Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Photographing Wildflowers

I was stunned and thrilled a couple of months ago when I had a phone call from freelance journalist Robert Ditessa who was writing an article about photographing wildflowers for Australian Photography magazine and wanted to feature me along with two other wildflower photographers in his article. 

I was stunned that he had discovered me among all the other photographers photographing wildflowers in Australia, and stunned that he considered I was worthy enough. Although I have sold wildflower photos and written a few magazine articles about photographing wildflowers, including one for Australian Photography magazine in January 2008, I didn't consider myself a professional. I think however that Rob was looking for someone who could speak in layman terms to would-be wildflower photographers.  

What an amazing opportunity and thrill it was for me to be featured in a national photography magazine.

I have been passionate about photographing wildflowers since my first wildflower drive in September 20015 with my new Canon Powershot Pro 1 digital camera. I had taken wildflower images previously with my film camera, but had never really been happy with them. This changed when I bought the Powershot Pro 1 as it had a professional quality lens and "super macro" setting which was ideal for wildflowers. A new world opened up to me and wildflower photography quickly became my passion. The image below of everlastings taken in late afternoon light on that trip is still one of my all time favourites.

  Rob sent me the questions via email, and I emailed my answers back to him, along with a selection of wildflower images. The article was published in the June 2016 edition of Australian Photography magazine. Here is a copy of the opening page.


 One of my images was on the opening page. I took this image last year in the Dryandra Woodland Conservation Reserve in Western Australia's wheatbelt. Once again taken in late afternoon light.  

Aperture Priority is ideal for photographing wildflowers, and a great place to start when starting out. Set the aperture and the camera will look after the rest.  Remember the larger the aperture, ie f2.6, the shallower the depth of field with your subject in focus over a lovely soft blurred background and bokeh (Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light") ie those spots of light in the background you can see in the image below. 

 With more experience I encourage you to learn how to use full manual controls, setting your ISO, light balance, shutter speed and aperture..... but don't feel overwhelmed, learn about aperture priority first.  

Dryandra, Canon 60D, 100mm macro, f4, ISO 125, 1/400sec

My kit today is simple. A Canon EOS 60D DSLR with a Canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS USM Macro lens. This lens allows me 1.1 magnification, shallow depth of field and beautiful background blur without having to get too close.  

However it is possible to shoot wildflowers with a compact camera, especially if it has manual settings such as Aperture Priority. Look for the little "flower" symbol on your camera dial. Don't go out and buy an expensive macro lens when you start out. Experiment first with what you have and learn to use your manual camera settings. If you don't have a macro lens, you can use an extension tube or a 'close up' filter which are both less expensive options which work well when you are starting out. 

Crooked Brook Reserve, Dardanup. Canon EOS 60D, 100mm, ISO 125, f5, 1/500sec
I don't use a flash or any lighting in the field as I believe the light it produces is too harsh and removes all the subtleties of natural light and colour, but you can use a reflector to throw more light onto your subject if you need to. I usually carry a tripod, but very rarely use it, preferring the freedom of being able to move around my subject and take images from lots of different angles. If you are using a tripod you can plug a remote release cable into your camera to help eliminate additional camera shake.  Bumping up the ISO in shade or low light also helps, but remember that increasing the ISO will increase "noise" in your image. 

I also encourage you to use the viewfinder on your camera, not the LCD screen, as physically holding the camera against your face, and tucking your elbows into your sides will steady the camera, and in my opinion you will also have better control over your picture taking. 
 
Manea Park, Canon 60D, f5, 1/80 secs, ISO 200

I love taking wildflower images, and long for the spring when the wildflowers will be blooming in profusion. It is winter now, but you can still find a few wildflowers in the Australian bush at any time of year.  Not able to get out into the bush? Even in our urban environments you can still find wildflowers in nature reserves, bush buffer zones or botanical gardens. Kings Park Botanic Gardens in Perth, Western Australia, is a fabulous place to photograph wildflowers, especially during spring. 

Being out in the bush is so rejuvenating and you never know what you might discover. 

 If I don't have my DSLR with me, my handy little "go everywhere with me" Canon G11 using aperture priority gives an acceptable result when it is my only option, although sometimes I find it difficult to get it to focus where I want it to!  I took the photos below with my G11 this morning in our little bushland reserve near our home.  

 

Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australian: Part 2 Perth and the SouthwestAn important part of my bush walking kit is a good pair of hiking boots, spare batteries, extra memory cards and a good comfortable waterproof backpack with padded areas to protect gear. It is also handy to carry a good map or locally produced guide (wildflower locations can vary seasonally) and a reference book for identifying flowers. If you are in Western Australia a particular guide I have found very useful over the years are Eddy Wajon's set of 4 books - Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia. These are available at many visitor centres and bookshops or online.  The books are split into 4 regions of Western Australia. 



I hope you have enjoyed this little look at wildflower photography. I will blog again later with more tips. In the meantime you might like to look at my previous posts about wildflower photographyHow to take great wildflower photos
or go to my Index tab at the top of my blog and scroll down to the Garden and Wildflowers list to find the links. 

 For more information on wildflowers in Western Australia please click here - Explore Western Australia's wildflowers

Taken with my Canon G11 compact camera
 
Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you enjoy taking wildflower photos? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday 

Life Thru the Lens 

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard
 

14 comments:

  1. These are all stunning!
    visiting from image-in-ing (:

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  2. thanks for your great correspondences, wonderful. peace, susanne lorraine

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  3. What an honor! Congratulations. Maybe you could do a one day flower shooting walk about class!

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    1. Yes I am considering this in spring Rose

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  4. You so ABSOLUTELY deserved this! It's time for your photography star to shine Jill. Onwards! You know how much I love your photos, and time methinks for more features and more recognition :)

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    1. thanks Jo for your encouragement over the last few years. I just need to push myself forward.

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  5. Beautiful!
    Hoping to see you at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/06/west-side-story.html

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  6. I'm not a photographer, but I certainly enjoyed reading about how you do what you do so well. The image of the butterfly on the flowers is exquisite.

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  7. Your photos have always been the best! So glad you've been recognized as you should be. Hopefully, this is only the start of many more 'exposures' for your work! Congratulations. . .these photos are beautiful!

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  8. Wildflowers are so surprising in W.A. The display of colour in the otherwise arid landscape is captivating. Love your photos and congrats!

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  9. Congratulations on the publishing of the article! I do not what you are taking about . You flower photos are stunning. I feel like they display the uniqueness of the Australian flora. For me, they are a treat given that I have never visited the country and have not see those flowers before.

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  10. Well done Jill! Wildflowers in WA are absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately when I was there it was a little early for this show of wonderful flowers. Also thank you for your camera tips. I am still trying to get my camera out of the auto settings without a lot of success to date. I need time to experiment! :)

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  11. Beautiful photography Jill! I think all of your tips are spot on! I wouldn't have believed the G11 photos weren't from your DSLR if you hadn't told us.

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  12. What a fun project, and that you were found and chosen. Your images are beautiful. I especially love the top shot.

    Lisa @ Life Thru the Lens

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.