One of the big advantages of going out to the LBJ Wildflower Center in Austin is to see the wildflower meadows in the springtime. This was the case the other day when I visited the facility. I spotted this Rain Lilly and then an ocean of Texas Paintbrushes and other colorful flowers behind it. I wanted the photo to look like a painting so I fired off a few shots at different aperture settings in order to accomplish this goal.
You may have heard photographers use a term called “separation”. What they are referring to is a technique used to separate your subject from the background using the right aperture setting. This technique not only involves choosing the proper camera settings (aperture, shutter speed, etc.) but also the right subject positioning relative to the background. If the subject and the background are continuous then it’s impossible to have good separation. However, if a decent gap exists between the subject and the background then you can achieve the desired results. You can see in the photo below that the Rain Lily is nice and sharp. The very next subject (the bright red Texas Paintbrush at the base) has a very soft focus. Everything beyond that is nice and soft, giving it that “painting” look.
Try photographing the same subject with a variety of aperture settings. Use the app that I discussed in the Photography Apps post from last month to help you plan your photograph.
This image was taken with my Sony Alpha A7R II using my Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/1250th of a second and the ISO set at 500. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.
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