Katherine Hodgkin Iris © 2012 Patty Hankins
What can I say – I love SPRING!!!! I think it may be my favorite time of year. The days get longer, the temperatures start warming up, the sun shines more — and the flowers start blooming.
Spring came early to the Washington DC area this year. Flowers are blooming 2-3 weeks ahead of usual – so the daffodils bloomed in February and March – and the Virginia bluebells bloomed in March. What’s great fun is that I never quite know what to expect to find this year – since things are blooming on such a different schedule.
If you like to photograph spring flowers I have a few tips that will hopefully help you enjoy this spring as much as I am.
White Trout Lily © 2012 Patty Hankins
Photograph frequently. I’ve found that heading out several times a week to photograph actually helps me relax and really helps my photography. It’s much easier to get right back into the flow of photographing if I’ve been out in the preceding days. I pretty much know what to expect of when to head out, what sorts of flowers are likely to be blooming, and where the best spots are. I’m also comfortable with my camera and tripod so can focus on what I’m photographing rather than getting reacquainted with my gear.
Pink Charm Daffodil © 2012 Patty Hankins
Be selective. Don’t feel like you have to photograph every type of flower or wildflower you see on a given photo shoot. Instead, take your time and if something catches your eye and it takes you 30 minutes to photograph it the way you want to – that’s fine.
These days – I often only photograph 3 or 4 types of flowers on any given photo shoot – rather than the 10 – 15 that I used to photograph. This way I make sure I get the photo that captures what I want to say about the flower rather than getting home and saying gee I wish I’d spent more time with that flower.
Bloodroot © 2012 Patty Hankins
Follow your intuition. When I head to photograph, I usually have an idea of what I’m going to see. I have learned, however, not to be so determined to photograph a particular flower, that I miss other opportunities. I’ve learned to listen to that little voice inside me that says – head that way – or keep driving. When I do, I frequently find something unexpected and wonderful to photograph.
Daydream Tulips © 2012 Patty Hankins
Practice mindfulness. Since taking George DeWolfe’s Contemplative Landscape workshop, I’ve started practicing mindfulness as I photograph. Without getting into a long discussion of what this means – it comes down to slowing down, being aware of not only what’s in front of me, but also around me, and taking to think before taking the photo. I’ll also take a few slower breaths just to help myself focus.
As I’ve started practicing mindfulness while photographing, I’ve noticed that I’m taking in information and experiencing where I am using all of my senses – rather than just sight. I’m noticing more of nature’s sounds, smells and textures as I photograph.
Saucer Magnolia © 2012 Patty Hankins
These types of practices are helping me to relax and enjoy photographing more than I ever have. I’m also taking some of the best flower photographs I’ve taken.
If you’d like to learn more about some of these practices and how you can incorporate them into your own photography, please join me for my Capturing Nature’s Peaceful Beauty Workshop in June.