Wild British Flora

Whilst doing the Photographic Walks illustrated in the two portfolios here, it became more and more difficult to ignore the quiet, effortless beauty of wild flowers. So many photographers work with flowers that I suppose I've been afraid to tackle the subject for fear of cliché. In the end, I decided to push this demon aside and simply try to explore the subject in an artistic way. This is the first of two portfolios exploring wild flowers, the second one being the Lumen images.

Technical considerations:
So that these don't just look like record shots, I've decided to use prime lenses in order to introduce the simple classic look that I wanted. I tried many fancy lenses to give me the look that I was trying to create and eventually settled on 3 of the best; the Olympus 60mm macro, the manual Olympus Pen f 40mm f1.4 and its 45mm f1.8 modern equivalent together with the Olympus MCON-P02 Macro Converter. The images here are shot using these three. The Oly 60mm is exceptionally sharp (see the dandelion seed head) but it is expensive. The little 38mm and 40mm Pen f lenses are still cheap on eBay (from Japan) and have a beautiful "analogue" bokeh that is difficult to replicate. The Oly macro attachment is unbelievable for the price (£50). It's tiny, weighs nothing and screws onto the front filter thread of any 37mm, 43mm or 46mm filter size (that means it will fit many different lenses) and produces great quality images. It works wonderfully with the 45mm f1.8 lens to produce sharp images with velvety dreamy backgrounds (look at the first 3 images).

NB: If you want to use focus stacking or focus bracketing to give a larger depth of field with a soft blurred background as I have on the first 4 flowers then unless you are going to do it manually, you will need one of the later models of Olympus cameras (I'm using the EM10 Mark II). It works well on the auto setting using the Oly 60mm macro lens or the 45mm f1.8. You can always do it manually and that works fine. I usually take between 6 and 10 images and Photoshop will stack the individual images into one but it is quicker to use Helicon Focus (as I do). On a reasonably still day, you can do this hand-held in a stable position such as lying down but a small tripod is helpful.
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