06.02.24: White iris petals

In this case, color wasn’t the focus. All I saw were whites and off-whites. Instead I was working with various textures and shapes and light and shadows.

The challenge of capturing a lack of color

When I have my camera and see a flower in an interesting setting I’m often attracted by the colors I’ll capture in the scene.

But in this case I was attracted by the challenge.

We have a collection of white irises that bloom each spring beside our house. I happened to walk past them one afternoon and liked how the light was covering the scene so I grabbed my camera and tried to get some shots.

Often when I’m photographing flowers I’m trying to capture the various hues in the colors. After all, it’s the colors that make flowers so attractive.

In this case, color wasn’t the focus. All I saw were whites and off-whites. Instead I was working with various textures and shapes and light and shadows.

I ended up getting a nice collection of photos of the petals, although some — like this one — did show touches of yellow or purplish-blue deep in the flower. But I particularly liked how this photo showed the veins in the falls (the lower petal on an iris) with the beard (the fuzzy "caterpillar" extending down the falls) framed by the standards (the upper petals on an iris).

I was using a macro (or close-up) lens for this photo. I don’t often get the opportunity to put a macro lens on my camera to get photographs of flowers. Most of the flower photos in my files were taken while I’m out photographing wildlife, so I’m about 15 feet from the plants using a telephoto lens.

But for this photo I used my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8. A macro lens allows a photographer to get very close to the subject, capturing detail that may be missed in photos captured from a distance.

This shot was handheld on a breezy day, which made shooting macro images difficult. A slight movement by the flower looks like a big movement when the camera and lens are close.

Close view of a white iris, Hilliard, Ohio.

Close view of a white iris, Hilliard, Ohio.

Tech specs

  • Date/time: May 30, 2005 2:19 PM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 20D
  • Lens: 100.0 mm 
  • Focal length: 100mm
  • Aperture: f/13
  • Shutter: 1/320 second
  • ISO: 400

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