Like a jet fighter dive bombing the enemy, a lone dragonfly buzzed past my nose as it collected mosquitos seconds before they could stick me with their blood sucking paraphernalia. It was 80 degrees and I was wearing a coat in order to try and limit my exposure to the blood thirsty parasites. As I kept moving down a gravel road, the relentless attack started to decrease, and as I made my way into a nearby field of wild flowers, they completely disappeared. Surprised by the relief I unzipped my jacket and surveyed the landscape in front of me. It was absolutely amazing. Minnesota wildflowers as far as the eye could see. I was hoping to shoot some landscapes this evening, but thick overcast skies put the kibosh on that. Instead the giant natural softbox above lit up the flowers from all sides, pulling my attention towards them.
One challenge I always face when arriving at a scene full of beautiful things is getting focused. I typically start by shooting wide shots to try and get all the beauty I can see in one shot to be disappointed with the image on the back of my screen. While these images might set the scene, the real good stuff is hidden in the details.
I decide to set my camera and tripod down and really start to look at my scene. Thousands of flowers sprinkle the landscape, so I decide to just look for one interesting image at a time. I spot a nice looking “Black-eyed Susan” and pull myself close. I decide to try and shoot with my landscape lens (17-55mm) and move myself as close to the flower as I can get while zooming in to 55mm. This forces perspective and forces the background out of focus with the help larger aperture. I would have used my 50mm but the bokeh (blurred shapes) are not as soft as with my wide angle lens.
In order to demonstrate the difference between lenses, I shot what I believe to be these “Hoary Vervain” flowers with my 50mm. If you focus on the blurred background you will notice a difference in the softness of shapes from the image of the “Black-eyed Susan”.
As I moved through the field, I came across a beautiful thistle. While you don’t want to get too intimate with this plant, it makes for a nice image.
As I got deeper into the thick of the wildflowers, I noticed a Monarch butterfly fluttering around me. It was then I noticed the “Butterfly-Weed” the visiter had been perched on. As I photographed the orange plant, I glanced up to see a Bald Eagle soaring above me. I know it sounds majestic because it was. Everytime I see an Eagle or Hawk, I think of my Dad and Grandpa. Both of them passed 5 years ago and both of them were hot-air balloon pilots. Seeing the eagle soar I smiled and decided with the light fading quickly that I was satisfied with the night in the field.
While walking back to my car, I startled a buck and doe as they were grazing in the field. I whistled at them as they bounced away to see if they would stop, but they kept on into the forest so I kept on to my car.