Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Different Take on a NH Spring Wildflower

It's true... I'm a little cynical about the seasonal churn of landscape and nature photographs on the Internet.  Just last week, I was teasing my good pal Jeff about photographing the beloved Trillium.  They are usually the first flower to bloom in the New Hampshire woodland and a very pretty bloom at that with three distinct petals in red or white.  Pretty... but oi vey are they over photographed!  This time of year it seems every photographer in New England is posting images of Trillium.  And the images are 95% the same as the shot they made last year and 90% the same as the other photographers.  So, yes... cynical.  I'm not proud of it.  In fact many of these photographers are friends who produce really stunning work that I both appreciate and admire.  But, I still can't bring myself to photograph a Trillium.    It feels like I have nothing to add.

Today I was out in my yard and noticed that our recent rain brought on a bumper crop of Lady Slipper... right in my front yard.  It's my first spring in a new home and there are things sprouting up all over the place, but this was a really nice surprise.  They are beautiful and I love the fleeting nature of Lady Slippers.  I also have really nice memories of wandering hunting for them  in Shelburne, NH with my Mom when I was as kid.

I was itching to make a few photographs, but I heard the cynic's voice in my head... "you realize there will be Lady Slipper photographs from every photographer you know all over the Internet".  It almost kept me from hitting the shutter, but I had an idea to make these photos a little different.

After supper tonight, the flowers were well shaded and I decided that these Lady Slippers were getting studio lighting!  For the gear geeks in the house, that was a Manfrotto 001b stand, Westcott 43" umbrella and a Nikon SB-910 speedlight.   The light was fired wirelessly from the camera with Nikon CLS with a 1/2 CTO gel on the flash to warm the light a little bit and we were in business.  The Lady Slippers had their studio call!  I should also mention that I post processed these very similarly to how I might process an image from a shoot with a model... I took some saturation out, went easy on the contrast and everyone looks better framed in a vignette.

An interesting background on this one... my wheelbarrow happened to be leaning against a tree in the shot.

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