This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
568. There are few branches of picture-making more fascinating, especially in the summer time when it is possible to work out of doors, than the photographing of wild flowers where they grow. It is far more enjoyable than reproducing cut flowers at home, as it takes the photographic enthusiast into the fresh air. On landscape tours numerous opportunities for taking advantage of the instruction which follows will present themselves. It is absolutely impossible to reproduce wild flowers at home. In the first place, they wilt and wither before it is possible to reach home with them, and in their wilted condition they produce anything but a pleasing picture. In addition to this difficulty, to produce results true to nature you should photograph the flowers in the midst of their natural surroundings. Under these conditions only is it possible to obtain the best of results.
Camera Bellows. The bellows on the camera you are to employ must be of considerable length. This class of work cannot be treated as you would regular landscape photography. It is not the aim to secure a few dark specks on the plate, surrounded by a mass of uninterpretable things. The desire is to secure just the opposite of such result - a picture of real flowers, leaves and grass. The bellows should have an extension equal to twice the focal length of the lens, and as a 6 inch lens is quite suitable, the bellows should stretch at least 12 inches. In this manner images of equal size to the flowers themselves may be secured, and in some instances a trifle larger, which is a great advantage.
Camera And Lens. The camera should have a rising front and a reversible back. The shutter is not of much consequence, as there will seldom be need to use it, exposures generally being of several seconds' duration, making it easily possible to make them by the use of the lens cap. The ordinary rapid rectilinear lens of good definition which will give you all around sharpness at P. 8 will answer every purpose in photographing wild flowers.
Tripod. It is almost impossible to use the ordinary tripod to secure this class of flower photographs. The tripod should be of such a type as to admit of the camera being lowered to within 12 inches of the ground. As it is frequently necessary to tilt the camera at an angle, a special tilting attachment will be found extremely handy and convenient.
Tilting Attachment. The convertible tripod attachment mentioned in Paragraph 555 will be found very convenient in photographing wild flowers, as it permits of the camera being tilted at any desired angle. Especially when photographing flowers that lie flat on the ground you will find the convertible tripod attachment, when placed at a right angle, a very convenient accessory.
Avoiding Movement Of Wild Flowers. The greatest of care must be exercised that the flowers do not move during the exposure. If you are photographing but a few flowers, and the view does not include any great amount of space, it is possible to fasten a sheet of cloth or other material, on two or three sticks which have been driven in the ground, on the side of the flowers from which the wind is blowing. Care must be taken, of course, that this "wind shield" does not come within the angle of view.
574. In taking flower pictures in a natural state, it will be necessary to study for some little time the point of view, angle of view, as well as the principal flower - or group of flowers - to be included in the picture. This work really requires more careful study and thought than landscape photography itself, if such a thing is possible; but the principles of arrangement, the obtaining of point of view, etc., are all absolutely the same as have been previously taken up in relation to composition of landscape photography. As each scene in a landscape requires special treatment, so does every subject in wild flower photography. Orthochromatic plates and screens are a necessity in order that true color value may be obtained. The information already given upon this subject should be carefully read again, if you are not familiar with the use of color corrected materials.
HEPATICAS Study No. 35 By John. M. Schreck.
HILLSIDE PATH Study No. 36 - See Page 312 By Wm. T. Knox.