I was out shooting wildflowers yesterday and came across wild columbines growing near some large pine and maple trees.

I set the camera and tripod up for a nice composition and initially, the situation wasn’t looking good. It was late morning and the flowers were in direct sun and with all that harsh bright light, the color of the flowers was washed out.

But, I had my handy dandy 22 inch collapsable 5-in-1 reflector/diffuser with me to save the day. While kneeling on the ground and looking through the viewfinder, I metered the scene for a good exposure and then held up the diffuser to shade the flowers. The difference in readings was three to four stops.

There were two ways to remedy the situation. Choose the desired aperture and then turn into a contortionist and try to meter the scene for the proper shutter speed while holding up the diffuser. Or hold up the diffuser, use aperture priority, and let the camera decide on the appropriate shutter speed.

After I had my settings were I wanted, I held up the diffuser to shade the blossoms and to soften the light, and with my other hand, tripped the shutter with the electronic cable release. Using the self-timer would have worked also, but I like the instant response of pushing a button and the photo is taken. I took several shots using manual exposure so I could dial in a little underexposure and also used aperture priority. Both results were good.

When I left in the morning it was a bit chilly and breezy, but by the time I found these Columbines, it had become hot and calm. A six foot diffuser would have been nice to shade me on the way home.

  1. May 18, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Lovely colors, David, and great brokeh.

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks Gracie, I shot this with my 35mm 1.8 lens.

  2. May 18, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Great shot, David. It shows what can be accomplished with a little extra effort. 🙂

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Bob, It was kinda awkward kneeling and brushing against a small juniper…itchy!

  3. May 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Great shot and love the lesson on how you did it, sounds like you needed an extra pair of hands, sorry I couldn’t be there.

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks Bulldog, an assistant would have been handy!

  4. May 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    enjoyed the lesson and like the trio of colours

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      I was able to include just a hint of the sky in this one. Sometimes you have to be a contortionist!

  5. tedgriffith
    May 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Excellent, David, both the shot and the instruction!

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Ted! I have to say I never saw columbines this tall…3 feet at least!

  6. May 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    WOW! This is great shot. Fascinated me Thank you dear David, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Nia, glad you enjoyed this! Have a great weekend too!

  7. May 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Very pretty. Lovely shot!

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks Meanderer, I don’t know how these columbines got there…birds I guess, but there were only a few plants. A nice surprise indeed!

  8. May 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    It turned out great!

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks Fergie, it sure would have been easier with a spare set of hands!

  9. Jo Woolf
    May 19, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Gorgeous colours and background! Another lovely image. If you have some spare sunshine, please send it over!

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Jo, it’s been a really pretty week weather wise…rain Sat, Sun, and Monday and then sun and temps in the 70’s till now. I’ll send some your way!

  10. May 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    A six foot diffuser to shade you? I suppose you could try a golf umbrella! Nice work with your diffuser on the columbines. That intense blue is really lovely against the dappled green background.

    • May 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Yes, I suppose a golf umbrella would be more practical…duh. The color really caught my eye as I walked past…like little blue beacons!

  11. May 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    That’s a beautiful shot, and I love your method!

    • May 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks Montucky, maybe I should bring my chiropractor with me…a built in assistant and no more worries about back injuries from all the weird positions I find myself in! ha ha

  12. May 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I like this shot a lot. I have some columbine in my garden but haven’t really liked the images I’ve taken so far. I think your position and and background is perfect in this one. You’ve motivated me to get out the tripod and experiment some more!

  13. May 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    My chiropractor was loving me for this one…plus junipers and bare legs don’t play well together…itchy itchy! Glad I inspired you Tricia!

  14. May 25, 2012 at 6:54 am

    all that effort to take a picture of a flower 🙂 it all worth it though, it is wonderful 🙂

  15. May 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

    The extremes we photographers go through…guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do ha ha! Thanks Kristina!

  16. June 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Great shot and tip!

  17. June 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Thanks T, always trying to help out fellow photogs!

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