Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The flowers of deep winter

Click here to view at 1000 pixels wide.

Living in the northern hemisphere, you'd be used to a cold, often icy winter in which nature lies dormant. Coming to the south, you experience the exact opposite -- and it can take a few years to grow accustomed to it. "Downunder," things come alive in winter, when the sun is less fierce, and it (gasp!) rains. Winter is the time of green, cool, flowering trees, flowering shrubs, flowering plants. If it can flower, between May and October -- it flowers! In this picture I've captured a closeup on eucalypt flowers ... "gum nuts." Massive trees will be covered with these, and you'll be amazed by the drone of bees. The most difficult aspect of getting this photo was to make sure the camera calculated its exposure on the flowers and nuts, not the sky. You can do this by shifting the camera around until a flower or nut is in the right place to influence the light meter ... or by setting the camera to its Manual (M) setting and experimenting till you get what you want. The beauty of digital cameras is, you can then delete all the setup shots and keep only the good ones, and it costs nothing! (Back in the days of optical cameras, we used to "bracket" exposures for difficult and important shots, and -- oh, it got expensive, with shots on transparency costing upwards of $1 each, in 1980!) Photo by Jade, 2006.

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