“Dogwood Blossom” by Robin Conover Canon EOS 5D Mark IV EF 180 mm, 2.8 L macro lens at 180 mm ISO 640, fl11 at ½50th of a second, Gitzo tripod
Being homebound and socially isolated for the month of April presented limitations as well as opportunities for me as a nature photographer. Even though everything about our personal and work lives seemed out of sorts, spring arrived just as it always does. For the last several weeks, a colorful wave of blooming wildflowers and trees has washed across Tennessee as I’ve been stuck at home. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “The Earth laughs in flowers,” particularly spoke to me this year as I’ve felt isolated but also thankful for the time at home. I have enjoyed walking in my yard and neighborhood every day and allowing myself to observe more closely and thoroughly the seasonal changes.
I’ve also had several “socially distanced” conversations with neighbors with whom I had lost touch through the years of traffic and long work weeks in the office. That’s been a welcome change.
Observing the changing season led to a few weeks passing between the first delicate buds on my redbud and dogwood trees to their being in full bloom. During that time, I enjoyed several photography sessions with closeup viewpoints.
I chose a 180 mm macro lens to document this spring. A macro allows you to get very close to the subject, photographing details you might not otherwise see. In this image of a single dogwood bloom, the macro lens’s shallow depth of field caused the background to completely blur, forcing the viewer to focus on the single bloom and all its detail.
Controlling the background and the depth of field are two techniques photographers frequently use to make stronger compositions and images.
While this month has been completely out of the ordinary and an unplanned respite in some ways, I’m looking forward to getting back to normal. But that normal may just become a new normal with more time for smelling and photographing the flowers.
It’s been comforting to know that no matter what else is going on, in nature, all things are new again every spring.