Wildflowers are marvelous to hike about and photograph. Pictured here is Point Reyes checkerbloom (Sidalcea calycosa), also known as checker mallow or annual checkerbloom. This is one of the plant species endemic to California, and is not found naturally anywhere else.
When taking pictures of flowers, I like to get in nice and close, sometimes filling the entire frame with a single flower, other times, like with the checkerbloom pictured here I like to step back just a little to give a little more context. Checkerbloom has several flowers and buds coming off of the same stem, and this photograph shows that.
I used a digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera with a telephoto lens. This lens has a “macro” function, which while not a true macro does a fairly good imitation. Several lenses, and many cameras have similar macro functions, including compact digital cameras (the point and shoots).
The macro or close function aspect on these cameras is often accessed on the compact digitals with two symbols, one of a mountain and one of a flower. The default setting is the mountain, or the far focus. If you change your camera’s settings to the flower (often just a simple toggle between the two) you will then find yourself on the close or macro focus.
Play around with your camera, see how close to your subjects you can get.
ISO 400, 420mm, f/7.1, 1/800
Even on a simple point and shoot, the macro feature is pretty amazing. Addictive to use once it’s been discovered, too. You were the one who first showed it to me – with a textural close-up of a simple rock. I think I spent the next few months using only the macro setting…