Canon EOS 5D ,Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 Macro II USM
1/30s f/11.0 at 105.0mm iso800
We saw an interesting bromeliad at the Botanical Building in San Diego’s Balboa Park. I was intrigued by the spiked flower with a shape that reminded me of the sapphire tower in the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.
I was struggling to come up with a good composition, which is tricky since the flower spikes point in all directions. Not satisfied with my attempts, I finally thought of trying to shoot straight down onto the flower.
Looking at the EXIF info (1/30s at 105mm), I must say I was probably somewhat lucky to get a sharp image. Conventional wisdom says to use a shutter speed at least as fast as the inverse of the focal length, so at 105mm I should have used 1/125s or faster (e.g. 1/250s). Image stabilization (IS) found on many lenses these days gives you a couple of extra stops of hand holding capability, but the lens I used didn’t have IS.
Just about the only thing I did in post processing was to darken the border of the image and brighten the center to help draw the eye towards the colorful flower and diminish any distraction from the background. There are many ways of doing this, but currently my favorite and most convenient way is the “Darken/Lighten Center” filter in Color Efex Pro.
Wonderful natural kaleidoscope!!!
For a bromeliad, the shooting angle is definitely an unorthodox photographic choice. If we didn’t see a little of the green leaves, we might even believe this is a sea creature! A definite plus for this angle is that it amasses bits of the same color together, and makes the two dominant colors more vibrant than they would have been otherwise.