Shining new light on Trilliums

Each spring I visit the redwood forests. It still rains a bunch but the forest is coming alive with banana slugs, newts, salamanders, and spring wildflowers, like this trillium. Trilliums are large and beautifully designed, lots of symmetry and triangles. I had been looking for a perfect one, with new leaves and a young flower, and found this one right next to camp.

I set up a tripod and wide-angle lens, carefully worked with the plane of the plant to get everything in focus and took the first shot (upper left). Ok, it’s a decent record of the plant but it deserves more. So I underexposed the ambient and popped a gridded flash, better (lower left). But I have more than one flash … and we have wireless flash trigger … .so let’s add a flash under the trillium to pump light through the translucent leaves. Underexpose ambient a bit more, fire both flashes … nice.

I’m running a couple of macro workshops next spring. The advanced one will cover techniques like this, plus we’ll get to work with Dennis Sheridan and his amazing creatures.  If you’re interested in getting email notices about workshop and travel opportunities, sign up by clicking here.


Ralph Clevenger

Ralph Cle­venger grew up on the coast of North Africa and began div­ing in the waters of the Mediter­ranean Sea at the age of 7 with his father. He even­tu­ally went on to study zool­ogy at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity and worked as a diver/biologist for the Scripps Insti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy in La Jolla, Cal­i­for­nia before attend­ing Brooks Insti­tute of Pho­tog­ra­phy. He holds a BS degree in zool­ogy and a BA degree in pho­tog­ra­phy. Ralph is the author of Pho­tograph­ing Nature, pub­lished by New Riders.
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