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Wildflower photography

Connie Cassinetto (Via the Lens)

Keywords: nikon, z7, wildflower, d500, connie, cassinetto, via, the, lens

Spring has sprung here in the U.S., although I know that it may not be spring for everyone reading this article. If it’s not spring where you are it will be at some point so read on and you can tuck this information away for that day. Along with spring comes an opportunity to photograph wildflowers, which just happens to be a subject I really enjoy photographing.  I think, however, that getting a good photograph of a wildflower can be a difficult goal to reach. Each time I go out to shoot wildflowers I find that getting the scene the way I want it is a challenge.  And, I suppose, what makes a “good” wildflower image is up for personal interpretation, too.  

For me, a good image of a wildflower focuses on the wildflower as the subject, not the surrounding foliage. It shows off the color of the flower in a pleasing way, and it makes an impact upon viewing, among other things.  And, I tend to like my wildflowers up close and personal to some degree but I have not been able to master getting just part of the flower so I generally include the whole flower in the image, always trying to find the most pleasing overall view.  I’m generally aware of the background when photograph wildflowers but sometimes I’ll do some sort of processing on the background to create a more artistic look.

Shooting Star with a Background Image
This Shooting Star wildflower was shot using a Nikon Z7 24-70 lens at 1/250 second at f/4, ISO 640, focal length 70mm. I added a background image that I purchased from I combined the two images using Adobe Photoshop
Click for an enlargement


Southern California had a wonderful super bloom this year but I was unable to get to any of the locations.  I’ve seen many beautiful wide landscape type shots of colorful hillsides but I I’ve primarily focused on the close shot when I went out looking for wildflower shots, including my very favorite subject, the California poppy.  I think the California Poppy is very photogenic and poppy images are among my favorites.  Some other wildflower images I’ve shot this year include a flower called a Fairy Lantern, also known as the White Globe Lily which is native and limited to California, and Shooting Stars, which seems to be the first wildflower to show up in the foothills where I live. 

Fairy Lantern
This Fairy Lantern, also called a White Globe Lily, was shot on a trail by my home. The trail is covered with them so I walked along and looked for some composition that might work out well. This flower was shot with a Nikon Z7 24-70 lens at 1/100 sec at f/9 with an ISO of 640 and a 70mm focal length. I choose the f/9 aperture in an attempt to ensure some sharpness in both flowers.
Click for an enlargement


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Connie Cassinetto (Via the Lens) on May 17, 2019

Ribbon awarded for her valuable contributions to the Articles Section.

Hi Kevin, yes, I have used a macro lens. I have the Nikon 105mm and I have used it on occasion and I love the lens. If I were going to really zero in on just one part of the flower I would definitely use the macro. I have used it in the past to shoot wildflowers outside to get close-up shots but have found it somewhat difficult to control in an outdoor environment where wind can be an issue. And, it does depend on what I want the outcome to be. Just recently I shot Dogwood in Yosemite and I used a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens because I knew the flowers would all be far away. I've had good luck with the macro photographing flowers inside the house. But, that's just me. Maybe there are too many choices!

Kevin Hoag (Grandpaparazi) on May 13, 2019

Thank you for another really fine article. It certainly inspires me to get down on the flowers' level and see what I can do. I noticed that all of your examples used zoom lenses, and I was surprised to see a wildflower article with no mention of macros. Do you use a macro in any of your wildflower photography? What pros and cons do you see? Thank you again, Kevin