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The Orange Coneflowers pictured here are one of 23 species in the genus, Rudbeckia, all of which are commonly called coneflowers (for their conical shape) or black-eyed susans. They are beloved by gardeners for their festive color and pattern, and hardy nature.

Hardy they may be, but these were suffering pretty badly from the recent lack of rain, until the tropical downpour a few days ago. They’re much better now, but still showing signs of their ordeal. In an earlier post, I gave these flowers a well-deserved rave review; I urge you to read it.

Of the three photos above, the first steals my heart for its naturalness and delicacy, the flowers playing hide-and-seek, escaping the bonds imposed by human hands. The second and third photos are interesting for what they can teach us about photo composition. They are almost identical, except for the focus point noted below each photo. When lenses are used close up, the depth of field, that is, the range of sharpness, is compressed. This gives photographers a valuable device, “selective focus,” by which to draw out certain elements in a picture, or to heighten the perception of depth.

Selective focus can also change the dynamics of a photo. For example, the second photo is relatively static, while the third is visually more active. That doesn’t mean one is necessarily better than the other, just different. Of course, the viewer is entitled to a preference. What is yours?

Related post: Coneflowers.*

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