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You wouldn’t think one little dandelion seed head could be so troublesome to photograph! I even knew what I was going for and could not seem to achieve it without utilizing several tools in my camera bag as well as a few tricks. 

It was a bit breezy out so the first thing I needed was a tripod to steady the camera. Next, attach a remote shutter release cable to further ensure a sharp shot at slower shutter speeds. 

Switch the camera over to spot metering so the white airy parachutes will be visible and also, switch to manual focus mode because there is no way the 105mm macro lens will maintain focus on something with such tiny strands. 

"Fine & Dandy" (Common Dandelion Seed Head, Taraxacum officinale) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/7.1, 1/30s, ISO 640, Built-in Rear Curtain Flash, -1.0EV

Oh, the background sucks? Okay, pile up green leaves behind. 

Oh, you can’t see the stem and everything is just blah? Okay, grab a gold reflector to focus some nice soft light up the stem and directly into the center of that seed head. 

Oh, now the wind kicks up? Okay, wait for it to calm, fix background leaves, adjust focus and click! Repeat a few dozen times. 🙂 

Anyone who thinks this is easy, ain’t no photographer! 😉

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16 Comments

  1. But it’s so much FUN! Dandelions are one of my favorite (flower) subjects to photograph because there are SO many possibilities! Might have to dig some of them up and e-mail them to you 🙂

    I like this one.. I like where you focused, and that you can see through the “fluffy” part. You’re lucky the wind didn’t kick up enough to blow half the dandelion away…. but then again, that would have been another photo op 🙂

    • Your definition of FUN is questionable, Michaela! 🙂 Oh, and we have plenty of dandelions to photo, so no need to send any along.

      It was just getting so tedious with one thing after another. I lost my light so if it is still there tomorrow, I am going to go for more angles as well as get the shot when some of the parachutes/seeds have been blown off.

      I LOVE that part, too! Thanks! I also like the spots of white…they look like little flash bulbs and I can think of them as teeny-tiny fairies flying all throughout the seed head. Makes me remember when as a child we thought these were simply magical – pick one, make a wish and blow! 🙂

  2. I know first hand the difficulties in photographamising (yes, it’s a word.. kinda.. lol) these dandelion thingjamies, and I’ve never had sufficient success to post one myself, but I do have what I think is a fairly unique shot in mind… maybe… 😉 .. I guess when the weather improves I may see if we have any fluffy things left in the garden with which to try it… I like what you’ve done here though Tracy, and the set up was worth the effort… 🙂

    • So, we’re makin’ up our own terminology now, eh Brian? I like it! 🙂

      I figured you all would know what I went through today as the difficulties of photography go well past dandelions!! I hope to play more with the seed heads tomorrow. I also have a few more ideas in mind!

      Thanks, Brian! It’s nice to know others can sympathize and appreciate the hard work! 🙂

  3. Ugh! Good for you for persevering! I was shooting some dandelions yesterday, and it was breezy, and shady, and icky background… but I did not have the patience to drag out the tripod, and find my remote, and reflector, and wait for the wind to stop…
    You’re a better woman than I, Miz Tracy! 🙂

    • Ha! I have to admit that at times, I am NOT this persistent! I just really, really, really REALLY wanted THIS shot! And with our weather pattern lately (of which you are all too familiar), you never know if the opportunity will not arise again.

      Thanks, Christine! Next time, I bet I am saying the same thing about you! 🙂

  4. This is funny to see this shot today for me. Just this afternoon, my 15-year-old daughter was picking dandelions and blowing them in our collie’s face! He barks and snaps at them and generally gets about a zillion seeds stuck in his thick fur.

    I never would have imagined so many steps to getting a “dandy” photo! 😉

    • Oh, what fun! (well, for your daughter..not necessarily for either the dog or whomever has to get those zillion seeds out!) 😉

      Some might not have needed quite so many steps! I tend to be a bit…ahem…particular! 🙂

      Thank you, karma! 🙂

  5. Hilarious. Back in the day when I was taking photographs (these last few days of being busy and away from the camera seems like forever), I would constantly struggle with just that. Wind, wait, shoot, oh damn the wind picked up right as I pressed the shutter. Wind, wait, repeat. “Dad has been looking at that flower *forever*, UGH”

    The end result is great!

    • Ha! Right back at ya, Sean! What a great recollection! Good to know it isn’t just me who struggles with this! (Of course, I don’t have the added pressure of a child audience – lol!)

      Thanks so much for sharing as well as the wonderful comment! 🙂

  6. Thanks a lot for your gorgeous pictures and for storys – like this. It’a all inspiring lessons of pure gold for somebody like me 🙂

    • Awwww, thank you so very much, truels! I completely understand…I also love hearing other photog’s stories because, for some reason, I always feel like I’m the only one who struggles! 🙂

  7. Love this shot Tracy and I like how you focused on the half of the dandelion.

    • Thank you, Consuelo! I played with different compositions as well as focus points and this one looked good through the lens!

  8. very cool composition.

    i really like seeing the delicate little matchstick ends behind the starbursts on the outside. it really shows how loosely each puff…thingy is connected to the stem. like they will fly away from my breath on the screen.

    sorry i’m several posts behind now! been traveling this weekend.

    • Thank you, Stephen! You certainly have a way of describing things! 🙂

      No worries…hope you did something fun!


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