Bluebells – My Little Nightmare

I enjoy photographing nature, it’s relaxing. Usually you are alone in the middle of nowhere, purely focussed on looking for something that you find to be beautiful, therefore your mind is set trying to see the best in everything you look at. Without trying to sound like a hippie, life doesn’t get more therapeutic and peaceful than this.

Which brings me straight to the bane of my nature shooting life, the loveable sign of Spring …Bluebells.

I like Bluebells, they completely transform Englands woodlands into a set from a fairytale movie, casting a haze of mysterious violet across the woodland floor. They’re so delicate, yet have such a huge impact.

However, there are some materials in the world, like the eyes of a dragon fly, that have a pattern so that no matter how well you shoot it, there doesn’t seem to be a focus point on the material. This fine pattern makes the subject always look out of focus, even when it’s in focus. Bluebells are like this. It’s very frustrating.

There are only a few ways that I’ve managed to overcome this:

Firstly, make sure that my aperture is set to at least 4.0, so that I know enough of this little flower isn’t being blown out by miss focus.

Secondly, Find the only spot on the flower that is easy to see is in focus, it’s stigma, and use that as a focus point. This isn’t easy as the edges of a B;uebell are usually flush with the stigma, plus they always hang facing downward.

Thirdly, Shoot from further back. I like to shoot close up to flowers with a nice dreamy bokeh, however, because of the vast number of Bluebells, combined with all kinds of woodland colour and bursts of light around, they’re the easiest flower that I’ve found to photograph from further back. They certainly look more in focus from further away as you see less of its mind-messing blurry texture.

These are the only three ways I’ve managed to photograph a Bluebell with pleasing results. But it’s not easy.


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