Earth laughs in flowers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Remember to click on image for larger, better viewing!
Places I go
Whether it is seascapes, birds or flowers, I tend to like the soft, dreamy feel in an image. I took these first two images at the Swan Island Dahlia Farm in Canby, Oregon this week. The third and fourth images were taken last season at Shore Acres State Park in Charleston, Oregon about forty minutes from Bandon, my home town. I go to both gardens each year to capture these beauties.
Aperture and Point of Focus
There is really no big secret to getting these dreamy, soft focus blooms. Using my Canon Macro 100mm, I open my aperture to it’s widest at f 2.8. With this aperture there will be a very fine point of focus, so I choose carefully what I want to highlight as far as which part will be sharp. If there is a little creature in the image the point of focus becomes obvious. But even then, I try to focus on the head and have the insect parallel to my lens so that most of little one will be in focus.
Glow and Vignette
Using such a large aperture allows a great deal of the background and a large portion of the flower to turn to pools of color. In the very first image, I took it another step by processing in Nik Software. I added a glow and then finished off with a vignette softening. In Nik Software rather than using the straight preset it is always better to play with the sliders to achieve the look that you are after. The presets are really more of a guide to help you see what the possibilities are.
Mid- August through mid-September is prime time for dahlias so you have plenty of time left this summer to experiment with soft focus flowers. Remember these points and you’ll create some magic!
- Wide open aperture
- Narrow point of focus…this will be your focal point so choose carefully
- Nik Software for added possibilities and further selective softening
Good luck and have fun in your pursuit of dreaminess!!! ~ Susan