Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

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Daffodil – ISO 400; 60mm macro; f/11; 1/125 sec (click image to view larger size)

In English, Happy St. David’s Day!

Being Welsh, I thought I would mark St. David’s Day with an image of a daffodil, the national flower of Wales. After all, I can still remember having a daffodil pinned to my jumper before heading off to school in the 1960s!

I didn’t want just any type of image though, I wanted to try a technique I’ve known about for a long time but never managed to get around to using before – creating a black background without actually using a physical background.

This technique uses nothing more than the absence of light. It’s quite simple really, once you understand the principle. You don’t need a studio or any fancy lighting gear (I certainly don’t have any), just a flash that you can fire off-camera.

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A Change of Perspective

Snake's Head Fritillary with Aphid

Snake’s Head Fritillary with Aphid

A change of perspective can often improve your results when out shooting, as discussed by Scott Bourne in his blog post I read recently, and most photographers are well aware of this. In my case, the change in perspective isn’t to do with moving my feet, or lying down or even selecting a different lens. It’s being unable to get out as much as I normally would due to a bad back. It’s not horrendous so I shouldn’t grumble, it’s just frustrating. When I think back to spring last year, I was out 2-3 times a week in search of bluebells.

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Snowdrops

Snowdrops - 60mm; ISO 400; 1/200 sec; f/4.0 (click image to view larger size)

Snowdrops – 60mm; ISO 400; 1/200 sec; f/4.0 (click image to view larger size)

This was the first time I’ve attempted to photograph snowdrops. Nursing a bad back, I haven’t managed to do much photography lately, but this morning I headed out with just my Fuji X-T1 and a 60mm macro lens so I could travel light.

I’d seen some snowdrops in Richmond Park previously and I was lucky with the light. Although mid-morning by the time I arrived and the winter sun bright in the sky, these snowdrops were in partial shade with dappled light coming through overhead trees.

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What sort of photographer am I?

This used to be a question that was easy to answer.

When I first started out in photography I only made landscape images, so I guess at that time I was a landscape photographer?

Derwent After Sunset

Derwent After Sunset

About five years ago I bought a macro lens for close-up work, so did I also become a macro photographer?

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Surrey Bluebells

Seclusion

Seclusion – 100mm; ISO 200; 1/250 sec; f/4.0 (click image to view larger size)

Seems like all I’m doing lately is photographing bluebells, but I suppose it is the season for it.

This year I decided to travel further than my back garden in search of bluebells. Internet research showed a couple of promising locations in Surrey within about 45 minutes drive from home.

So I started exploring in late March and weekly thereafter to check on progress. Places such as Ranmore Common, White Down, Leith Hill and Hatchlands Park.

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The first bluebells

The First Bluebells

The First Bluebells – 100mm; ISO 100; 1/350 sec; f/2.8 (click image to view larger size)

For the last few years I have captured images of the first bluebells to appear in my garden.

There is a small patch of self-seeded bluebells to one side of the garden which have gradually invaded one corner of the lawn. The setting of these within blades of grass helps to illustrate their small size and I’ve been drawn to try and capture this and their delicateness.

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