|Two inexpensive older digital camera|
A simple tripod is highly advised for achieving the sharpest images and will help to increase the quality of your photographs because automatic settings that "adjust" for hand shake can only go so far to compensate. Quality used tripods can be found in second hand stores for very little money, so do not be alarmed at the price of that fancy new one, but do make sure the removable "pad" that is used to attach the camera is included.
Before you snap that shutter...
Note the difference between the two images of this stand of Lilium pardalinum? The right hand photograph is more enjoyable with the scoop shovel and old stump because you can see just how tall the stems are growing in the garden. [Most photos will enlarge if you click on them. -dg]
|Lilium pardalinum growing in a garden in Port Orchard, WA|
|Same 'Mrs. R.O. Backhouse' - cloudy day.|
|See the pollen on it's tummy?|
#3 - Wind is not your friend. On a pleasant day wind generally comes in gusts, so with a simple point and shoot camera, hold down the shutter button part way to set the focus (use a tripod if you can't hold still) and wait until the wind has quieted down. The beauty of digital is that you can keep repeating the shot until you have a winner. In the old days of slide film, it became rather expensive to toss out blurry slides when they came back from the photo lab.
|Unlabeled Asiatic lily.|
This yellow lily is well balanced, but the open flower is out of focus; it would have been better to change the angle of the camera to put both the buds and the flowers the same distance from the lens, which would not have changed the look of the background trees or the meadow grasses.
#5 - Last check. Are there brown leaves or stems, bird droppings on the leaves, weeds, or your shoes showing in the camera lens frame? Move them - or you - before you press the shutter. Are there pollen grains on the petals that make the flower look less "fresh"? A soft artist paintbrush on a dry day can be used to gently brush off pollen if it hasn't already stained the petals from overhead watering and rainfall. Do you like what is framed on the camera? Would it be better from another angle? Move the tripod slightly to the side to make the photograph more interesting. And... the one item that most people forget... record the name of the flower that you have just photographed! If in a public garden, many of the flowers, trees and shrubs will be labeled. In a friend's garden, ask while you are shooting because similar varieties can be hard to distinguish from one another in photographs.
|Interesting decomposing stump behind this old iron wheel.|
What to do with your best photos? Print, mat, and enter them into the local county or state fair to see what happens. Judges are usually pretty open with suggestions on how to improve your photography skills and can be a good resource.
[Except for the image of L. lankongense, all the photographs in this article were taken with one of the two cameras shown at the top of this page. -Dianna]