Diffuse that Harsh Light!

April 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Now that Spring is here I will be taking some more flower photos. Even though I always try to say "I'm not a flower photographer", I seem to take a fair number of flora photos, spend a good deal of time processing my shots, and actually enjoy doing so. I guess if I say "I'm a nature photographer", I can encompass flowers into that statement...and then I'm covered.

That being said, I have been asked by 100's of people (okay, maybe more like two people) about my flower shots. I happen to prefer maintaining a softness to my flowers, but like at least some detail to be prevalent. Most of the time I prefer to shoot flowers in open shade, however, that might not always be an option.

There will be times when you want to take some shots of a flower with bright sun blazing down. The sun won't even cooperate and at least hide behind some clouds for you; the sun can be stubborn that way. You are left with several options: come back when there are clouds, but by then the flower might be dead or past its prime; you could block out the sun and create a shade; or you could diffuse the sunlight.

Although blocking out the sun directly is nice, it does seem to blend all of the light level to a very similar unified level, which in turn loses some of the depth of the flower. It is subtly different than a large open shade area, it just is. I'm not going to try to get all scientific about why this happens, mostly because I can't...but it is also seems too boring for me to write and I imagine even more boring to read.

So my preferred option is to use a diffuser. I happen to have a Promaster 22" 5-in-1 reflectadisc that lives in my bag. It is nice and compact and you have five options of various uses.

Here are two shots of some yellow crocus taken seconds apart. One is without a diffuser, one is with the diffuser. Both processed exactly the same, and the only different setting was the shutter speed, which had to be different for hopefully obvious reasons.

 

 

 

Now I know I prefer the diffused photo. Some of you might prefer the harsh light, and that's fine. The softer look of the diffused light is my preference. Now this would not be my finished photo. I would continue to process the shot to make it something I can be proud of. This is posted merely for demonstration purposes.

So the next time you shoot some flowers, try a diffuser. It gives you an easier starting point with which to work.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

John

 


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