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Photographing Rapeseed Fields

Photographing Rapeseed Fields - Soon our fields will be awash with yellow and the colourful landscape can make for interesting imagery.

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Landscape and Travel

Rapseed fields will soon (if they aren't already) decorating the country so if you want to shoot landscapes with an extra burst of yellow, you need to get outside with your camera.
Kinray Lite bag

Gear Suggestions:

Wide-angle lenses are useful for capturing shots of the whole field while a tele-zoom will 'pull' the field to you if there's no public access. Pack your macro lens and get in really close to the rapeseed. Don't worry if you don't own a macro lens as you can still single out a flower with your standard zoom and if you need to take the photo from further away just fix your telezoom on.

A tripod will help minimise shake, plus the camera's self-timer or if you have one, a cable release will also help you keep the shot steady. Don't forget it's always worth packing a polarising filter into your camera bag, too. Speaking of camera bags, Vanguard's new Kinray Lite range is ideal for outdoor photographers but if you're just heading to one particular field, a smaller bag such as those found in Vanguard's Vojo range may be a better choice. 

As the rapeseed is quite often at waist height save your back and take something to kneel or sit on if you're working in the actual field. If you have a camera where the monitor tilts, take advantage of LiveView so you can stay upright.

Can You Access The Field?

If the answer to this question is 'no' then don't just walk into the field and start taking shots. You'll be able to get perfectly good results from a nearby road/path. You may need your telephoto zoom to bring the field a little closer to you. Your telephoto zoom will also be handy for isolating parts of the crop. If there are tractor tracks use them in your wider shots to lead the eye through the field and if you find a hedge or fence is getting in your way, see if you can use it as a natural frame for your shot. Just remember to use a smaller aperture so you get back-to-front sharpness.

For shots of single flowers you need to be patient and wait for the air to be still otherwise your singled-out plant will blur and merge into the background. Once the wind's stopped use a large aperture to really throw the background out of focus so your single plant is framed by a mass of green and yellow blur. A slightly smaller aperture will still allow the singled-out rapeseed to stand out but it will leave some detail in the background too.

Try switching your telephoto lens to manual focusing and set its minimum focus. Then, move  in and out and see how the individual plants move into sharp focus and their relationships with others change as you move.
Rape flower
Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Check The Horizon

You don't want it to look like the flowers are going to slide out of shot so make sure your horizon's straight before you take the photo. Check the spirit level on your tripod if you're unsure.

What's The Weather Like?

If it's a really bright day you might want to rethink your rapeseed photography plans as you can end up with shots that just shout yellow and have no definition to them. Of course, this can work well if you're looking to photograph strong blocks of colour for a more abstract-styled shot. Just pocket your polariser if this is your plan as it'll help give those bright blue skies and yellow fields more pop.

A dark, moody rain cloud's an excellent backdrop for the yellow flowers but if the sky isn't full of rain when you head out, don't worry too much as just a slight covering of white cloud will give you the diffusion you need to create shots that have more definition and detail.

For breezy days, you either need to be patient and just wait for the plants to stop moving or try shooting some drag landscapes.
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alan53 10 United Kingdom
15 May 2013 11:15AM
Avoid this if you're prone to allergies!

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