Lotus Flower and Leaves Kolkata India

Red lotus flower and leaves in Botanical Gardens, Kolkata, India Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 105mm. Exposure Details: 1/250 second @ f11 ISO 400.

Here's a photo of a lovely flower in the Botanical Gardens in Kolkata (Calcutta) West Bengal, India. It's a simple image that relies on shape, texture and timing. The shape of the lilly pads, the texture of the flower petals and the fact that the shutter was released just as the circular patterns were created in the water on the right edge of the frame.

I would have had an easier time making this image if the original photo had been made closer to the end of the day. As it was I made the image mid afternoon working under bright, intense sunlight. I had to provide plenty of exposure to the original file and then pull a few tricks in Adobe Lightroom to be able to hold subtle highlight detail on top of the water and lilly pads.

Nature is wonderful to behold, but uncooperative when it comes to complying with the needs of the photographer. In the case of studio still life photography the creation of an ideal composition can be achieved through careful and deliberate intervention (moving objects around within the frame). Outside of a man-made environment nature is far less forgiving. The photographer has to see the potential within a larger environment and then be able to position themselves in such a way to make best use of the light, subject matter and the camera equipment at hand.

So, while its very difficult to produce the ideal result, nature photography is still a great deal of fun and brings photographer and audience alike in contact with the world in a way different to the way they would otherwise perceive it. And, what you'll often find is that the closer your exploration, the more remarkable the realisation. 

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru