First Crocus.

From Sillybill: I saw this crocus popping up outa the ground Sunday and thought a small vision of the coming spring might make you smile. I’m not a good photographer, lousy camera, lot’s of hand jitter – I’ll work on getting better. I have to say, I don’t care about the lousy photographer business, because these did make me smile, and more. It’s been ages since I’ve been out in early March to photograph Windflower, the one reliable source which brings the promise of Spring, so I’m going to get out in the cow pastures this year.

© Sillybill, all rights reserved.


  1. rq says

    Windflower? That is beautiful.
    And it’s lovely to see signs of spring. The days are getting longer, plants are waking, soon everything will be brighter and greener!

  2. jazzlet says

    Anemones go along with irises and miniture daffodils in my ‘cheer-bringing’ pots either side of the front door. Sadly we don’t get that kind of anemone wild round here.

  3. sillybill says

    Yeah, not very good photography, but I’m glad they made you smile. There will probably be lots more popping up this weekend.

    I want to work on my photo skills, especially closeup shots. I’ve taken lot’s of pictures in the past but they have all been activist related -- violations by logging/mining companies, locations of equipment and buildings for protests and blockades, license plates of Nazi’s, etc. Nothing even vaguely artistic and only incidentally nature pics.
    I am constantly amazed by the wonderful nature photos some of y’all post here, especially closeup macro shots of insects and flowers. I can’t figure that stuff out at all. Obv I need a better camera and lots of study/practice.

    Jazzlet -- about a foot from the crocuses are miniature daffodils which will be up soon, we have little bitty purple irises all over, as well as tiny bluebells (sorta look like bunches of tiny grapes standing up). In a couple of months the forest floor here (just south of Hot Springs, NC) will be covered with a variety of little flowers belonging to plants known as ‘ephemerals’, which come up and bloom in the short period when it’s warm enough but the trees aren’t blocking all the light on the forest floor. Lot’s of anemones.

  4. Nightjar says

    Oh, lovely, I love Crocus flowers. Never see them in the wild here and I’ve tried to plant them in the garden but didn’t have luck with them I guess. Maybe they need more cold.

    sillybill, can I ask what camera you have? Does it have a macro mode? If so, maybe you don’t need a better camera at all. Maybe only if your camera has trouble focusing if you get a little bit closer to your subject, but if not, getting closer and taking the photo from a different angle may be all you need. By a different angle I mean trying to make it so all the stuff in the background is much farther away from you compared with the flower. That should give you a blurred background that doesn’t distract as much from the subject.

  5. says

    Sillybill, it looks to me like you have an autoflash function on. A lot of the little point and shoots have that, I know it’s on both of my coolpix. I have to deliberately turn the flash off. Your leaf litter is fine, but the windflower is over-exposed. Windflowers are a bit difficult in very bright light, because they tend to wash right out in photos; a flash would turn them incandescent and disappear them.

  6. jazzlet says

    Sillybill, the little itty bitty irises are probably the same as what I plant in my pots, iris reticulata, they do way better there than in the ground here, last me years whereas if I plant them in the ground they disappear in one or two years. The tiny blue bells sound like what I would call grape hyacinth, they do do well in the ground and I have them along the edge of my drive, they spread a bit more each year :)

  7. sillybill says

    I have a canon A2000, a wee thing i can stick in a pocket, no macro mode. so i’m a little self limited. i should get something more suitable to my vague desires. i habitually turn the flash off. i took one w it on, but it’s not one i sent -- i think the dark brown background sets the camera’s brightness level and the white petals are too much for the video processor’s little pea brain to handle, which sort of washes out most of the detail in the petals like you mentioned, but without the flash.
    i also cant get the thing to focus very close, so i back off and use the zoom. that makes hand jitter more of a problem. i’ll cruise the pawnshops for a better model and a tiny tripod.
    jazzlet -- grape hyacinths is exactly right, not sure how i came up w ‘bluebells’.

  8. Nightjar says

    Is it this one?
    If so it looks like it has a macro mode and also a way of setting the ISO levels as Caine suggests. Macro mode should be accessible through that button with the little flower in the back. Make sure you don’t use any zoom with the macro mode, in my experience that never works.
    I actually think getting the focus on the flower with macro mode could also help the exposure (it would be one way of telling the camera your subject is the white flower and not the brown leaves, maybe then it would correct the exposure accordingly). But I’m not sure about that part. White and yellow flowers are always tricky.

  9. opus says

    A couple of thoughts on shooting macro:
    -- Sometimes more light, but not from the on-camera flash, helps. It can be something as simple as an LED flashlight, aimed in from the side or back.
    -- If you have a setting to reduce the power to the flash that can help. Sometimes a very low flash with supplemental lighting from the side or back can light without overexposure.
    -- If your camera has a macro setting you may find it easier to hand-hold the camera. Lots of times the depth of field is so shallow that you move the camera to focus.
    -- Be careful! It’s addictive and can, if left untreated, suck big chunks of money out of your bank account.

    BTW: None of this applies to photos like my coreopsis that Caine posted a few days ago, except the last point. That involved six lights in a darkened room, a focus rail, specialized lens, focusing software, stacking software, over 60 exposures and an evening of sheer enjoyment.

  10. says

    Even with little point and shoots, there’s a learning curve. Go through your menus, item by item, and if you don’t understand it, look it up, like ISO. Typically, the lower you can get your ISO, the ‘cleaner’ your shot will be. I’ve found with the point ‘n’ shoots, autofocus generally works fine, but some subjects are a right pain and don’t want to focus, so you need to find one part of your subject which is easy for the lens to “grab”. Also, seconding macro mode -- my little Coolpix L1 is always in macro mode. Focusing will tend to be quicker and easier in macro mode, even when, as Opus says, you need to move the camera around to gain a focus.

    Also to start, go for more deeply or brightly coloured subjects, as Nightjar said, white and other pale colours of flowers are particularly tricky, and they are.

  11. sillybill says

    Yes that’s it. Wow, I guess I have a better camera than I thought -- I bought it at a pawn shop for 50 bux one day when I needed to take pics of a machine I was dismantling. It didn’t come w instruction manual, I just started pushing buttons till it sort of did what I wanted. I’ll download the instructions. I see what you mean about hitting the flowery button when it’s in portrait mode- it does take it to macro. The menu of options is very complicated and depends on what mode you are in when you hit the menu button. Guess I really do need the instructions. Hmm… I look like the typical dudely engineer type -- “When all else fails read the instructions”!

    Thanks to everyone for all the tips on good cameraing.

  12. says


    Dunno about your mobility, but I tend to crouch in the dirt a lot.

    Me too. That can also help with stability, your own body can act as a sort of tripod -- resting your elbows on your thighs or knees, frinst.

  13. says


    The German name is cow bells.

    :D Here, they tend to grow in disturbed areas, path sides and cow pastures, so that’s a fitting name!

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