13.05.12, Week 39: Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta

by pbnb

When my housemate and I were walking to the Lidl near our house one day this week, I noticed that the bluebells had come out in Whitworth Park. I mentioned to him that I’d really like to take some pictures of them before they go over, and it’s taken me until today to actually do that. I’d like to say that that was because I was waiting for the sun to be out, but the last couple of days have actually been very sunny. However, it’s actually because I’ve been too busy pretending to do doing my revision and recovering from my first hangover since my surgery following the Atheltics Union Ball . It was nice to finally get out of the house to take pictures again, I’d forgotten how much fun it is to completely ignore everything going on in a public place and just focus on the subject that I am photographing.

The shot I had in mind was pretty much exactly what I’ve taken, which is good news. My favourite way to compose pictures of flowers outside is to wait for the sun to be low enough in the sky that it shines through the flowers rather than onto them. By getting the sun’s rays to shine through the flowers, the more dense parts of the flower appear darker and the thinner areas lighter which provides a lot of variety of colour throughout the frame. Without doing this, the petals end up being very similar colours and I don’t find it as interesting.

I chose to shoot this image with a low f-number for a few reasons. Firstly, last night I was explaining to a friend of mine why I’d bought my new lens, and got onto how aperture impacts the depth of field, so I thought I’d show her an example of it. I also felt that the warmth from the sun on the rest of the scene and the blue sky that was above it would make for a suitable bokeh to sit behind the subject. As there were lots of bluebells in a small space, using a narrow depth of field meant that there would be a variety of levels of focal sharpness throughout the frame which adds more interest, much like the light.

I am undecided as to whether I like the out of focus bluebells and grass in the foreground. It seems to work because the in focus flowers are higher than those that are out of focus, so they don’t interrupt the viewer’s line of sight to the main subject. I’m pleased with the way that the frame is full of flowers from top to bottom, I often struggle to fill the frame in that manner when taking pictures of flowers. This is mostly a byproduct of lying down to catch the light at the right angle because it allowed me to shoot upwards and utilise the different heights. The other benefit of having some bluebells out of focus in the foreground is that they covered up the dead heads on the stem that I concentrated the focus on.


I’ve been addictively listening to Ben Howard’s album for the whole of this week. It turns out that it makes very good music to listen to whilst revising in order to block out the noise of the street outside and my housemates inside so that I can concentrate. I’ve just sat down to listen to Mumford & Sons’ debut album, Sigh No More, whilst typing this, but I haven’t listened to it all the way through yet so I can’t give you a verdict on it. I’ve been told by so many people that I should listen to it, most recently in an independent sandwich shop in Bristol while helping my brother to move house, but I’ve only recently got around to doing so. They are one of those bands that have kind of passed me by, much like Elbow, despite my propensity to thoroughly enjoy their music. I’ll let you know what I think next week.


      • Date taken: 13.05.12
      • Aperture: f/2.8
      • Speed: 1/8000 sec
      • ISO: 400
      • Focal length: 36mm