In May 2014 I wrote about the composition of photographing bluebells.
One year later the bluebells have returned and this time we look at how focal length can affect composition of bluebell pictures. In most peoples eyes long focal lengths and flora photography are a natural mix but maybe this will persuade you otherwise.
If we take a look at the picture below taken from the same spot, it shows the difference between using 100 mm & 200 mm as your focal length.
The first thing that strikes me is how much the wall creates a header for the picture and the bluebells in front become more dominant in the frame.
All long focal lengths will compress the perspective and this can help if there aren’t too many flowers for the shot, although that is not a problem here with the flowers at Islay House ( currently being developed into a luxury hotel ) on the island of Islay.
Because the plants only stand 12-18″ off the ground the top of the shot doesn’t want to be much higher than this otherwise the plants become pretty minimal in the frame, so crop the shot tightly to the top.
The shot below is cropped tightly to the top but contains sycamore leaves as well, this wouldn’t normally be possible as the tree leaves would be well above ground. In this instance a fully grown tree was felled two years ago but has started to re grow from the roots.
Breaking that rule slightly is the picture below, again shot at 200mm, the land behind the plants falls away which gives the infinity pool effect and with the sun flowing through the tree canopy and illuminating a single branch makes a pleasing composition.
Backgrounds are just as important for close ups especially, these plain leaves work very well.
And finally a couple of “white” bells add an interesting contrast to the scene.