I love the names of plants. Not the scientific names – I am neither a scientist nor a speaker of Latin so those names are like Greek to me. It is the common names that I really love, especially when they just fit.
Take this plant below. Its scientific name is Geum triflorum and I photographed it at Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico. It is more commonly called Prairie Smoke or Old Man’s Whiskers. Now those are names even I can remember! Their seed heads do indeed seem to flow in the wind like smoke, and they do look like scraggly old whiskers, too.
I thought shooting it backlit in the fading evening light would bring out those “whiskers” quite nicely. I set up a couple of small LED’s behind the them to really make each little hair stand out and glow. Shooting front lit would have been totally boring. Like TOTALLY. I usually use flash, but I have been using small LEDs more and more lately to photograph flowers, and I really like using them. I’ll do a more in depth post later.
Backlighting is especially effective with a dark background. The subject really stands out, and you can make your exposure without worrying about overexposing the background. Here, I got as lows as I could and the dark background behind didn’t even register. (You can also use a piece of dark black velvet).
Vermejo is an amazing place for wildflowers (among other things), and I am back next month leading a photo workshop there. If interested in going, click here!