The challenge this month? Step away from your favourite camera/lens and work with something different for the month – maybe a rental lens, a film camera, some glass that’s been buried deep in your camera bag for a while, gear-swap with a friend or another change that gets you thinking more than usual.
Since June is the start of wildflower season in Alberta, my first thought was to dig into my camera bag and pull out the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro Lens that I added to my kit back in 2012. To make sure this was a significant change, I checked some numbers. I used the 60mm* for more than 10% of my 2013 images and for about 5% of the photos I shot each year from 2014 through 2016. But in 2017 I’d used it just twice – one day in April and another in May. So yes, my photos for the June PBC would all be made with the 60mm prime. And yes, my primary subject was wild flowers!
1. Galearis rotundifolia
The small, round-leaved orchid is one of three types of orchids we’ve seen in and around Canmore, most frequently along the Riverside Trail. This month, I found a patch growing about 50 meters equidistant from the Bow River and Three Sisters Creek. It was nicely shaded by the mixed forest, which explains the beautiful, even light. Each stem can have up to 18 flowers; I opted to focus on the one nearest the trail, which had 5 open flowers and three buds. This image shows off how the lens creates lovely, soft bokeh.
2. Tachycineta bicolor
Would have preferred a longer reach, but as the saying goes – the best camera/lens is whatever you have with you! While out in search of wildflowers, I walked a long fence line which has a wooden bird house attached to every second or third post. Many were occupied by tree swallows; they didn’t seem especially perturbed by my presence. Mount Lady MacDonald is across the valley.
3. Aquilegia brevista
Photos of Columbine blossoms typically show the front of the flower or a side profile. Given the sun angle/time of day it made more sense to go with the more unusual, rear view perspective, which I think highlights how Columbine flowers are extremely 3-dimensional (similar to wild orchids) vs. more two-dimensional flowers like the Alberta wild rose, wild blue flax, fleabanes, etc.
4. Red and Green
Next time I walk past the neighbour’s yard in Canmore, I will take a closer look at this evergreen shrub that was sprouting it’s 2017 growth in early June. It struck me at the time that it looks more Christmas-y in June than it does in December!
5. Do You Eat the Red Ones Last?
I set this one up as one of several possible entries for the Beakerhead Photo Crew monthly photo challenge; June’s theme was Canadian Food, and I opted to do something with red Smarties: red because the Canadian flag is red and white and Smarties because Smarties in Canada are not the same as Smarties in the United States. Smarties in Canada are more like M&Ms, except the candy coating does melt in your hand and there’s no risk of cross-contamination with almonds or peanuts. In the end, I went with a different red Smartie photo for the Beakerhead Photo Crew competition, but this was a close second.
That’s it! Time to switch back to my daily carry lens – the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO. But the 60mm prime is not going back into the bottom corner of my camera gear storage bag. I’d like to get back to using it at least a few days each month, so for the rest of the year, it’s going to be in my day pack.
To discover what gear took other participants out of their comfort zone, check the link-up over at A ‘lil Hoohaa.
Thanks PJ, for continuing to host the monthly photo blogging challenge, which I treat like a photo assignment. The one-month time frame makes it a low stress motivator to keep improving my photography skills. New participants are welcome any time, so please join us! The July theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa tomorrow.
* For those of you shooting Canon or Nikon DSLRs, that’s equivalent to a 120mm.