CREATIVE TECHNIQUES IN CAMERA AND LENSBABY
Here’s where the fun begins (or continues).There are endless ways to capture images creatively in the field. Among the most common are selective focus, shooting through, multiple exposures, zooms and spins, and motion blurs. These can be done with any lens and are only limited to what your camera will allow and your imagination. You are the one who creates the magic in the gardens.
Selective Focus – When you choose a wide aperture, the slice of focus you achieve is small and typically gives you soft backgrounds. Get super close to a flower or even closer to the petals, your depth of field decreases even more. This technique allows you to be “selective” in what part of your subject is sharp while the remainder of image is in soft focus. It’s great for flowers and many other objects.
When you use the Shooting Through technique, you select your subject, making sure it is sharp where it needs to be, but you’re also moving the lens closer to an object (leaves, flowers) than the lens can focus (violating the minimum focusing distance). This allows you to create a dreamy effect in camera and also remove distractions with soft focus colors.
In camera multiple exposures allow you to create a wide variety of images and looks. Part of the process is limited to what your camera can do (some allow two or three frames, others up to ten). You select the number of frames and how you move the camera in each frame to create your image. Direction and quantity of each frame work together. Results vary, so you have to experiment to see what works best for your subject and vision.
Zooms and Spins take practice, but basically you’re zooming or spinning the camera during the exposure. Slower shutter speeds work better. If your lens has a tripod collar, you have more control with spins. You can handhold if you need to. This works with large and small subjects. I typically choose a small aperture (f/11-f/22) and low ISO (100-200) to get the shutter speed I need. Experiment and play. Sometimes ¼ second is enough; other times, longer works better. It depends on the light and your creative intention. You won’t know what worked best until you see images on the computer.
Motion Blurs – This technique (ICM – intentional camera movement) creates abstract, interpretive images. Almost nothing is sharp. It’s about color, movement and contrast. Subjects that work well in gardens are trees with separation and varied colors or tones. It also works on swaths of flowers and bunches of blooms. Slow your shutter speed and move the camera during the exposure. Vary direction and speed of movement for different effects. Some images with this technique are simply magical.
Lensbaby Lenses and Optics – One of my favorite creative tools is a Lensbaby. The beauty of Lensbaby is that you can create wonderful and ethereal images that require minimal post processing. While a little challenging at first – all manual focus – it’s easy to get hooked on the creative possibilities. To learn more, visit Lensbaby and check out my article, “Lensbaby Magic and Flower Photography”. My favorites are the Velvets and the Composer Pro. They’re excellent for flowers and gardens. For macro lovers, I recommend adding the macro kit (close-up filters) to your bag to get even closer.