Spring Wildflowers are (finally) here!

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Articles | No Comments

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_DSC3182Yeah! Wildflower season has finally started- about 10 days late! I went out looking for my little friends today and found plenty. Here in the Northeast the flowers that are now out are the very first ones- coltsfoots along the roadsides and hepatica and Dutchman’s britches in the woods.

I wasn’t really intending to photograph- there was just enough wind to make the flowers quiver but I knew that these early wildflowers wouldn’t last long so I cranked up my ISO and blasted away. I’m glad I did. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain and the rain drops can ruin these delicate blossoms.

These first flowers are called Spring ephemerals because they only flower in the time between the snow being gone and the leaves not yet out on the trees. That short period of time puts some strong constraints on the growth and reproduction strategies. Many ephemerals will flower first and then put out their leaves when the first tree leaves come out and some will take years in between flowering. The trout lily only flowers every 7 years- it takes that long for it to build up enough energy to produce a flower.

I spent my time photographing hepatica. The secret to these nice shots is not equipment or technique. Sorry, too easy. The secret to get these nice shots is to find the very best subject to photograph. I was in an area about an acre in size and there were beautiful hepaticas all over the place. The secret to get your best shot is to spend time looking. That’s right, not photographing but initially looking.

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_DSC3208No really, that is the secret. I spent at least 45 minutes wandering around looking for the best flowers to photograph. When I found ones that I really liked and that had perfect flowers and nice backgrounds I marked them with a stick and kept going. I selected 4 clumps and got nice shots of each one.

Too many photographers start to photograph the very first subject they find. Instead, drop your camera bag, stuff your hands in your pockets and wander around looking for the best subject. The time you spend wandering will pay big dividends. It is the quickest way to great images.