This week I took delivery of a lens that I’ve admired for quite a few years. It’s another EF lens, the 100-400mm L IS II. While I have the amazing EF 400mm f2.8 LIS II available, it’s not exactly portable and certainly not a walkabout lens. My EF 70-200mm f2.8 LIS II is another fine lens but for flowers and some wild life, it’s just not long enough.
The minimum close focus distance of around 1m is really useful and allows me to use this lens in a variety of situations. Many use a 100mm macro lens for shooting flowers, I find this a useful lens for some circumstances. However I find the depth of field a challenge for larger flowers such as roses. If your camera has a focus stacking option, this certainly helps. I find with larger flowers, a longer focal length is usually a better option. I’m finding that 100-400 with a 1.4x extender is ideal and allows me a more suitable depth of field, while blurring the background sufficiently. It allows me to isolate individual elements and work harder for isolated compositions. Producing clean and simple images is a key goal.
Next year I’ll be lauching a number of one day “Photographing flowers” workshops where we can hone your skills together in this particular area. Utilising your current equipement. All skill levels are welcome. The intention of the workshop is to sharpen and hone your current skill base and hopefully take it to the next level. We can look at all aspects of the final image, from subject matter, field craft, composition, technicality, shooting and post production. We will be looking at the different techniques between hand holding compared to tripod use. Focus stacking, understanding exposure and colour space. So where ever you find your self with your photographic journey with flowers, I’m sure we can make some rewarding improvements.
These following images were all shot using a long telephoto zoom lens and show the kind of images that are achievable.