Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 03/09/2012

All together in the Floral Dance

Floral, originally uploaded by

I think I mentioned after visiting the Olympic Park last month to watch the Hockey, that the gardens were as much a talking point as the incredible architecture of the various sporting buildings such as the Basketball Stadium (you should see a photo of some of it in the next few days). At the time I didn’t, on purpose, have a camera with me which I immediately regretted when I saw the flowers, so when I knew we would be returning to the park I decided to take a camera along with me. The decision was then what camera to take, I would have prefered to take the 1D4 but it’s large dimensions always ring alarm bells with sporting officials that I’m going to be selling the images I take which isn’t the case… well… perhaps…. The 5D II was the next obvious choice, so the next decision was over which lens or lenses to take with me. The stalwart choice for any floral photography is my aging Sigma 150mm macro lens however the focal length of this lens is somewhat limiting for any other use (it’s pretty good for portraiture but that wasn’t what I was going to be taking at the olympics). I had decided to take only one lens and with a couple of ideas in mind I decided to take my Sigma 50mm lens and it turned out to be the perfect choice for what I had in mind.

Fitted to the full frame sensored 5D II, the 50mm lens retained it’s focal length which I’ve mentioned before is the perfect one for multi-photo panoramas, something I had in mind to do when in the park as well. In fact, taking only a few steps inside the park – the camera was out and I took my first 5 photo panorama – it won’t ever see the light of day as there were far too many people around to make it anything more than a 5 photo snap but I couldn’t help myself, so swept up in the emotion of the event was I. I took numerous panoramas throughout the day but what I really wanted to do was visit the gardens which we did after watching the morning session of athletics. You may have thought one of the reasons I took the 50mm was it’s wide aperture of f1.4 allowing me to harness it’s incredibly shallow depth of field but in fact I was planning on using it’s smallest aperture, f16 to create the type of images I had in mind. What I didn’t want was a depth of field at all, I wanted to create a flat image where no one part of the image was highlighted over any other which a small aperture would allow me to do.

I had one concern when approaching the gardens that since my last visit the flowers might have gone over the top but I needn’t have worried. Years had gone into the planning of both events so a little detail about fading flowers wouldn’t have been overlooked with the eyes of the world upon the event. I will spare you the details about the photo itself but needless to say it came out how I wanted, despite (though more likely because of*) a lack of strong lighting to make the colours shine. I suspect this image might end up as a canvas on the wall of my house, or if William Morris or Laura Ashley see it – it will be transformed into wallpaper or possibly fabric!

* without a strong key light, there were no shadows which would have spoiled the image.

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