I absolutely love this time of year! Why? Because the meadows and roadside ditches are brimming with great things to photograph – wildflowers! The Daisies and Brown-eyed Susans are pretty much done, but ’tis the season for Queen Anne’s Lace, Milkweeds, and Purple Loosestrife. And the goldenrods are not quite at full bloom, but are nearly there. Wow! A photographic smorgasbord! When we hit wildflower season, I’m out as often as I can, in any weather, to try my hand at capturing images that convey what I love most about this time of year and all of the wildflowers in bloom.
It’s tempting to drive up to a field filled with Purple Loosestrife and Queen Anne’s Lace and take a photo of the meadow. And sometimes that works well, especially if you can look for the ‘geometry’ in the colours created by the patches of wildflowers. But what I love is to get creative and try doing very different things, such as using a soft-focus approach, or using a long lens to isolate only a small patch of flowers. I love abstracts and photo-impressionism and so for me, this time of year is pure heaven! Try some multiple exposures or image overlays. Wildflowers are the perfect subjects for these techniques.
The other great thing about having all these beautiful flowers around is that they attract a multitude of insects. This is especially true of the yellow Goldenrods. We have some growing along the margin of our front lawn and they are just crawling with insects – flies, wasps, katydids, ladybugs, and phymatids – these prehistoric and angry-looking little armored insects that lie in wait and ambush their prey (such as flies and wasps) when they come to collect nectar or pollen from the flowers.
Here is a collection of images from my field forays to photograph wildflowers.
Sedges in flower create a texture with their green leaves and dark flowers. Set amongst the Purple Loosestrife, they create plenty of opportunity to get creative.
I love throwing the image out of focus to create this soft look. Photographers who believe rules should be followed would hate this. The rules say you should have at least something in your image that is in focus. Forget that! Just shoot, have fun, and create whatever tickles your brain!
Flowering Sedges set against the soft purple background of Purple Loosestrife.
Here, I used an image overlay to create a more ethereal feel. I like the way the white Queen Anne's Lace pops out of the background.
Here, I used a long lens to isolate a small portion of the meadow and let the colours create the geometry.
In this case, I framed much the same image as the one above, but this time used multiple exposure to create a photo-impressionistic look.
Similar to the one above, but using more exposures to create a softer look.
Meadows this time of year are full of spider webs. It's worth getting up early on a 'dewy' morning to photograph them in the morning light.
The colour of the Purple Loosestrife helps these dewy cobwebs stand out.
A bit heavier processing here punched up the blues and brown and made this spider web stand out.
Queen Anne's Lace is one of my favourite flowers.
By positioning my macro lens right into the flower head, I managed to capture some interesting abstract images.
Creating a radial pattern by getting my lens right up into the flower head.
Goldenrod paints the meadows yellow this time of year.
I love abstracting these flowers by getting in close.
Goldenrod flowers attract a multitude of insects, such as this Ctenuchid moth.
Ladybugs roam Goldenrod flower heads in search of juicy aphids to eat!