Some thoughts on photographic style, in particular, my attraction to very shallow depth of field. With the majority of the image blurred to one degree or another, it’s a look that certainly won’t appeal to everyone and may leave some to wonder … Does this guy know how to use a camera or is he just lazy. I do and I’m not (At least when it comes to photography). I’m simply drawn to this blurry world because it removes the subject from the conventional way in which we see it. If I wanted to experience with all of the minute detail surrounding a flower, a seed catalog would work well (And there is some stunning photography in seed catalogs). But I prefer to keep things new and fresh.
Part of the excitement of doing closeup plant photography is discovering a world unavailable to the human eye. My eyes are somewhere around f/32, so even if I get really, really close, I still see tons of detail. Through the viewfinder … well that’s a landscape I’ve never experienced before and one that I find very dreamlike. The ‘blurred’ image also helps me to move beyond preconceptions. If I see a photo of a hosta with everything in sharp focus, my mind automatically registers ‘hosta’ and all I see is a hosta. The soft world of selective focus on the other hand exposes my eye to new shapes, forms, geometry, and tones that I couldn’t experience anywhere but through the lens.
Don’t get me wrong. I love images full of tack sharp detail. Architectural photography demands it and I usually prefer my landscapes with a healthy serving of resolution. But when it comes to flowers … I’m a sucker for soft and dreamy.
For those interested in the tech stuff … Canon 1Ds III, 100 2.8 macro with Canon 500D closeup lens, shot wide open. The only blur added in post was to the very bottom corners left and right.