Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adventures in Photography: Lupine in Sugar Hill, NH

The Fields of Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill, NH is a quintessential New England event. It offers a lot of small town charm and quaint country character for the modern soul. Many residents and businesses in Sugar Hill have planted thousands of lupine throughout their town, which is located in the heart of the beautiful White Mountains.

The lupine, a member of the pea family is one of my favorite flowers. Its tall spike of purple, white or pink flowers is simply stunning. Often found in meadows in large colonies, lupine add a serious punch of color to any scene.

Blooming in late spring, lupine are a herald of summer.   From grand landscapes to intimate macros, lupine provide an infinite amount of photographic possibilities. Used in the foreground, these colorful flowers make any vista more beautiful. Framed as the subject of the photograph, lupine are great for vertical compositions. Macro possibilities are endless with lupine.

When you are ready for something different, try camera painting these outstanding flowers. Slow the shutter speed of your camera to ½ second or longer and purposely move the camera up and down while the shutter is still open. This will create a blur. Vary the shutter speeds and the speed of the camera movement until you make images that please you.

Another great technique is to zoom your lens in or out with a slow shutter speed. This often creates a tie-dye like effect of swirling colors. It is best to try this where the lupine are numerous and growing close together.

The best time to photograph lupine may be on cloudy days. The lack of contrast allows for beautiful exposures and great saturation of colors.

This year's Fields of Lupine Festival will be held from June 1 through June 17. To attend the festival in Sugar Hill, head to Hartman’s Cheese and Country Store or Polly’s Pancake Parlor and pick up your guide to all of the best lupine sites. The guide costs five dollars and its map alone is worth every penny. Both Hartman’s and Polly’s are famous in their own right; with people in the know, coming from all over the northeast to fill up on their culinary delights.
After spending a day or a weekend making fantastic images of beautiful lupine, consider submitting your best images to the Fields of Lupine Photo Contest. The winner will have their photo featured on the cover of next year’s guide!

This Month’s Tip: When photographing flowers, be sure to wait until the wind is calm. Flowers swaying in the wind will often blur. Patience is the key. Be ready for when the wind finally calms. You may only get one chance at the shot before the wind picks up again.
Greg Lessard is a professional photographer. You can join him this summer for a fantastic adventure in California and Yosemite National Park. For more info, visit his blog at http://blog.greglessardphotography.com/2012/03/california-photographing-yosemite-san.html

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