Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel

Edwin Brosens shares his tips on photographing flowers, in particularly Witch Hazel.

| Flowers and Plants
Words and images by Edwin Brosens -

At the start of winter Witch Hazels flower at the Arboretum near to where I live. Even at -20 degrees they keep flowering and they produce colourful flowers that are great for macro photography.

Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel: Witch Hazel Plant

Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel: Witch Hazel

The flowers tend to bloom in three main colours: red, orange and yellow but don't overlook the leaves either as they contain lots of interesting detail. As the leaves tend to be small you really do need a macro lens or a camera with macro capabilities to capture them. The Samsung NX 11, which is part of the Samsung NX Series, is one such camera that has a close up mode. Make sure you use a tripod as the longer shutter speeds you need to use due to the low light can cause problems with shake and switch to manual focus as auto focus tends to struggle to focus on the small leaves.

Finding the right flower to photograph can be hard when there's thousands to look at. However, by looking for ones where light falls to the side of the flower, the shadows are more even and the colours have more life. You may find it useful to return to the same spot on several days or at different times of the day to see how the light falls differently. Make sure the winds not blowing too as it'll make it difficult to get a shot that's not blurry.

Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel: Witch HazelThe above shot was taken after a very cold night where ice formed on the plant, giving me the opportunity to capture a shot that's rather more unique. I set my camera on the tripod and carefully selected my composition; I used f/16 to get the leaves and ice sharp. I then positioned my external flash gun and set it to a level I thought would add just enough light to the scene. As the ice would reflect a harsh light back, I angled the gun at a 45 degree angle and used a bounce diffuser on the flash gun.

Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel: Witch Hazel

Another interesting technique is time lapse photography which you can have a go at with any flower. In my studio I took a series of images to show the Witch Hazel flower opening. Every twenty minutes I took a shot and it took over 12 hours to complete the series. Remember to keep your plant watered if you're working indoors otherwise the plant will dry up and you won't be able to complete your time lapse. Check your composition before you start to make sure it looks good and your happy with it as you can't change it once you've began taking your shots. Make a note of the position of your equipment/plant so you can take a shot from the same spot every time as well.

Click the image to see Edwin's time lapse slideshow.
Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel: Time lapse photography

Words and images by Edwin Brosens -

Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel:

Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel: Samsung NX11 Competition Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Witch Hazel: WB700 Competition

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20 Mar 2012 4:51AM
Thank you for you tip's, I am sure they will come in very handy. Beautful compositions.Smile

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