Wildflower Riot and a Macro Filter

Yes, I am fully aware that “real” photographers turn up their noses at taking pictures of flowers.  I don’t care.  When I see a profusion of color that occurs for only a short time each year, I’m bound and determined to capture it.  And this year, I’m determined to capture it up close.

After yesterday’s hike at Cave Creek, I was a little disappointed in the way most of my close-ups turned out, using the programmed setting on the camera.  It just happened that when I checked yesterday’s mail (this morning), the latest issue of “Popular Photography” had arrived, and there’s an article specifically written about shooting wildflowers.  Serendipity?? I think so!!

The article recommended getting up close and shooting in macro (either with a macro lens, and extender tube, or a filter).  It just happened that I had a set of macro filters left over from my old Nikon 6006 film camera days, so I was good to go.  And I knew just the location where I wanted to shoot.  There’s a vacant lot at the corner of 39th and Dunlap Avenues in Phoenix where the wildflowers are in full bloom right now.  I waited until about 4:30 this afternoon so the light would be a little softer, and then I dragged Andy off with me to shoot some flowers.

Vacant lot at 39th and Dunlap Avenues, Phoenix

The photo above was taken just to show part of the lot where I did my shooting for today.  The real fun was getting down on my hands and knees with my butt in the air, taking photos up close and personal with these little yellow and orange beauties.

I started off with just the normal lens (18-55mm), taking care to make sure that my shadow didn’t hit the flowers I was shooting.  There was a pretty good breeze blowing, and it made it a little difficult to focus at times, but I used a fairly high shutter speed to try and freeze the motion of the bloom.  I tried to keep the depth of field open enough to include as much of the bloom as possible, and still have some blurriness in the background.

I then moved on to some shots using the +2 and +4 macro filters, and was pleasantly surprised at how they came out.    Here are some of my favorites:

I uploaded my favorite dozen to my Flickr page in the set “Wildflower Riot“–original title, huh?  Please take a look and let me know which ones you like best!  I haven’t done any post-processing on any of them, but I may play around with some of them this week–however, I’m very pleased with them just the way they are!

Only downside to today was that I was wearing my Cardinals long-sleeved t-shirt with the white sleeves.  I came away with purple and green stains on my elbows after getting some of these shots, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.  (Spray-n-Wash, don’t fail me now!)




  1. I really like 02, 05, and 12 (05 the most). I’m a huge fan of shallow DOF, and you really hit it in my opinion. The bokeh is very appealing to my eye.

  2. Good for you Zann! I also enjoy taking photos of flowers very much and I don’t care if someone turns up their noses at my photos.
    Your photos are great and, with all the rains we’ve had this year, the wild flowers are quite abundant!
    Don’t leave home without your camera…

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