Snowdrops belong to the Genus Galanthus (greek for Milk Flower) – a native of Europe and Russia, and are one of the first of the bulbs to flower. They tell us Spring can’t be too far away, although they aren’t a reliable indicator of ‘when’ exactly it will arrive – routinely ours always seem to flower about the third week in February. In our garden (where all these images were taken) they’ve been out for 10 days or so but it wasn’t until yesterday that the brief snatches of sun coincided with my availability to get a picture. Retirement can be so hectic at times!
The image above was taken yesterday. Snowdrops are not that easy to photograph well – they grow in thick clumps as you can see. Clumps have depth and photographed horizontally (ie at ground level) they can end up looking rather messy and confused.
This is now the 4th winter that I have used a digital SLR and each year I try to find a different way to capture the development of Spring within our garden. It’s easy for it to be just the same old boring images – but I like the challenge of trying to find new ways of capturing the same bulbs/plants/flowers/blossom each year.
So, the images that follow come from the last 4 years of finding ways to capture the delicate beauty of Snowdrops.
A smaller clump, tight against a wall is easier to record. This is a different variety – the petals and flower heads more rounded than the normal lanceolate variety you see in the other images.
Concentrating on the outliers of a clump can result in an interesting composition (see below).
The next two images were shot with a long lens – a 500mm Mirror Lens. In the first one I carefully selected a viewpoint that meant a row of Snowdrops within the cluster would be at right angles to my line of sight with all the others diffused to a greater or lesser extent.
The doughnut shaped Bokeh (characteristic of Mirror lens images) are not too ostentatious in either of these two images.
In this second Mirror Lens image, I hunted again for a few isolated Snowdrops that formed an attractive composition with no distractions in the background.
Finally another image from yesterday – dew was still on the ground and I tried shooting towards the light.
I’ve softened the highlights by applying the dry brush filter in Photoshop to give this image a slightly painterly appearance.
If you are interested in Mirror Lens imaging then click here to go to a Photo Tips article posted last Autumn on Mirror Lenses.