Usually I don't like to post two images that are so similar, but I couldn't decide which one I liked more. They are both so unusual with the single poppy just before its about to bloom and the silhouette of a tree in the background that looks more like a dancing figure. The only difference being the position of the poppy to the tree and the mood set by the direction the figure in the tree appears to be looking. The image above seems very open and curious and the one below seems a little bashful.
Both pictures were taken at ISO 250, 1/100 of second at F4.8 with the above shot at 50mm and the one below at 70mm. I intentionally overexposed about 4 stops to get the full color and detail of the poppy just before it was about to "pop." The orange circles on the tree are a result of lens flare because of the back lit situation. The lens flare being "a happy accident" especially after I manipulated the black tones and color saturation in Adobe Lightroom to bring out the orange/blue lens flare and enhance the color of the poppy.
I have always liked the look of over-exposing my subjects when they are back lit. Give me an hour with my camera in a field of poppies and this is what you get. Maybe this is the view Dorthy had in the Wizard of Oz just before she fell asleep.
There's nothing quite like a Lens Baby when shooting flowers or babies. I love this look. If you've never heard of a Lens Baby, google it. Its a great lens to have in your camera bag tricks depending on what kind of look you're going for. It does require some patience and trial and error, but once you get the hang of focusing and setting your exposures the affects are pretty fun. It basically bends and distorts a portion of the image while keeping another portion of the image in focus.
As a child I remember this apricot tree and the poppies around it, but 25 years have passed and the neighbor who owns this property now has let the poppies run wild in his yard. I was lucky to be visiting my parents over Memorial Day weekend as they began to bloom, and couldn't resist the fun shapes and vibrant colors. Peaceful Valley, Spokane, WA. 2009