26 Apr Capturing the Beauty of Spring’s Bluebells

Source: Fujifilm X Blog

Chris Upton Bluebells

By Chris Upton

Spring is sprung in the UK and nothing signifies that more obviously than a rich carpet of bluebells under a vibrant canopy of lime green beech leaves. Walk into a forest early in the morning and the wonderful fragrant smell hits you, the scene simply begs to be photographed. So, how do you capture this beauty? Well here are a few tips to help you achieve some stunning bluebell shots.

 

PLANNING

Time of year : Bluebells appear anytime between mid April to mid May, however the peak time is usually around the first week in May. The timing is critical and local knowledge is key. If you visit too soon the display will be patchy and if you leave it too late the flowers will be past their best and may have been flattened by rain or size 9s!

When to shoot : Bluebells can be photographed in most conditions and bright sunshine can give pleasing dappled effects however, technically this is quite challenging, especially in managing the contrast and colour. Bright overcast conditions will result in more natural colours and certainly present fewer problems in controlling the exposure. My favourite time is early morning when conditions are still and the mist, which is often around at this time of year, adds wonderful atmosphere to your image. Getting up early means that you can capture the sun as it rises through the trees, producing long raking shadows. Sunset is also a good time to shoot as it makes the most of the dramatic lighting.

Chris Upton Bluebells

EQUIPMENT

You can use any lens to capture the bluebells though my preferred lenses are at either end of the focal range. I use a wide angle (XF10-24mm) to capture the forest and carpet of bluebells then use the longer lens (XF50-140mm) to compress perspective or isolate detail and in this case I usually shoot from a lower position. Of course, if you have a macro lens this opens up more opportunities for some delightful close up shots of single heads and other detail.

Shooting in the forest with typically low light levels means that a tripod is a necessity, unless you are looking to produce more creative effects. You’ll also need a remote release, or use the self timer, to reduce camera shake and you may find a reflector useful, too.

A polarising

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