Image Doctor: Spiral Wildflower
Photographer: John Hall
Camera Type: canon 550d
Lens: 100mm macro
Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec
Aperture: f 4.0
Adjustments: auto contrast, vibrance and unsharp mask in cs4
Image doctor's advice
Here’s a question for you. What’s the difference between a camera and a pen? Everybody knows how to use a camera! (Ba-boom!) The truth is, most people would struggle to describe a scene like this with pen and paper. Chances are you would get a sentence containing a couple verbs and adjectives but I doubt most people could ever write a description that fully encapsulates the intricate beauty of this flower and its surroundings.
Now while most people think that photography is becoming rather easy, I would argue that picking up a camera and making an engaging photo is just as challenging as sitting down with a pen and paper.
Most people, in writing about this flower, would simply make a comment along the lines of “there is a nice wildflower with a spiral of pink buds standing alone in a green field.” And that is all you have said in this photograph. Neither idea is all that engaging.
Given that you were using a 100mm macro lens I would have liked to have seen more from this photograph. Get closer next time. Maybe look for a secondary element that you could include in the photo. You could even use Photoshop to combine several captures in the one frame.
Another option, would be to put your camera on a tripod and use a wide-angle lens to capture the flower and the landscape. In this situation you could have set the lens to f16, the ISO to 400 and the shutter speed to 1/60s; then adjust the focus manually to get the best hyperfocal distance (you can Google that) to achieve the maximum depth of field. It's an old techniqie that works well in these situations.
In this instance, nature has given you a great subject to work with. However, if you want to make a lasting photograph you need to do more than just photograph the obvious. Good photographs aren’t just taken, they are made.
Hang in there and have another go.