Although I suffer from severe allergies throughout the month of March, the first flowers of spring bloom at the beginning of the month. Luckily, my allergies only last for the month of March so it’s not bad. When the cherry blossoms at the University of Washington Quad are in full bloom, we know spring has arrived. The spring flowers brighten the landscapes after cold, dark winter days of the Pacific Northwest. Now I can walk around the neighborhood with my camera to get fine art flower photographs.
Several studies have shown flowers have many health benefits. But, those of us with bad allergies rarely want flowers inside the home because of the pollen. Well, fine art flower photographs have the same health benefits but without the allergies.
INCREASED CREATIVITY AND PRODUCTION
Recent studies show that having flowers in the work environment improve overall productivity, problem-solving skills, and creativity. What employer doesn’t want this? Since flowers start blooming in the spring, it’s easy to have bouquets throughout the office most of the year. With these improvements in the workplace, the overall mood improves, leaving workers to feel less anxious, agitated, less depressed, etc. Creating more macro photography of flowers this year, my emotions have improved after the long winter in the Pacific Northwest. Observing all the colors and shapes of flowers has been a fun activity this spring.
HEALING POWER OF FLOWERS
Horticulture therapy is used for patients with mental and physical ailments. Patients often see an improvement in their mood, which helps the body heal. A recent study shows that patients with flowers in their rooms heal from surgery must faster than those with empty rooms. The patients experienced less pain intensity and pain distress with flowers and plants. Another way flowers can help heal the body is by improving sleep. Sleeping is when the body recovers. Whether it’s hard exercise, hard days at work, or anything that breaks down the body, flowers reduce stress and anxiety, allowing the body to drift off into sleep.
IMPORTANCE OF COLORS IN FLOWERS
I wrote a blog post about the meaning of colors. Although the color red is an angry color, it can be powerful, energetic, strength, just to name a few. If someone gives you a red rose, or you have a fine art macro image of a red rose hanging on your wall, you can wake up and feel empowered to take on the day. A large print of a yellow flower will create a sense of happiness and sunshine. In the Pacific Northwest where winters are grey and rainy, a large yellow flower print will brighten your day and bring happiness to your life. For some reason, green is linked to safety. People with lots of plants and flowers in their home feel very comfortable. Before choosing the flower print, think about the meaning of color and you will make a more informed decision.
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH FLOWERS
While flowers look better in the bright sunshine, this does not produce great images. Look for diffused light so no shadows are cast across the petals. Get closer to the flower. Taking a photo from eye level doesn’t show the details. Put the flower at the minimum focus distance of lens so it’s as large as possible. Flower photography is harder than I thought. The background is just as important as the subject. You don’t want the background to distract from the flower. Using a shallow depth of field like f2.8 or f4 helps blur the background (bokeh) so it’s not part of the subject. Just a nice, soft color. Don’t make everything in focus. Only a small part of the flower needs to be in focus. This could be the edge of a petal or the center of the flower. Try many angles. If you have to photograph one flower for 20 minutes, then that’s what it takes. Spend as much time as needed to get the shots you want. Oh yeah, watch out for the wind. Wait for a calm day.
As spring passes and many of the flowers are gone, in the Pacific Northwest, August is the time for wildflowers to bloom. With so many locations in the Cascade Mountains, finding wildflowers is easy. But, on the east side of the mountains, wildflowers bloom in June with the warmer and drier climate. But, you must hike to the flowers since they are at the higher elevations. Fields of Lupine, Anenomes, Avalanche Lillies, just to name a few. What a better way to get away from the hustle of the city, breathe some fresh mountain air and let your worries wash away than to hike to mountain wildflowers. When I was photographing the wildflowers of Mount Rainier last August, I forgot my troubles and focused on the flowers, scenery, and the amazing Pacific Northwest.
TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS
It's not often I drive north to the Skagit Valley for the tulip festival in April every year. This year I have a few new lenses for this so I made the drive a couple times. With so many shapes and colors, I could spend hours in one tulip field. A few tips and tricks for tulips. Don't photograph the entire field. Choose one or two and get real close to those. Fill the frame with the tulip. Get low and have the sky as the background. Avoid windy days. Choose the right lens. A macro or telephoto work the best. Use a wide aperture. If everything is in focus, the subject loses importance. Shooting up close with a macro or telephoto, a soft background or "bokeh" adds drama to the image. If you want to photograph the entire field, have a couple tulips in the foreground as the main subjects so people know they are tulips. If you photograph the tulip field from eye level and far away, it will look like colored lines in a dirt field.
Fine art flower photographic prints have the same affect as real flowers except for the smell, pollen, allergies, just to name a few. But the prints last for decades if done correctly. Flowers brighten the landscape and the home with their colors and shapes. Always stop to smell the roses or any other flower that is near by. It will brighten your day. Give someone flowers has a gift just to show appreciation. Purchase fine art flower prints like the ones in the galleries to bring joy to family and friends for decades to come.