Catch Blossoms – Before They’re Gone


Late Winter Tree Show
Right when winter shuffles off the stage, the floral display begins. It won’t be on the ground, but on the trees. Pink and white start popping out everywhere, insisting you pay attention. Then the petals slowly transform to the season’s first leaves. Congratulations – you made it to spring.

Blossoms and Branches, Albuquerque

Blossoms and Branches

Timing for Blossoms
In most of the U.S., blossoming trees put on a show every spring. It happens earlier in warmer climates – they’re already passing in New Mexico. But in the northeast and at higher elevations, they’ll start sometime in the next few weeks.

You can capture a typical blossoming tree shot just to show off the blossoms, but why not make it something more?

Individual blossoms look like this, Albuquerque

Individuals look like this

Let It Sneak Up On You
I start with an awareness of trees in my neighborhood, watching blossoms explode, but leave my camera at home. As I pass them the first few days, different creative arrangements pop into my mind – close-ups, blossoms and branches, echoed tree shapes, sunset light warming them up.

Echoed tree shapes, Albuqerque

Echoed tree shapes

Shoot Everything You Can Think Of
In line with a suggestion from my old friend and mentor John Kerr at Mountain Bike Action (move around and shoot everything), I captured all these alternatives. Then one day as I was returning from a walk with my dogs, everything came together. I had warm light, lightly cloud-streaked sky, a mountain background – and the rising moon before sunset.

Blossoms and Moon, Albuqerque

Blossoms and Moon

Shoot The Moon – Without Blowing It
Unless you’re going to merge shots in Photoshop, you need to shoot the moon with daylight exposure to keep it from blowing out. It’s reflecting full sun 24/7, so you need everything terrestrial to be lit the same way to keep detail across your entire shot. Those Photoshop shots from multiple merged pictures always look fake – the moon is too bright over a subdued or night-time landscape.

The only thing I didn’t quite like was the yellowing of blossoms in warm sunset light. But white petals will reflect color pretty faithfully, no matter what it is – that’s the natural appearance. And that’s why I shoot different pictures. I always like having options.

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