This morning I had hoped to see and photograph a Green Heron that was reported to be just a few miles from where I live, Green Herons aren’t common here so it would have been fun to photograph it. While I was waiting I took images of other birds in the area but there weren’t all that many that were close so I looked around for more subjects.
Large groups of Teasels (Dipsacus fullonum); an introduced “weed”, caught my eye in the early morning light and rather than just wait around for the Green Heron to show up I started focusing my attention on the plants. I know that they are weeds, I know that many people hate them but I find their shape, texture and structure interesting and I decided to play with the light to see what results I could achieve.
The image above had frontal light plus a light-colored background. I set my aperture at f14 hoping to get the two closest Teasels sharply in focus, the depth of field didn’t quite work because the smaller teasel is some what soft. I probably should have gone with f18 but I like the resulting image.
Then I looked around and selected a group of Teasels that had a darker background with frontal light and happened to find one with a bee on it. Since the two main Teasels were about in the same plane of focus I selected an aperture of f6.3 which resulted in both of them being in focus. I quite liked the darker background in these frames.
Teasel – Frontal light – very dark background
This Teasel then drew my attention, it leaned away from the main group and thus is was easy to isolate plus it had a very dark background with frontal light which appealed to me so I moved my tripod again. I really liked what I saw through my viewfinder.
I know that many photographers are taught to shoot with the light behind you and that many of them wouldn’t consider taking back lit images but I kind of enjoy the challenges difficult lighting conditions and the rather dramatic results that can be obtained. I also will; whenever the mood strikes me, ignore the advice of “shoot with the light over your shoulder” and just do what I want to do.
This image is a bit on the busy side but I enjoy the textures of the Teasels, the bright bristles along the stem and the specular highlights in the background caused by the rest of the bristles on the stems of the other plants.
The Green Heron still hadn’t shown up so I kept photographing the Teasels, I searched out a group of back lit Teasels with a dark background. The back lit spiky flower heads and the whisker-like bristles along the stems seem to glow when the light is from the back. I really wanted to run my fingers over them to see what they felt like, I’m not sure why I didn’t. You can bet I will next time!
My eyes fell on this clump of back lit Teasels with a brighter colored background and I knew I just had to move my tripod over to them to see what I could create, I’m glad that I did. I like the mood the brighter background lent to this image and how it accentuated the egg-shaped flower cones.
The Green Heron never did show up this morning and although I wish that it had, I still had fun… Playing with Light!