“Redbud in Spring” by Robin Conover Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 100–400 mm fl4.5–5.6 L IS USM lens at 270 mm, ISO 800, fl11 at 1/60 second, Gitzo tripod
I love seeing the landscape come alive every spring. As the days grow warmer and longer, the landscape responds in kind. Nature begins to transform from winter’s gray pallette to subtle shades of green and dots of pink and purple before exploding into a pallette that Georges Seurat or Claude Monet could have created.
It’s as if nature becomes a pointalist, delicately painting dots of brilliant color, one at a time, each day adding more color than the day before across the landscape.
Some of the earliest blooms you’ll see across Tennessee are courtesy of the Eastern redbud tree. These in particular put on quite a show in late March and early April with countless tiny, bright-pink blooms.
As photographers, we have anywhere from three to six weeks, depending on the weather and the region, to capture the spring bloom with the peak lasting only a week or two. The tools I use to record nature’s spring fever don’t include a canvas, paint or a paintbrush but rather a camera, lens and tripod.
For this image, I wanted to show the brilliant color of the redbud blooms against the gray trees. This was shot early on a slightly overcast morning when the breeze was still. The soft light helped the tree stand out from its surroundings. More-direct sunlight would have rendered the scene too contrasty.
I chose a long telephoto lens to accentuate a shallow depth of field and throw the trees in the background partially out of focus. Truthfully, this image could have benefitted from slightly less depth of field with the background trees more out of focus. That exposure would have been something more like fl5.6 at 1/250 seconds. A higher shutter speed and lower f-stop equals less depth of field. The reverse is also true: A slower shutter speed and higher f-stop equals more depth of field.
Whether you’re focusing on landscapes or a single bloodroot blossom this spring, find your own pallette as nature awakens around you this year.