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Reaching out for the Light

Posted by
Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 28 May 2008 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Some Saxifraga flowers from Bodnant Gardens in North Wales last weekend.

I haven't got a dedicated macro lens so this photo was taken with the Nikon kit lens that came with my camera. Generally speaking the quality of the background blur (bokeh) on this lens is nothing to get excited about but on this particular shot I got away with it I think.

NIKON D40 1/2000 second F/5.6 ISO 200 82 mm (35mm equiv.)

Like what you see here and are interested in photographic composition?.....the blog section of my website now has a complete set of 5 articles covering my personal approach to the subject: Ian Bramham Photography - Blog

For purchasing high quality archival prints of any of these photos you can send me an email by clicking here or by going to my website Ian Bramham - Fine Art Photography where prices are listed in the gallery sections under each individual photo.

Nataly from Santa Monica, United States

Wow, Ian! You nailed that exposure on this one. And the monochromatic tones are perfect. I think you are ready for the wedding photography... :-)

28 May 2008 5:39am

@Nataly: Thanks Nataly - yes, these flowers and the water lily on yesterday's photo all have that problem of correctly exposing for the extremes of white on black. I have absolutely no desire to try wedding photography LoL! must be incredibly stressful with that constant fear of equipment failure or plain old human error.

M. Isabel from Lima, Peru

Really beautiful.

28 May 2008 6:10am

@M. Isabel: Thanks!

pierre from athis mons, France

A postcard ! Simple but délicate picture, the tones are right and the focus perfect ! Great !

28 May 2008 6:13am

@pierre: Thanks very much Pierre!

Anthony Lambert from Germany

Nice to see a B+W flower shot.Great work.
Weddings are stress,I´ve done three and you live in a state of panic until the finished album turns out OK and the happy couple realy are happy..

28 May 2008 7:01am

@Anthony Lambert: Hi did you get on with this issue of correct exposure of the bride's white wedding dress next to the groom's black tuxedo? After trying these couple of white flower shots I understand now why so many wedding photographers place the happy couple in the shade of a tree for the formal photos after the ceremony! - I always used to think that it was for the beautiful backdrop but it's really all about getting shaded light onto the white dress isn't it!

angel from Iran

i like it

28 May 2008 7:04am

@angel: Thanks vey much!

eddy from Tehran, Iran


28 May 2008 8:11am

@eddy: Thanks Eddy!

hugo poon from Hong Kong

Lovely DOF... wonderful tone too! Love this capture.

28 May 2008 8:28am

@hugo poon: Thanks Hugo....I was pleasantly surprised by the image quality from the kit lens!

Alun Lambert from cheshire, United Kingdom

very nice mono image

28 May 2008 8:30am

@Alun Lambert: Thanks Alun!

Lorraine from Gatineau, Canada

This is a delight and YOU have nothing to worry about...;)

28 May 2008 8:53am

@Lorraine: Thanks Lorraine....have you decided which DSLR to buy yet?

Margie from Auckland, New Zealand

I agree with Pierre, there's something delicate about this shot. Gorgeous.

28 May 2008 9:01am

@Margie: Thanks's always interesting to try something new in photography isn't it!

Michael Skorulski from Cigel, Slovakia

Lovely and very effective in b/w, Ian.

28 May 2008 9:31am

@Michael Skorulski: Thanks very much Michael...I'm really pleased that you like it!

MahGol from Tehran, Iran

its a delicate shot Ian .. i enjoyed its dark tone .. its one of those rare times it adds to the delicacy.

28 May 2008 10:46am

@MahGol: Thanks MahGol!...A good range of graduated tones from black to white is always a useful way of increasing the perception of depth in a photo.

Cheryl from Texas, United States

lovely image, you caught some nice light!

28 May 2008 11:39am

@Cheryl: Thanks Cheryl!....the light was actually very harsh midday sun but I played about in post processing and increased the depth of the darker tones in the photo which seemed to help the quality of the brighter areas.

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

Beautiful light and contrast. Well done.

28 May 2008 1:14pm

@akarui: Thanks very much Akarui!

Daroru from Amagasaki, Japan

Nice play of tone.

28 May 2008 1:19pm

@Daroru: Thanks Daroru...I increased the depth of the shadow areas in post processing.

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

Back in my film days I did some wedding photography. Can't say I cared for it much. I did find it stressful but I suppose that fades with the confidence gained by experience. And these days, with LCD screens and histograms, you should be protected. But as much as I enjoy photography, if I could make more money shooting weddings than I do now with my real job, I probably still wouldn't do it. I guess it all boils down to the fact that I want to take photos of the subjects that interest me, not what someone else wants me to take.

I don't know what the practice is with digital, but in the film days, I think they generally used negative stock and used the film exposure latitude to give the whites about one extra stop of exposure. Since digital is intolerant of overexposure I assume you'd expose for the whites and bring up the blacks in PP.

BTW, I've found the D40 kit lens to serve me well; I've even had people compliment the lens bokeh.

28 May 2008 2:16pm

@Twelvebit: Hi Twelvebit!...I would guess that all of us here at Aminus3 are here for the love of photography as a hobby and I fully agree with what you're saying about wanting to take photos of the things that I find interesting, and not what someone else wants you to do.

Nataly from Santa Monica, United States

I just came back to this image`s 3D! How awesome. And I hope you know I was joking about the wedding photography :-)

28 May 2008 2:21pm

@Nataly: Hi Nataly...oh yes, of course I know you were joking but I've read lots of funny but stressed-out stories from amateur photographers who've been persuaded to photograph a wedding...just trying to take these few photos of white flowers on a black background was enough for me to realise how difficult it must be especially when things are happening quickly. The latest story I read recently concerned a wedding shoot where some of the faces on the bridal party were all blurry because the amateur photographer hadn't realised the shutter speed was too slow - what a nightmare!

MadScientist from Düsseldorf, Germany

Very pretty flowers, beautiful picture, well done :-)

28 May 2008 2:48pm

@MadScientist: Thanks very much!

alex centrella from California, United States

the mono compliments the image....well done

28 May 2008 3:06pm

@alex centrella: Thanks Alex!

yiannis krikis from thessaloniki, Greece

excellent b&w - great tonal range

28 May 2008 4:33pm

@yiannis krikis: Thanks Yiannis! from Marseille, France

Great focus and lighting - really works well in B&W !

28 May 2008 6:31pm Thanks very much!

Stefan from Thiersee, Austria


28 May 2008 9:47pm

João Mourão from Amadora, Portugal

A superb image as usual from you.

28 May 2008 10:24pm

Guillermina from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Why do flower shots work so well with you?...

29 May 2008 12:53am

Betsy Barron from Glenmoore, United States


29 May 2008 1:11am

Claus from herfølge, Denmark

Beautiful framing, and wonderful colour!

29 May 2008 7:24am

Lorraine from Gatineau, Canada

Too broke ;) so I'm in the 'search' mode lol

29 May 2008 8:54am

Michael Rawluk from Prince George, Canada

A sweet shot. It looks wonderful in B&W.

29 May 2008 4:02pm

Russ Devan from New Hanover, United States

Beautiful, Ian. The monochrome conversion is very nice.

29 May 2008 8:01pm

1/2000 second
ISO 200
82 mm (35mm equiv.)