The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!

 

Friday, April 14, 2006

Trillium Time

Each year I try to take one of my vacation weeks when my two daughters are out of school for spring break. Gas prices being what they are, we've decided to stay close to home this year, which is not really a hardship when one lives in the mountains of western North Carolina. There's plenty to do and see within a short driving distance of our home.

This morning I decided to get out early and go after one of my favorite photographic subjects, the wildflowers of our region. For the past few weeks I've been keeping watch on a section of woods that I pass daily on my route as a truck driver. Each spring this otherwise unassuming hillside in Jackson county is suddenly covered with white trilliums. They seemingly appear overnight, and are completely gone after only a couple of weeks. I started noticing the blooms earlier this week, and began making plans to grab some photos before they reached their peak and began to fade.

I arrived at the sight about 30 minutes after sunrise, when the light is great for flower photography. An added bonus was a bright, overcast sky that assured me of even, low contrast lighting. Trillium grow in open forests where they get some sunlight, but not harsh, full sun all day. As they bloom, they form a beautiful floral carpet spread out over the forest floor.

There are at least 38 different varieties of trillium in North America. These pictured here are large white trillium. I tried many different compositions, both of the entire field, and of individual flowers. As spring progresses, other varieties will appear as they bloom at successively higher elevations. As they move up the mountains I will continue to search for other varieties and different colors. Trillium season won't last long, so I'll have to be alert as new patches come into bloom.


For photographing trilliums, or any other wildflowers, early morning or late afternoon are the best times. Look for specimens in open shade, and avoid harsh, direct sunlight. If necessary, make your own shade with a regular umbrella, preferably white in color. A tripod is another necessity to eliminate camera shake for clear, sharp photos. A tripod also helps in framing and composition. Remember to move in close, and fill the frame with your subject. With a little care and planning, you should come home with some photos that you'll be proud to display, or share with friends.

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