Video: Wildflower photography with Adam Gibbs
posted Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 6:00 AM EDT
Spring is here, which means it's wildflower season. Photographer Adam Gibbs headed out to Mt. Tzouhalem in British Columbia, Canada, to photograph the local flora. In the last video from Gibbs that we featured, Gibbs talked about his professional experience photographing gardens, so he's a seasoned expert when it comes to flower photography. Of course, wildflowers are a bit different than beautiful, carefully manicured gardens, but wildflower photography offers a great blend of nature and flower photography, all rolled into one.
Rather than use his Fujifilm GFX 100, Gibbs opted instead for his 'trusty old' Nikon D850 DSLR. Now, the GFX system does have a macro lens, the GF 120mm F4, Gibbs doesn't own it. On his D850, Gibbs used a Nikon 70-200mm F4 lens. While not a macro lens, the tele-zoom offers impressive close-up capabilities, which are generally lacking across the non-macro GF lens lineup.
Given the somewhat dreary, wet weather, Gibbs opted to shoot for a 'dreamy' look. He shot with a wide-open, or nearly wide-open, aperture to ensure soft out-of-focus elements and focused on individual flowers. He also tried to create compositions with nicely blurred foreground elements. This offers a dreamier, softer look to the image, and it creates a strong sense of depth in the frame. You can use out-of-focus elements, including different colors or tones, as compositional elements as well.
As you can see in Gibbs' full video, wildflower photography comes with its own set of challenges. Most wildflowers are short, so you must get down very low to get on their level, which usually results in the best photos. This is where a tripod that offers a short minimum height comes in especially useful. Gibbs uses a small pad in the video, which is a non-photo accessory he often has in his backpack. It makes it easier to lay down or kneel on the ground.
Beyond these physical challenges to photographing wildflowers, it can also be tricky to find a composition, especially when there are a lot of flowers to choose from. Sometimes you can photograph an entire bed of flowers and make a nice shot, but if you want to get close-ups of the flowers, you'll need to spend some time to find the best ones to focus on.
(Via Adam Gibbs)