Flower Photography

Given that we are already 4 weeks into 2015, my guess is that the tradition of exchanging new year pleasantries is now well over. Nonetheless, since this is my first blog post for the year, let me apologize for my tardiness and wish you all a belated happy and prosperous new year!

Last October, I found myself in Singapore on a week-long business trip. One afternoon when I had some free time, I decided to take a stroll with my camera around the Bayfront area, home of the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Just behind the hotel, are the Gardens by the Bay – a park spanning about 1 million sqm, that houses two large flower conservatories showcasing plants from all over the world. This was an excellent opportunity for me to give flower photography a try, in a perfectly controlled environment where the weather element was not going to be a factor that I had to worry about.

Flower photography is probably the most explored area of amateur photography and an area where the results are almost never in touch with what the photographer actually tries to capture. This was definitely not my first attempt at taking flower pictures, but simply the first time I managed to get a decent result that was worth sharing on my blog.

Singapore Flowers2 - 1920c

Shot handheld with my Canon 60D and Canon 24-70 F2.8L lens at ISO 200, F4.0 @ 1/60sec.

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Tuscan Landscape

Just got back from a 10-day vacation in Italy where I got the chance to drive around Tuscany for the first week followed by a visit to Venice for the last stretch of the trip. Had a great time there, with the highlights being the great scenery, the wine and definitely the food…ah yes, the food..what the heck do they put in that pasta that makes it so tasty!?

In preparing for this trip (from a photography perspective), I’ve read countless articles online about the great Tuscan landscapes, with the endless fields of grass, the iconic cypress trees and the variety of colours in nature. Unfortunately, I also read that the best time to visit Tuscany is either spring or autumn, which was somewhat disheartening given the timing of my trip in mid-August. Nonetheless I wasn’t discouraged, to the point where I made an impulse (yet relatively inexpensive) purchase of a new ultra-wide angle lens (Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC HSM), which would be perfect for this type of landscape scenery.

I first got the chance to put this lens into good use, when I passed by this endless field of sunflowers, near the village of San Gimignano (half way between Florence and Siena). I immediately jumped out of the car with my tripod and started running into this field, being careful not to step over the flowers. The composition was tricky, as I was trying to shoot straight into the sun. I stopped down my aperture to get the sun look more like a starburst, and fitted a 3-stop ND grad filter to bring back the sky. Unfortunately, I got significant flaring on my lens, but to be honest I don’t mind it that much!

Sunflowers - 1920c

Shot with my tripod mounted Canon 60D and Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC HSM lens, at ISO 100, F18, and bracketed at -3/-1/+3.