Photographing flowers is an exploration of beauty with one’s collection of lenses
Instead of using a cell phone, I recommended my cousin get a “real” camera to shoot flowers. She said it was too technical for her. I wish she knew better.
Below is the same shot above taken with my Samsung Note 8 phone. This photograph is the BEST, in that it would more easily locate this flower and park in my neighborhood.
But does this photo express what I felt?
Although I am one of those techie-type photographers, camera technology has little to do with why most people use large single-purpose cameras.
Any camera can take a photograph which someone else would recognize as a place or a flower. Making recognizable images of the world never loses its wonderment. Nonetheless, recognition does not equate to an emotional experience.
This is emotional, to me.
This is not
For example, I could sing your favorite song, which of course, you’d recognize. Does that mean you would want to hear me sing it, even if I was technically perfect?
Who listens to someone singing if they don’t feel something? Similarly, photography, in the end, is about feeling.
All cameras (more accurately lenses) take different images. Forget the tech, all you need to do is try them out to see this for yourself. Ultimately, photographers choose lenses for the effect, not tech.
And no two photographers will create the same photograph from a flower.
I could go on and on about the technical differences between various cameras and lenses, etc. Ultimately, those technical explanations don’t explain anything. As Ezra Pound pointed out, the world’s greatest music critic could write 1,000 pages about Beethoven’s 5th Symphony but the reader wouldn’t be any closer to knowing what those first four notes sound like!
Who could describe this photograph?
The only thing that matters in the end is the image the photographer gets from the equipment, no matter how they got there.
Cameras (especially lenses) have physical properties. They produce different types of images. The image from a cell phone camera isn’t better or worse than an image from a $5,000 professional camera. But it is different. I usually prefer bigger, more expensive cameras. But not always. Some of my favorite photographs were taken with a $30 lens made for old CCTV cameras from the 1970s — like the first photo.
Different cameras take different photos, or create different types of emotions, just like in painting, oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels allow for different emotional feelings. One doesn’t need to know anything technical about how oils are different from watercolors. Similarly, many photographers don’t know anything technical about how one lens differs from another but they know the types of images they can create with them.
There are no perfect cameras, no matter how much you spend. Some effects are more expensive to achieve than others, but that is the same in art too. Oil is more expensive than watercolor. That does not make it better.
One of the aspects I enjoy in photography is using lenses from friends and family. Almost all old lenses can be mounted on today’s digital cameras using an adapter. I hope my cousin has some lenses from her family she can use, or his kids can use! Indeed, I’d be happy to send her my Dad’s (her Uncle’s) Summicron.
Get a used mirrorless camera. Get those lenses sitting in your attic from your relatives. Get the appropriate adapter. Mount them.
Connect to the flowers that are important to you through lenses that appeal to you.
Here are the cameras I used for the comparison photos above
Like all the arts, every day we’re a beginner once again.
Okay, you want to try this out? Here is one approach.
- Get a used Sony Mirrorless camera. Any one with an e-mount. A used A6000 is around $400 (same as one bottom right above). Even a Sony Nex 5 for $100 would work better than you think.
- Get any lens gathering dust somewhere or buy.
- Buy an adapter (most on Amazon). For for the CCTV lens above I needed a C-Mount TO E-mount. For the Summicron I needed an M-Mount to E-Mount. Each was under $20.
- Put camera on auto to start. Have fun.