I've made two visits now this spring to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, in Woodburn, Oregon. I hope to make several more trips soon, as the tulips should be hitting their peak color in the next week. I really get a kick out of shooting these flowers. I enjoy colorful photos, and most often try to make very colorful and vibrant images. So it's only natural that tulips would be one of my favorite subjects.
When I get the chance to visit a single location many times, such as the tulip farm this month, or the sandhill cranes and the snow geese over the course of a week as during my trip to New Mexico two years ago, I prefer to try to limit the lenses used during each day, or at least for chuncks of time in a day. This forces me to think more precisely about the photos I want to make, and to more carefully choose each composition. I've found that I can be more creative within the bounds of a single lens, rather than look each way, or at each flower, and think how I can shoot each scene or each subject with every lens in my bag. I don't have the mental capacity to run every focal length in my bag at each aperture and different shutter speed through my limited and inflexible imagination. If I try it will only be a burden and will result in fewer photos in which I am satisfied with, as a result of my scattered thought. Rather, I put one lens on my camera body as I set out, and I am more free both in the weight of my gear burdening my shoulders and of the equipment through which to see burdening my mind.
Those three factors of shooting with one lens alone are enough to run through one's imagination while looking at a landscape of tulips, contemplating making each different flower the subject of one's next photo. Yes, I do have to pass some great opportunities by as I only stick to one lens, and I'm still learning to let those possible shots go. But those potential shots which are lost contribute instead to the refining of the photos that my course was set towards on that day or that hour. Of course, conditions may change. The weather may break and a dramatic sky may reveal itself and beg to be shot with a wide focal length. I am not contractually bound to this idea of shooting with one lens, but until a photo must be taken with another lens, I prefer to stick with the lens on my camera.
During my first two trips to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm this spring I chose to use my 70-200mm lens. While chosen more because of the weather and light conditions, the first visit was cloudy with a bland sky, and the second was raining off and on (the 70-200mm lens' large lens hood kept the front element of the lens virtually rain drop free all morning), I do love the compressing effect that the telephoto lens has, especially on scenes with flowers, and how artistic shots with this lens can be.
Here are five of my favorite photos from my first two trips this spring. The first evening gave a spectacular sunset, and I have yet to take the time to process these images. I'm doubting my Photoshop skills will sufficiently translate the beauty of the light and the fields that I had the joy of experiencing and capturing! Until then, these five photos will have to do.