March 30, 2011

Photo of the Week: Mar. 30, 2011

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: In my workshops, I instruct students how to build a photograph by assembling elements around the subject. A strong subject can stand on its own, but carefully incorporating foreground and background features can elevate an image to a higher level of sophistication and, hopefully, create a greater impact on and appreciation by the viewer.

This week's photo of a blue lupine amid a field of yellow mustard is another in the "If at first you don't succeed" series. On Givat HaTurmosim (Lupine Hill) in the Ela Valley, the inaccurately named blue lupines (I hope they look purple to you as well) grow abundantly amid mustard on the hill's southern slope. I've tried in the past to take a shot of a single purple flower floating in the sea of yellow, knowing that these complementary colors will bring out the best in each other. This image exceeded my previous results for several reasons.

First, by using a very shallow depth of field, the mustard flowers closest to and furthest from the point of focus fall into an extreme blur, filling the entire frame with a soft yellow wash. Secondly, by a small stroke of luck, the nearest mustard flower occupies an area in the center of the green leaves of the plant stem, so that the leaves remain visible but slightly obscured, perfect for their reduced level of importance in the photo. Finally, the angle of the main flower and her supporting cast conveys a sense of swaying in the breeze, which is often the case. The pieces all fall into place to deliver their visual punch.

Technical Data: Nikon D700, 70-200mm zoom lens at 170 mm, f4@ 1/2000th sec., ISO 320.