Sometimes you just have to jump on the bandwagon to revitalise your photo mojo..
I’ve been seeing stunning macro photos of flowers, bees, food items, and other funky things on my Instagram feed for a few days now and as a result, I’ve been itching to take my own. But what to use as subject?
Well, it was a no-brainer really. Dandelions are littering meadows and gardens at the moment, and their intricate and fine detail make for excellent macro subjects. I wanted to do something a bit different though, rather than just photographing the heads, or zooming in on individual seeds, attached, or loosely hanging off the head.
A fellow German photographer in the UK, Oliver Herbold, who I’ve been following on Instagram for some time and whose photos are simply brilliant, gave me the final bit of inspiration I needed. I’ve been watching his YouTube tutorials and especially loved his most recent creative photographic take on the dandelion seed – check it out here. I usually overthink little projects like this massively, so watching his video and seeing what can be achieved with some really simple tools and techniques was really helpful and inspiring.
Unfortunately I still didn’t have half of the props Oliver was using, so I had to be inventive.. All I knew was, I wanted the seeds to reflect and sit on a background that was interesting and colourful.
Before I knew it, my kitchen table was littered with camera equipment, lights, papers, foil, and a variety of reflective surfaces. Initially, my mobile phone seemed to be the perfect dark mirror to place the dandelion seeds on, but I quickly noticed that you’re then limited to quite a narrow surface, providing little flexibility. Also, every little movement you make creates just a tiny bit of air movement, enough to move the seeds off the phone screen. It was just too much of a faff. (I also didn’t realise quite how scratched my phone is until I found myself editing out a million impurities in a couple of images later that day)
So I ended up using my 1500mm NiSi 6-stop filter. Not entirely how it’s intended to be used, but hey, you have to work with what you’ve got 😉
I went through a variety of “scenes” and arrangements, seemingly unable to work out how to make the background interesting. Oliver was using colour gels for his images, but alas, something else I don’t have in my photo toolbox (yet). It wasn’t until I decided to change camera angle, that I noticed the outside world (i.e. the shrubs and trees around my kitchen patio) reflecting in the filter! Hooray! I found the interest I was looking for, and it was all a good distance away to not get in the way of the actual dandelion composition.
Unfortunately by this point it was the time of day when the light at the front of the house was going fast, so I didn’t get as many shots as I had hoped. But I did come out of this motivated and with a few more ideas how to make the images more interesting, so as soon as I have a chance I’m going to have another go! Watch this space 🙂