HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Stroll through a field of wildflowers and there are thousands of picture possibilities. How do I decide where to stop and point my camera? One approach I take is building on what I've done in the past. When I encounter a subject for the second or third time, I look for ways to capture it anew, such as this photo of a Cyclamen in its early growth stages. Cyclamen or Rakefet in Hebrew, are also known as "Solomon's Fire" because they grow like burning fire, their flame-like petals shooting upward, often clustered around rocks or at the base of trees.
If you get out early enough in the season – as in right now – you will see the cyclamen in various stages of growth in forests and fields alike. The biggest difficulty for the photographer is that they grow very low to the ground. This requires a belly-flop shot, lying prone with the base of the camera pressed against the ground, in this case in the vertical mode. It is nearly impossible from this position to see through the viewfinder, so I relied on the camera's autofocus feature to lock on the subject. With my Nikons, I can move the focus point around the frame, selecting the position where I believe the best focal point is located. Composing in the dark is more difficult. I chose an angle which presented the flower with side light and played around with its height so that the petals are framed by the darker greenery in the background.
TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D700, handheld, manual exposure, spot metering mode, f4.5 at 1/2000th sec., ISO 400. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 28-105 mm zoom in macro mode at 105mm. Date: Mar. 7, 2011, 8:24 a.m. Location: Ela Valley (south of Beit Shemesh), Israel.