Up until this point I have had no Calla Lilies in my portfolios. Maybe it is because once you have seen the Robert Mapplethorpe collection you begin to wonder if you can produce anything as original and as beautiful as his images.
Yet every year I see the islands of calla lilies throughout Golden Gate Park, along the costal roads, near the farm lands and in my neighbors’ backyards. “This is the year,” I say.
I love my subjects outside so I am not going to do studio set ups at this point in life. But that would provide a better lighting system to capture the pure white of these dazzling monoliths. Each edge is like a new dance that moves one erotically into the subject. No wonder Mapplethorpe photographed both the human figure nude and the calla lily – they share a common soul.
Thursday morning, past, was very calm from 7 AM – 9:30 so it was possible to work among the Callas. (Golden Gate Park). The overcast day made for a nice muted light. I chose natural lighting and to allow the slight reflection of green from the large leaves to be a part of the image.
Using a 400mm lens with extension tubes (allowing for a closer focus) I was able to isolate parts of the flower and the background. Without a breeze I could shoot with my aperture at f/32 for as much depth of field as possible at 400mm. Another time I will check out the “Photoshop technique for “multiple focus stacking.” But capture and convey the image in camera if you can!
This is Holy Week in the Christian Calendar which provides an apposite time to think about the Calla Lilies and their role as a symbol of the coming Easter/resurrection/rebirth or the Lily of/as the Goddess and her incarnation, in say – Mary Magdalene!
Along the Sonoma Coast the invasive non-native ice plant is very prolific and coming into full bloom. Despite the fact they conquer the lands and dunes of natives and choke them out – they are so beautiful.
Go WIDE! You can get the flowers in the foreground and the whole coastline in the background. Late in the afternoon or early evening provides great light. But I was there more towards high noon and it still worked. At this time of day you don’t have to worry too much about getting your own shadow in the image. If you don’t know what hyper-focal-distance is – it is time to learn. Sign up for my next class. See: AWEgallery EVENTS.