Lotus flower pictures
Taking lotus flower pictures can be meditative. The scene is still, except for the occasional dragon fly buzzing by, or a fish or terrapin surfacing to catch a breath.
The photographer chances are he or she will be alone walks slowly, pauses, sometimes sits, and observes… scanning a miniature sea of leaves. buds, flowers and dried stalks for scattered, sometimes half hidden, lotus flower photos waiting to be taken.
This was the thought I had the first time I went to shoot lotus flower pictures, at a small lotus pond not far from my house.
I had gone with just one roll of film and, if not for the fact that it was hot and I was tired and thirsty, would have gone to buy more film to continue taking lotus photographs.
“I would come back,” I said to myself. There were just too many lotus flower photos to be taken. I thought I would go back the following weekend.
But before I knew it, half a year would pass before I went to capture yet more lotus photographs.
The same thought about a thousand lotus pictures came back to me yesterday (20 April, 2005), when I visited a much larger lotus pond besides the KK Women's and Children's Hospital. That place, incidentally, used to be a cemetary but has been turned into a park with a huge lotus pond a treasure trove for the photographer seeking lotus images.
This time, I only had six unexposed slides left. I wanted to finish and develop my roll of photographs. It was coming to noon. The sun was high and harsh, although that did not concern me as far as lotus photography was concerned. But I had to walk half a kilometre in the hot sun to the pond to shoot my lotus flower pictures.
When I finally arrived, I was greeted by a sea of green and brown. There was not a single lotus flower to photograph, only leaves, including dead leaves, and murky water.
Still, I surveyed the scene and thought to myself, again, “There are a thousand lotus flower pictures waiting to be taken. I must come back.”
My first lotus photograph was the second picture at the top of this page, with the dark background.
I can tell you it is not easy to take lotus flower pictures like this one, not because it is technically challenging I simply pointed my camera and shot on auto but for the simple reason that it is not easy to get so close to a lotus flower.
In case you don't already know, lotus grows in water. In mud. I was lucky for that lotus photograph above, taken in Bali, because it was in a large pot and I was sitting right next to it!
If you take lotus flower pictures at a lotus pond, then a long telephoto lens is absolutely necessary. I use my Nikkor 75-300mm zoom, most of the time set at maximum focal lens.
This means further challenges. I need a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake, as I prefer to take my lotus flower photos in fact, almost all my photographs hand held.
The slowest I would go is 1/125. I would hold my breath and hope for the best. It one day dawned on me, however, that I could reduce camera shake simply by zooming out a little use the lens at around 200mm rather than the maximum 300mm.
This, in turn, might mean I have to step closer to the water's edge. I just need to be careful.
(Dec 2007 update: Now with my new digital Fuji S5 Pro, I am able to shoot at much slower speeds handheld, without camera shake. And thanks to the camera's ability to take at high ISO -- up to ISO 3200 -- without significant digital noise, I am also able to shoot at higher speeds.)
At times, I needed also to go down low. From eye level, this lotus image below looked dull and ordinary. But when I viewed it from ground level, me lying on my belly -- which again might be troublesome because the grounds might be wet and muddy -- and facing the setting sun, there was magic!
Another lotus flower photography tip worth noting is that there is more to the lotus than just the flower. That was why I wasn't disheartened when I visited the lotus pond yesterday and did not find even one flower.
The buds, fallen flower petals, the dried stalk... they all can make stunning lotus flower pictures -- although I won't yet call my examples stunning, I am still learning. And my second set of lotus flower pictures is better than this.
But I know they can make stunning lotus photographs because I have seen them before in a Chinese photography book by Hugo Aik, a Singaporean based in Hong Kong. Mr Aik is, incidentally, the owner of the Hugo audiophile CD label.
Another thing that struck me about Hugo Aik's lotus flower pictures is that he takes them all year round, including during winter in the snow. That, unfortunately, is something that I don't get in Singapore.
Still, the possibilities abound. There are at least a thousand lotus flower pictures to be taken from just one pond alone when the flowers are in full bloom, and even when the entire pond is brown and green.
If that is not enough, I have had some fun with Adobe Photoshop, manipulating some of my lotus flower pictures as well. Below is one of them,
Once again, I hope you enjoy this gallery.