Grass Roots

Shoot from a low angle for interesting shots on the lawn.

10/08/2012 - 00:00

Most of us have a lawn in the garden, but we probably rarely bother to consider its photographic potential.

We're not talking about those well mowed coverings that would make a crown bowling green look understated, more the typical lawn that's had a few wild flowers/weeds sprout up over the years
If you are one of those with a well manicured lawn or live in a house without a lawn, consider popping along to a nearby field or meadow to have a go at this technique.

Clover taken with Pentax K-5

The technique is simple. You shoot from the ground. Placing the camera on the ground and focus through the grass, taking abstract shots. It works best if there are a few weeks of growth rather than just after the lawn mower's been over it.

Use a longer focal length 100mm or above to get the best results. Set the focusing to a close distance and the aperture to a wider setting, to make the depth of field shallow, and with your eye to the viewfinder move the camera around through the grass until you see an interesting composition.

I like to include one of the wild flowers as the focal point, but ensure there are enough out of focus grass stems to add balance.

It's really fun to do as the compositions that appear are unplanned and can be very interesting.

If the grass is wet use a bag as a support under the camera to avoid it getting wet... and make the most of the dew or rain water on the shoots. You should be able to get some stalks with water drops. These look great when backlit.

Pentax K-5 on shopping bag to protect from wet grass

If you struggle to lay down, try the technique using a right angle finder attached to the finder or just move the camera around and take a few shots, then preview the shots, and adjust focus and aperture as necessary. Delete the failed attempts and hold on to the good ones.

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