Red Rose With Waterdrops

red-rose-close-up-with-water-drops redbubble photo by john rochaCaption:

Red Rose with waterdrops


This photo shows clearly the beauty and structure of a bright red rose.

If you want to buy a print or cards of a red rose, go to Redbubble.
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Photo Comments:

Most of my posts have been about stock and editorial photography but I do have some photos available for sale as prints, cards and posters, so I’m going to discuss some of these in coming posts.

I love macro photography, I love nature photography including flowers, so I spend quite a lot of time photographing flowers in studio and natural conditions.

I sometimes photograph flowers which have shrivelled or are imperfect in some way but for this I chose a fresh cut rose.

There are lots of approaches to photographing flowers:

sometimes you want to get the whole thing in focus, sometimes only a part.

In a sense this is a practical problem because without using very specialized software it’s difficult to get everything sharp.

It’s also not a good idea to stop down too much in the hope of increasing depth of field as most lenses suffer from diffraction problems at small apertures.

Often wide apertures are not a problem because although the lens may not be very sharp in the corners this won’t matter if the focus of interest is in the centre.

Still as far as this picture is concerned I wanted to fill the frame so edge sharpness is important.

These are the steps I took.

I decided I wanted to have an extremely sharp image with out of focus elements.

To get in close I used a Canon 100mm Macro lens – one of my favourites.

I used my fullframe Canon 5D Mark 11 at 100 ISO

I decided to use electronic flash to provide controlled lighting and guard against camera shake.

To make sure the lighting was soft and diffused I used a soft box on a single Chinese Made Dynaphos studio flash.

As a fill in I decided on a small gold reflector which I hand held in place.

I decided to use a remote control to trip the shutter and used a radio control device to  trigger the flash.

I mounted my Canon 5D Mark 11 on my Benro Traveller tripod.

Flash will prevent camera shake but for a photo like this, focussing is crucial.

It’s fairly clear to me that this is a situation where autofocussing will not work.

Conventional manual focussing can be effective but there are some pitfalls. My Canon has a good quality viewfinder but no focussing aids – the standard screen is really designed for autofocus.

I decided to use LiveView with manual focussing.

I’ve really become a convert to LiveView in a situation like this.

The main benefits are:


Having the whole high definition screen to compose on makes good composition really easy.


In LiveView it’s possible to adjust the area of the screen focussed on and then magnify for great focussing accuracy.

This makes it possible, for example, to focus accurately on a single water drop.

I took some test exposures and carefully checked the histogram looking carefully to avoid blown out highlights.

(With digital capture my flashmeter gets little use)

I decided to shoot at apertures of f8 and f11 as these would provide the depth of field I wanted and the highest image quality.

As my Dynaphos flashgun has an infintely variable output I was able to adjust the light output without moving the flashgun and softbox.

I am pleased with this final result.

Though I prefer the horizontal composition I also took some vertical exposures too.

(Perhaps that’s why I miss my Bronica with its square format)

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2 Responses to Red Rose With Waterdrops

  • TJ McDowell says:

    When you don’t need to blur out the background, it makes a lot of sense to me to avoid shooting a shallow depth of field. I think different lenses have different sweet spots for aperture, but you’re pretty safe shooting at a mid-level aperture. Love the detail here.

  • johnphoto says:

    Glad you liked the detail. The depth of field issue is an interesting one. Now that there are crop sensor cameras with a similar number of megapixels it might be worth using one just for the extra depth of field. I tried a number of apertures for this image but of course if you go down too low to f16 or 22 then diffraction will kick in.

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Stock photography by John Rocha at Alamy

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