Lotus Flower and Leaves, Kolkata, India

A lotus flower on a pond in the grounds of the Kolkata Botanical Gardens in Kolkata, India.

Here's a photo of a lovely red flower in the Botanical Gardens in Kolkata (i.e., Calcutta) in the state of West Bengal, India. It's a simple image and is a great example of my approach to photography which, so often, is based upon the notion of making something out of nothing.

Shape, Texture And Timing

I think there are three factors that came together to create a harmonious composition. I can define those elements as follows:

  • the shape and texture of the Lilly pads
  • the color of the flower petals
  • the fact that the shutter was released just as the circular patterns were created in the water on the right edge of the frame

Photographing Under Midday Sun

I would have had an easier time making this image if the original photo had been made closer to the edge of the day. As it was I made the image midday 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 and Photoshop to be able to hold subtle highlight detail on the surface of the water and Lilly pads.

Traditional And Digital Solutions To Managing Contrast

Long ago I used to travel with a reflector and diffuser. The diffuser, if I'd had someone with me to hold it, could have been held above the scene so as to place it into open shade and, thereby, reduce the harshness of the light and the resulting high contrast. These days I prefer to carry less equipment and resolve such issues on the desktop.

I made the image with my then Canon 5D Mark II camera with a Canon 24-105mm f/4 L series lens at 105 mm. The exposure was 1/250 second with an aperture of f/11 at ISO 400.

Nature Photography | Seeing The World Anew

Nature is wonderful to behold, but often 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 where objects are moved and reordered within the bounds of the frame.

The natural world is far less forgiving. The photographer has to see the potential within the 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.

While it's often difficult to produce an ideal result, nature photography is still a great deal of fun and brings photographer and viewer in contact with the world in a way that's often different to how they would otherwise perceive it.

You'll often find that the closer your exploration, the more remarkable the realization.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru