(John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

After the rain

The weather is starting to change. Days and nights are getting cooler, and there has been rain. Finally rain. I sat on my porch with a glass of wine watching the light rain on the plants in my garden that didn’t dry up and wither away during the uncomfortably dry scorching heat that made this summer so long.

The rain blew away just after noon and within an hour there was sun peaking under the clouds. I got my camera, put a 70-180 macro lens on it and went out to see what I could photograph.

The breeze dried things out, but I expected the light to go in short order and there was surely more rain on the way. When I do flower and plant photography I usually get out light stands and set up a flash. But if the weather changed I wanted to get a few photos before it did.

I chose an ISO of 800 and used a fast shutterspeed of 1/800th of a second.

The light was good, but there was still a slight breeze every now and then and for most of my shots I kept my lens at 180mm. The fast shutterspeed was insurance against camera shake and subject movement.

I kept adjusting my aperture for more or less light, depending on how I exposed my subject and how much depth-of-field I wanted. I know many plant photographers prefer to keep their cameras on aperture priority and choose a wide aperture.

The camera does a good job of choosing the best shutter speed for the lighting conditions and if one is careful to use a tripod when the shutter gets too slow for a sharp shot the final images will usually be good.

That said, when I want to be more creative and need more background depth for additional plant details, or think the light can be more interesting with a brighter (or darker) exposure, I choose Manual mode.

I am not one of those photographers that will say Manual mode is the only way, but Manual does leave the control up to the photographer.

With the changing light, occasional breeze and spotty rain, using the Manual mode was the best way to get the kind of photos I wanted.

Sure it’s a lot more work than using one of the more automated modes. Nevertheless, that kind of control gives me different moods and sometimes an unusual perspective.

Wandering the garden with a camera helps me to see the small intimate changes that happen in every season. My wife was an inspiring and dedicated gardener. I always got the sense that she actually could feel her garden change. And she always saw lots more than I do.

I need the camera and the hunt to make the garden more than just plants that surround my log home and hide me from the road.

Anytime is a good time to wander with a camera and the garden is there just waiting to be photographed.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net.

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