Friday, February 18, 2011

Sunshine ~ Floral Fridays!

" Sunny Bougainvillea"
(1/30 sec @ F/7.1, ISO 100, 100mm fl, 55-200mm Nikkor Telezoom, tripod, diffused afternoon light)

Happy Floral Friday one and all! This will be a quick post for me today, the sun is out and the temp has risen above 0 degrees here in Ontario. Naturally, this means I'm heading out with the Nikon!

Today's image was taken at the Tropical Greenhouse at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The ceiling and displays have these trailing bits of sunshine climbing everywhere inside. Like the greenhouse was sun kissed everywhere you look. Bathed in light. Ahhhh. It lifts the spirits and assures that spring is wanting to arrive soon! Just the color yellow will do that, no matter where it is. It energizes and inspires.

A quick tip. Be careful when photographing at the local greenhouse. If the sun is out, all that glass will make it difficult at time to get killer shots. Everything starts to get washed out, and metering for a more even exposure can drive you mad, highlights either go off the grid, of the shadows from underexposing swallow up select areas. I know for this image, even though it was overcast, all the light coming into the greenhouse was messing with an overall metering of the composition I had decided on. So I made the decision to use a more selective type of metering in my dial/menu options, so that my meter actually metered more from my subject which was essential for the shot than the rest of the area in the frame. When I checked my histogram (the graph feature on your camera for where your lights and darks are balanced in the exposure) I realized the overexposed highlights were allowable this time since they were essentially the backdrop, and not the flowers themselves. Instead of this looking like a poorly made decision, it now looked high key and so I kept the reading and made the shot.

Also, this meant I had to take into consideration the lens I was using. It was my telephoto, which compresses the shot from foreground to background, so even at F/7.1 it had a considerably shallow depth of field where the light and plants in the background blurred out nicely. If I had stopped down to much more narrow aperture of F/11, and adjusted my shutter speed, the blown highlights would have then been a problem again since you'd be seeing a very definitive overexposure problem.

All this was of course shot manually. Auto modes can be handy for shooting quickly in certain situations, but in a semi-auto mode the camera would have tried to correct everything, giving me a very mundane, dull image. In manual mode, I chose every setting myself, and could manipulate which things were more important for me, and get creative with the rest. This is key. Take the plunge all you DSLR owners with your settings on auto. Start learning how to expose. It opens the floodgates of creativity... and allows the sun to shine in.

Have a fab Friday all, and thanks for letting me ramble on! See you all Monday!


  1. I must say, I wish we had some greenhouses around my house. Your shots are gorgeous Christine.


  2. Thanks Dave! No local greehouses? Sorry to hear it. I know this one like the back of my hand... head out to the local florist then, and set up some blooms in the house and snap away :-)