June 19, 2013

The Story of a Picture

John W. Snell is an accomplished nature and equine photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky, whom I'm proud to call mentor and friend. Frequently, he sends me email messages with pictures and stories of how he made them. The story of how he made this macro shot of a pink lady slipper was one I had to share. So, with John's permission, here's the "making of" tale:


I was photographing the tree bark patterns when I almost stepped on the pink lady's slipper. I looked around and saw two more in bloom, with some sprouts that suggested more are on the way.

I tried photographing the lady's slipper with a slightly downward angle of view, but I didn't like the dead leaves as a backdrop.  I lowered my vantage point as close to ground level as possible to make use of as much green background as I could and liked that much more.  I wasn't too happy about the bright highlights where the sky was showing through. But I was able to burn them down a bit [using photo editing software] so they're not blown out. 

I used my Petzl headlamp to provide some backlighting for the flower. That gave it a little warmth and allowed me to darken the exposure of the overall scene slightly.  All in all, I shot nearly 200 pics of that flower...different exposures and compositions mostly.  But extra shots also to ensure I got one that was sharp, since there was a minute breeze the unsettled the flower sometimes while I was shooting.

Thanks for sharing your story, John, and allowing me to share it with my followers.