Spring Photography – Tulips

Spring Photography – Tulips

Spring has sprung here in Oregon. YAY!  I gotta admit, I have grown tired of the grey and wet weather (but hey, that’s what makes this place so green!)We are fortunate in this area to have some amazing flower farms that provides a huge variety of color, texture and pattern to shoot throughout the year.  From tulips, to irises and then dahlias, with a ton of wildflowers in between, it seems that spring to fall there are flowers to shoot if that’s your gig.   And, the annual Tulip Festival typically marks the beginning of Spring here which is a great way to kick off the prime shooting season.

Up in Washington they have the Skagit river area that produces some amazing tulips.  Near Portland Oregon, we have the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, about 25 miles south of town.  Being that it’s so close to a major population center, unfortunately, means that the fields are inundated with people!  Every year I get frustrated with the increasing number of people, yet every year I go back to shoot the fields.

Typically there is a choice, either shoot sunrise over the fields and then the light is crappy and you go home, or, pick an overcast day creating a natural soft box and miss sunrise, but enjoy hours in the field working different compositions.  I chose the latter and found a mostly overcast day, mid-week, to head to the fields.  The fields were amazing and almost fully in bloom!


Some days it’s hard to block out the tourists and yokels and focus on my photography, but on this day I was able to block out everyone and just focus my energy on creating pleasing images.  Having shot these fields for so many years, it can sometimes be hard to come away with things that are pleasing or unique to me, however, every year I grow as a photographer and can bring new skills or insights to these familiar locations to create pleasing shots.

I brought my Fujifilm GFX50S with the 32-64mm and 120mm lenses to shoot stills.  I exclusively used the 120mm lens as I was focused (pun intended) on close up shots.  I also brought my Fujifilm X-T3 to shoot a short video in the field.  You can check out the video HERE

The conditions were not perfect as there was a bit too much sun, and, there was a gentle breeze blowing which kept the flowers in motion.  I had to spend time waiting for the clouds to block the sun and provide a nice even light for me to shoot.  Then, I had to compensate for the wind by having a fast enough shutter speed to freeze motion.  This meant that I was increasing my ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed.  I didn’t have to worry about noise shooting at higher ISO, the Fujifilm cameras are just amazing at shooting at higher ISOs.  It’s something I’m still learning to trust, to be honest, to be shoot at higher ISO….I’m old and for years it was drummed in to me to shoot at low ISO or really don’t shoot because of the bad noise.  Well with todays cameras, I have no problem pushing ISO to 1600 and beyond with little to no noise to worry about.

Here is a sampling of the images I captured of the tulips.  For more images more contextual information about where I was, check out the video above.


About me:  I am a full time photography workshop leader based in the Pacific Northwest and provide in-field and remote instruction on all things photography.  For more information please visit my website johnpedersenphoto









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