When my alarm went off around 5 am, I walked to the window, took a short peek and went back to bed. It was drab grey and no sign of a sunrise, so no need to be out early.

I had planned to photograph Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe, Klokjesgentiaan) and being the plant they are, they are not particularly active during the first hours of the day. A few hours later, I was in the field. It was still grey and a slight drizzle fortunately did not want to grow up and turn into a rainshower. The wind was a bit strong to my liking. For macro photography, wind is the last thing you want.

I used the camerabag to shield the flowers from most of the wind. Inspite of the grey sky, I got shutterspeeds that were fast enough to obtain sharp photographs. It was just a matter of waiting for the wind to lay down a second. I spent more than an hour on this one flower that had positioned itself in the colorful company of Bog Heather (Erica tetralix, Dopheide). With some of the heather already fading into a bright orange, I got all kinds of color combinatons behind the Gentian. As for the technique, the only thing you have to be careful of, is that both the subject and the background colors have a strong red component in them. Red colors are usually the first ones to burn, so be careful not to overexpose. The luminance histogram might look fine, but the individual histogram for the red channel will show severe overexposure. So where I normally expose to the right, I now had to underexpose a bit and bring the luminance up in post-processing.

Marsh Gentian; Canon 5D Mark II w. 150/2.8 macro and extension tube; 1/40s at F2.8 and ISO200; tripod

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