This summer, we expect to have an explosion of cicadas – 17 years after the last time this brood was above ground. Since the last time they were around, their nymphs have been buried underground. Although it is unknown how or why they have such a long dormant time, it is precisely timed. So do not be alarmed if you are awakened by their loud buzzing later this summer! Being that the first time I remember this phenomenon was the summer before my wedding, I will have this strange date range in mind.
On this occasion, I found some cicadas sitting on large leaves in my garden. It was not moving at all even though I was adjusting my camera and flashes on stands. In this case, I used a macro lens to get the camera as close to the cicada as I could. Surprisingly, it did not move even as I got the flash and lens remarkably close to its face!
As can be seen in my 2020 Clematis flowers, my garden is growing beautifully this year! This is despite my very limited knowledge on how to grow anything out of the ground. When the blooms start to come out in Spring, I usually get a few photos. However, the quarantine keeping us at home gives me a new subjects to test some lighting setups.
During this shoot, I used my camera with two speedlight flashes. Although you see two speedlights here, only one was actually adding light to the photos. One was only used as a trigger for the off camera flash. While moving the lights around, I found that the small lights were nice to control what parts of the flowers were illuminated. After each photo, I could move either the flash or the camera with very slight movements. It produced a large set of varied images! I felt it was a productive way to spend a lock-down afternoon.
Since it is almost June, I wanted to look back at some 2017 May flowers. Once the April showers end, these pop up right out of the ground. Well, mostly. In this case, I found some flowers blooming in my uncle’s garden. For practice, I brought out a lens that I rarely use. In fact, the 50mm F/1.2 lens was purchased by my father! Due to an unchanging mount on Nikon cameras, it can still be used on my current digital camera. However, it is manual focus only. I do not have much experience without using auto focus technology, so this is an added challenge for me. Surely, I will keep this kind of experimentation to personal projects only. I will have to devote much more time to practice before I can take this lens on a client shoot. Of course, this wide open aperture really makes for some nice out-of-focus areas behind the main subjects.
Additionally, we took a trip last summer to the McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area near Poolesville, Maryland. This year we were a bit late in getting to the sunflower fields. When we arrived, many of the flowers were already half full of petals. What are your favorite Springtime flower locations? What else do you photograph for personal projects these days?