Wandering around a dark camellia forest with early morning sunlight raining through the leaves of the oak trees above is an experience in itself. Light is everything and finding an aesthetic combination of camellia blooms and sunlight can be a challenge. Not too bright or the blooms will be washed out; not too dark or the colors will have no vibrancy.
Similarly, perhaps the biggest challenge shooting camellias in a forest is the contrast. There can literally be 10+ stops between light and dark. The human eye can differentiate up to 16 F stops. Even the best negative films can only handle about 5 stops. This makes hunting for and finding the best filtered light and specimen like a treasure hunt. I can often extract a few more F stops by exposure manipulation and dodging and burning in Photoshop.
I am not sure that the above image would even be possible using slide film. Digital makes the difference. Another approach would be to utilize fill flash and I really admire photographers who can achieve a perfectly natural affect with flash. I've tried but have not been successful. The image above is all natural.
The image was taken with a 105 stabilized lens hand held with no flash.
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