When it comes to kit, a macro lens or telezoom lens with an extension tube won't be out of place and as you'll most likely be working close to the ground try to preview your shots with the help of LiveView if you find that getting your eye close to the viewfinder is difficult. A tripod's always useful when shooting macro work and a waterproof sheet, mat or gardener's kneeling pad will make the experience of working on damp ground slightly more comfortable.
Ideally, you need to be working at the same height as the snowdrops so be prepared for sitting or kneeling on the damp ground. To get you even closer to the flower heads you'll need to splay the legs on your tripod and, if you can, move the centre column from vertical to horizontal as this will get you closer to the ground. As well as making use of LiveView, switch on the camera's self-timer or use your cable /remote release to help keep your shots shake-free.
Once you're set-up, you'll find you need a small f/stop to get good depth-of-field, which means you need a long exposure and when you look through the viewfinder or use your LiveView, you'll notice how the smallest of breezes will blow the flower which when mixed with slower shutter speeds, will create blur. Try using a simple piece of wire to keep the flower still or you could just wait patiently for the wind to settle down.
If you find a particularly good specimen that doesn't have anything distracting in the background or foreground, throw the background out of focus, keeping the flower sharp. Take this one step further and completely cut out the steam, leaving the viewer's focus completely on the head of the flower. If the background looks a little too empty try positioning yourself so another Snowdrop sits in the background which you can blur out of focus. For group shots, try to pick out two or three for the centre of your image then create an out of focus frame with the surrounding snowdrops.
Photos by Peter Bargh.
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