Skagit Valley Daffodils

During the months of April and May in the Pacific Northwest, the daffodils and Tulips are in full bloom. the daffodils come first and as they are wilting, the tulips start to bloom. A couple weekends in a row I headed to the Skagit Valley to shoot the daffodils hoping for a good sunrise. On the second trip, the skies cooperated much better than the first. 

Photographing in these conditions where you want everything in focus along with capturing the right light, several techniques are used. The first is exposure blending. DSLR cameras have an exposure bracketing feature that allows the user to set the number of stops each photo will be taken above and below the "normal" photo. My Canon SL1 can only go 2 stops above and below. The more expensive cameras can do 5 stops or more. I set the bracketing to around 2 stops above and below the normal photo. The normal photo is taken at a shutter speed of 1/10th of a second, the 2 stop over exposed photo is at 0.4 seconds and the 2 stop under exposed photo is at 1/40th. 1 stop is a doubling or halving of the shutter speed. The camera will take 3 photos (1 at each exposure). This allows the photographer to get a properly exposed sky, foreground, and 1 photo in the middle for editing.

Once you figure out the proper bracketing, focus the camera on the closest subject. Take the three photos, adjust the focus point slightly farther out, take the three photos. repeat this process until you are satisfies the entire scene is in focus. Once you open the photos in Photoshop, choose all the photos in the same exposure and focus stack. Once you have the three in focus photos, open them as layers in photoshop and begin combining them. This is where knowing luminosity masks comes in. Search Youtube or pay for a tutorial on these masks. It will make you life much easier when it comes to editing. They are not hard but many people are afraid of them because it causes more work. 

If you have any questions about this please feel free to send an email. Until next time, keep shooting and fill the frame with what you like.