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Nature's Delicate Edge

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 24 March 2010 in Landscape & Rural.


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In my continued search for spring wildflowers, I am seeing the emergence of California's state flower, the golden poppy. Nothing says springtime more to me than the appearance of these vibrant orange flowers.

I took a drive along one of my favorite country roads near my home in San Benito County the other morning to a location where I have had success with these flowers in the past. Much to my dismay, there was not a flower in sight! However, I did drive slowly down the road and spotted about 30 random blooms just off the side of the road. The sun had been up for just over an hour, and the poppies were actually just beginning to open. I knew I would have a short period of time to work before the ground would heat and begin radiating the sun's rays in the form of thermal drafts, which would then make the poppies bob and weave (an exercise in frustration when working with macro lenses)!

I captured this particular frame with my 100mm macro with my aperture set to f/5.6. This allowed me to focus on just the front edge of the foreground petal and allowed the distant petal's edge to be a bit softer. Half the battle was getting low enough to the ground. I was aided by flattening the legs of my Gitzo tripod and contorting my body so I could slowly move the camera in and out of position until my composition felt balanced to me.

This image was really not about rules, but more about feeling. I made sure to keep the poppy between me and the sun as I wanted to capture that translucent feeling. I also wanted to convey the sense of delicacy that these flowers exude. Hopefully I accomplished my task.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/125 second F/5.6 ISO 200 100 mm

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