10084. Narcissus, Arkansas

10084. Narcissus, Arkansas

Spring is only a few days old, so most plants have only just started to bloom. One of the plants that has sprouted is the Narcissus. I was able to capture the above image of a Narcissus plant yesterday at Wildwood Park for the Arts which boasts the largest botanical garden in central Arkansas and features a number of gardens, including the Zahn Rock Garden, the Boop Water Garden, and the Butler Arboretum.

The photograph turned out well, but I faced several challenges to get it. First, the park’s open hours are not exactly photographer friendly, and I was there at mid-afternoon on a sunny day. This is the worst possible photographic lighting because it creates very flat images, extreme contrast, and washed out colors. The second challenge I had was that the day was very windy. Shooting wildflowers when it is windy is almost an act in futility and requires an extreme amount of patience as you wait for that split second lull that will allow you to get a sharp image. Even the slightest breeze can cause the image to be blurred. While such blurring can occasionally be desirable and artistic, most of the time it results in a photograph destined to be deleted.

I was able to overcome these challenges by using a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 second to offset any blur caused by the wind. This shutter speed also allowed me to use f/8 as the aperture. The larger aperture, combined with a 400mm lens, gave me the added benefit of a shallower depth of field which throws the background out of focus so it doesn’t detract from the flowers in the foreground. Once everything was set, it was then just a matter of waiting for the wind to momentarily die down long enough for the flowers to become motionless. Once I got home, I imported the image file into Lightroom where I was able to adjust the contrast and increase the saturation to mitigate the poor lighting.

Settings:  Canon 5D Mk II, 400mm, 1/1000 sec, f/8