was limited on time I had to settle with wilted flowers. I am going to retry this weekend to find some better looking flowers to photograph.

CAMERA- Nikon D90     Lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.8     Photos taken in Aperature Priority Mode
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ISO 400    f/2.8

Notice in this photo my depth of field was off on the front of the blooms (be careful with that when shooting with the 50mm lens. It is an easy thing to do.)
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ISO 400    f/1.8 (Probably should have shot in f2.8 here instead)

This flower was all alone.... It was just crying to be photographed
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ISO 400   f/1.8

And just so you can see how important it is to use your aperature on your camera this is the difference on depth of field
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ISO 400    f/5

Same photo only I changed my aperature 1 stop (notice the background starts to blur (or what photographers call bokeh)
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ISO 400   f/4

Again same photo only I changed the aperature (notice the depth of field is even more shallow)(Also please note I change my ISO up to 640 because by this poing the sun was almost set... under normal situations I would have left it) ISO controls how much light your camera allows in... the highter the ISO the more "noise" your photos will have. I always try to shoot between ISO 100-400 if possible.
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ISO 640 f/2.8

And finally using my 50mm to it's lowest aperature (notice the bokeh in the background)
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ISO 640 f/1.8

I think for this photo the 2.8 is my favorite. With larger flowers the DOF was better at 2.8 range.
Want to learn how to achieve a great bokeh? Visit to learn how. It is a great workshop!

Also this is linked up to in the Photo Fridays!

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