Tulip Mania

The front porch is full of tulips. Beautiful. And we will have Vancouver-type weather (i.e. rain) for the next seven days so I shot a few snaps while I could.

Tulips in the front garden

Tulips in the front garden

I used a macro lens.Handheld, which is bad. And I used the light you should never use: direct sunlight. And yet, I wanted a few pics.

So what are my strategies to deal with this? here are some of them.

Shoot close up. Use a macro (Nikon: “Micro”) lens if you can and capture detail.

Tulips in the front garden - detail

Tulip sex organs

Select a small enough aperture. A small “F-number” like 5.6 or 4.0 will give you way too restricted depth of field. You may need to shoot at f/8, f/11 or even f/16 or sometimes beyond.

Tulip (Photo: Michael Willems)


Watch the wind. Shield the flowers from it, or shoot when they are momentarily still.

Use a high enough ISO. That way you can get the shutter speed up to, say, 1/500th of a second, while keeping a nice small aperture.

Shoot through the flower if you can. Nice saturated colour will result, instead of washed-out overexposed colour.

Tulips in the front garden

Tulips in the front garden

Watch the backgrounds. Simple is good. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Select contrasting colours. Red and green. Or colours that go very well together like purple and green, my favourite combo.

Tulips and background (Photo: Michael Willems)

Tulips and background

Wait for a rain shower. Gentle spring rain looks good:

Gentle Spring Rain (Photo: Michael Willems)

Gentle Spring Rain

Alternately, do not wait. I have two secret words for you. Spray bottle, and water mixed with glycerine (available from any drugstore). OK, that’s six words.

Gentle Spring Rain (Photo: Michael Willems)

Gentle Spring Rain

Go on, go have some fun. Even if you live in Vancouver – sunlight bad, overcast good, for flowers.


2 thoughts on “Tulip Mania

  1. Pingback: Daily Digest For Thursday, May 12, 2011 | Henry's Photo Club

  2. Michael,

    I enjoyed two of your shows on Friday: portrait and macro lens. What proportion of glycerine to water would you recommend?


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