Looking for Contrast
In the spring of 2005, Death Valley National Park was experiencing an explosion of flowers. Thanks to a very wet winter, wildflowers that had been dormant for decades were blooming. We had scheduled our trip as a tag-on to a family visit months before, and were able to experience this natural event first-hand.
Taking photos of flowers seems like it should be easy. After all, don’t you just drive along the road, stop when you see a pretty scene, and get out and shoot? Well…..yes…. driving along and noticing pretty scenes is certainly what gets you there. When flowers are this prolific, though, getting a shot that has interest and dynamic qualities takes some observation.
Look at this scene for a minute. What do you notice? Here’s what I saw. The contrast of yellow flowers against the white salty field and blue shadows on the hills certainly makes the flowers stand out. Still, though, as a sea of flowers, they looked flat and uninteresting. I could see a few curves in the floral landscape, but nothing strong enough to stand out. I could tell if we drove down the road to look for angles in the pattern of flowers, I was going to lose the light and the shot. I studied this scene for a while before I saw the one yellow flower sticking up above all the rest, standing out against the white background. That lone flower added the dynamic quality and interest I wanted. That was the shot that told the story of the flowers.