Spotlights

Story and Photography by F.M. Kearney

 

Korean chrysanthemum highlighted by spotlight of sun. “Sheffield” Asteraceae, New York Botanical Garden Bronx, NY. © F.M. Kearney

 

Most nature photographers go out of their way to avoid the harsh, unforgiving contrast of direct sunlight. The resulting blown highlights and blocked up shadows have ruined many potentially great photos. This type of lighting may work for certain landscape images, but for floral portraits, the soft, even light of an overcast day is generally preferred.

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Shooting the Mums by F. M. Kearney

As one of the year’s last flowers to bloom, chrysanthemums offer a last chance to hone your floral photography skills before winter and the following spring. That is, of course, if you live anywhere in or near the Northeast.

Mums are fun flowers to photograph. They come in many different colors and styles, allowing for a variety of creative options. Some of the most common are garden chrysanthemums, which usually grow in neat, tight clusters of similar colors. A popular technique is to move in close and fill the frame with them. You’ll want edge-to-edge sharpness, so use a small aperture opening for maximum depth of field.

© F. M. Kearny

© F. M. Kearney

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