• Mark Reeves

Week 2 - finding the essence of a subject

Yesterday I went to a botanical gardens near to my home. It was bright and sunny and I went with the expectation that the strong light would give me good colours and contrasts to work with.

I know the gardens well and headed off to a woodland and wetland area for my first images. But on the way I passed a group of ferns that really caught my eye. There was a bench nearby so, mindful of this exercise, I sat in the sun to contemplate the ferns. What was it that attracted me to them? Being newly grown, their green was very intense in the bright sun. Also being young ferns, their leaves were perfectly formed and well defined, creating sharp edges and contrasts of jagged teeth. As the sun passed through the leaves, it gave the colours a great luminescence.

What did I want to capture in order to convey the plants in front of me? Firstly, I decided I wanted the jagged shapes of the leaves and secondly I wanted the luminescence of the sun passing through them. I wanted a simple, graphic image but the arrangement of the ferns meant that there was no clear, simple background so a wide aperture was necessary to separate the subject from the messy background. Going in for a close up, I wanted a nice crisp image so used a tripod. And finally, I decided to add some glow to my subject by means of a double exposure, with the second exposure deliberately defocused.

And here is the result....

Ferns: 1/2700 sec, f4.8, 200mm, ISO 200.

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