(John Enman Photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Time to photograph spring colours

I can hear my neighbours mowing their property. Its spring, and with the cool sunny weather and light spring rains everything is growing colourful and fast.

Every year I am sure they look at the almost knee high grass that fills the bushed in area between my house and the lilac covered fence that hides me from the road and shake their heads. I’m sure they think this is my lazy behaviour.

Yes, I am good at being lazy. However, the real reason I don’t clip the growing grass is the flowers. This time of year there are colourful flowers everywhere. In my yard there is no plan, no cultivated areas with no well-kept borders. There is just a wild canvas of colour. Most flowers have planted themselves and last year my friend Jo McAvany added to the colours by scattering mixed seeds.

I’ll mow when the blooms are over and the summer heat turns the grass yellow, but for now the poppies are getting close to blooming. Maybe after next week there will be hundreds of tall bright orange flowers added to the reds, whites, pinks, yellows and blue flowers and multi-coloured bushes that are showing now.

There is a cornucopia (that’s a good word to use) of colour that will happen until about the end of June depending on the rain and the summer heat. It doesn’t all happen at once. Some colours are early and some colours are late.

For me, it is time to photograph another season in my garden.

This past week I have been walking around the garden looking and deciding what I want to photograph. It has been wet and not too hot so everything is at it’s best for me.

Yesterday, around 2 p.m. I put a 200mm macro (manual) lens on my camera and I got my tripod and walked out. The light was excellent, not too bright and not to dull. There were some moving shadows from the high clouds and sometimes there was an ever so slight breeze.

I usually bring one or two flashes on stands, but the light was so wonderful that I didn’t want to change it with a flash. I kept my camera on Manual mode and moved the shutter speed faster or slower depending on the light and what aperture I wanted to use.

Sometimes my subjects demanded a short depth of field, and sometimes I wanted to see more behind. That meant constantly changing the aperture.

I used ISO 400 most of the time and only increased it when my subject was in low light or the breeze picked up. Using the higher ISO meant I could increase my shutterspeed when a plant moved. The tripod kept the camera still and in position while I adjusted my camera’s meter.

I chose the old manual focus macro lens instead of my AF macro so I could focus on a flower and slowly increase or decrease my depth of field using the aperture without changing the view. It is neat to watch parts of flowers come into and go out of focus as I change the aperture.

Mostly I am photographing the light and the colour. Although, there were times when I would think, “this might make a good black and white image,” and then work to capture the tonality that I can continue to be creative with later on my computer. I do shoot RAW files, but on most of the images from that walk all I did was crop, increase the contrast and slightly sharpen (RAW images like sharpening).

This is a good time to photograph a garden in my part of British Columbia. In Kamloops just 45 minutes away from where I live the flowers have been blooming for over a week. I expect if I drove up the hill to my friends Nancy and Bill’s house, which is only 15 winding road minutes away, the colours wouldn’t quite be ready yet.

This is a neat time of year, take my advice and have some fun photographing the colours.

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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