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May and June themes, updates, and more

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  May 3, 2009 05:48 PM

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OK, little Dawggies, my Moms project has eased since the site is launched! Meanwhile, back to our business: I haven’t had a chance to post a poll for contest themes for May and June, so I’m using my prerogative as Top Dawg to declare them unilaterally.

Since we just finished the theme “April Showers,” let’s continue the clichés and go with “May Flowers.” It will give you a chance to show off your handiwork in shooting nature’s beauty.

And for June, let’s do Spring Sports. Kids are packing athletic fields playing softball, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, golf, running track, and more. The Sox are in full swing, and if you’re lucky enough to score tickets, both the Celtics and Bruins are in the playoffs.

Look for more on the June theme soon, along with a tipsheet on shooting sports from the Globe’s Jim Davis. But let’s focus on May first.

It doesn’t matter if you shoot wildflowers or cultivars, individual roses or fields of poppies. (Just don’t lie down and inhale deeply.)

But what DOES matter is creativity. For this contest, we’re looking for flowers shot in unusual ways – originality is as important as the technical aspects of your shot.

Looking for ideas? You can start by re-reading Globe photographer Pat Greenhouse’s tipsheet on photographing flowers.

Some basics: If you have a macro lens or a macro setting, you’ll do great with close-ups. Use a tripod, a low ISO, and open up your aperture to blur distracting backgrounds. But don’t ignore the rest of the frame; often soft-focus backgrounds that show other flowers or a structure can be very effective.

If you shoot wildflowers, individually or in a field, get down low for more interesting angles.

Early-morning or late-afternoon light, as well as an overcast sky, will help colors saturate more than direct sunlight. If you do shoot in direct sun, a polarizing filter can help cut down on glare. Backlight is especially effective. And watch the wind!

If you have access to a studio or can set up a white background behind a single flower in a vase, why not experiment with black-and-white with some side or back lighting through the petals? When stripped of color, the emphasis on the structure and symmetry of flowers is truely a thing of beauty.

The rest is up to you. Remember: What's going to win this contest are flowers shot in very unusual ways.

Here are some pretty pictures to inspire you.

Per usual, the contest deadline is midnight May 31. Read the rules and more about how to enter here.

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