Pom Pom Pomeranian in Bloom!
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
By Diana Lundin
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Ridiculous title, right? You get a little punchy after midnight. So you know California is having this massive super bloom. We had one of the wettest winters on record so that drought? The governor declared it's over. The super bloom was so astounding you can see the flowers from space. I missed it. Yeah, I missed it. The California poppies went crazy while I was in Ireland. And then when I had the slightest moment to drive over to see them, the foliage was turning brown. Just my luck. Not good for a presentation piece.

My ace in the hole were the California poppies I have planted on my parkway. A bunch of them. Very pretty. So I asked my neighbor Sherri if she wanted to swing by with her little Pomeranian Missy to have a photo taken there. But apparently I wasn't really on my game of close examination. My poppy bloom is nearly over. Oh sure, there are a few. But where the little orange flowers used to be? Stems. Yeah. They bloomed. But that rich carpet of gold (you know, golden state? California was named the Golden State after these poppies) was not to be had.

I had another ace in the hole. Gazanias. Are they the prettiest? They're not bad. Very daisy like, these blooms. You see a lot of them in Los Angeles as ground cover. And they fit what I was going for because I always had Missy in mind for this shoot and she's a shorty. Yeah, a black Pomeranian.

So of course black dogs open up a whole new issue. Their fur sucks light like a black hole. Sherri says she can't get a good photo of Missy because of her black fur. Ah, but that's where I can, mon ami. The weather was cloudy in the morning -- great light for shooting -- then the sun would peek out -- then it would hide again. Let's just say it was variable.

By the time we were ready to shoot at 3:30, the sun was fully out. Now what do we know about shooting outside before the golden hour? We don't do it, that's what we know. Too contrasty. Too harsh. But rules were meant to be broken. OK, it's not even a rule. But generally, we do wait for that golden hour for beautiful, softer light.

I positioned Missy so she would be backlit and Sherri held her in position with her leash. Remember, safety first. And then I hit her with a little pop of light from my Profoto B2. Wait, you say, flash? Everything from dust to infinity will be in focus. You can't shut it down, you can't shut it down! Tiny aperture, huge depth of field, maximum 1/160 shutter speed! Oh no, that's where high speed synch comes in. My Canon, the Profoto, and the Profoto remote all together let's me shoot wide open to blur out the background and shoot way beyond the camera's synch speed. All right, I may have lost a few of you here, but hopefully I can pick you back up again.

In short, I can shoot a black dog with flash in full sunlight and still have a shallow depth of field to blur out everything but Missy. And everything won't be blown out.

Did I do it? Mission accomplished. We had our own super bloom.


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