Tips for Taking Close up Photos of Colorado Wildflowers

Sometimes I want to show the beauty of the stamen and pistol in the smallest of wildflowers.

Sometimes I want to show the beauty of the stamen and pistol in the smallest of wildflowers.

One of the most challenging subjects in the Mountains of Colorado is Summer Wildflowers.  Weather patterns, thunderstorms, wind, heavy cloud cover, and locations are just a few of the things to consider while out there.  Additionally, it’s all about the image, so time of day, lens selections, exposure choices, ISO, and, most importantly, composition, all lead to the difference between a satisfying image and a mediocre photo.

Macro/Close Up photos require particular attention to detail.  The selection of a clean, not overly windblown flower, showing stamen and pistol is first.  Then I like to choose a camera angle (tripod position) that shows that detail.  Next I choose the aperture that will give me a feeling of moving the viewer through the image.

For Macro-CloseUp photos, I tend to favor my Nikon 60mm macro.  In this image I am isolating the foreground columbine from the soft focus background. ©Kit Frost

For Macro-CloseUp photos, I tend to favor my Nikon 60mm macro. In this image I am isolating the foreground columbine from the soft focus background. ©Kit Frost

Steps to try for better Close-up Photography

  1. Select subjects that are beautiful, ripe and ready for their portrait.
  2. Move around the subject to gain the best angle.
  3. Set up your camera and tripod, with your favorite close-up or macro lens (I like the Nikon 60mm 1.8).
  4. Choose an aperture that gives you the detail you’d like in the photo (often shallow depth of field is seductive, f2.8-f5.6).
  5. Use your depth of field preview button to show you the final image.
  6. Evaluate the wind, so you know if you need a fast shutter speed, and an increase in your ISO.
  7. At this point I take quite a few images because I want to be sure I have the best “in the can”.
  8. Take a moment to really enjoy where you are.

For me, the act of photography is fulfilling.  I like all stages of the process, from charging batteries to selecting the right camera bag, to pouring over maps, to driving to my favorite as well as new locations.

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