By Jeff Tome
Wildflowers are elusive creatures. They are shy things that only come out for a short time each year. When they do come out, many of them hide under leaves, bushes or even the mixed piles of last year's dead leaves on the forest floor. It can be incredibly hard to capture a photo of one.
Sometimes, it seems like it is impossible to capture a photo of a flower that is as stunning as the flower is in real life. Somehow, many of the photos make the flower seem smaller, duller, blurrier and less spectacular than they were in real life. Our memories of the photos we took are often so much better than the photos themselves.
To help solve that problem, the Jamestown Audubon Society is offering a class called "Wildflower Photography."
This program will be co-led by award-winning photographer Sandra Rothenburg and naturalist Jeff Tome.
The program will meet at Anders Run, near Irvine, Pa., from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, and the cost will be $10 for Audubon members and $12 for non-members. The program is limited to 15 people, so please call Audubon at 569-2345 to register.
Sandra Rothenburg will showcase some of the easy tips and tricks you can use to take amazing photos of wildflowers. She is known for photos of ethereal beauty and technical accuracy. She believes that photography reveals the aspects of nature that might otherwise be missed. Sandra feels the closer you look, the more you see. The observer merges with the lens of the camera to become a witness to unexpected drama, stunning beauty, design, color and form, all in relationship to the ever-changing light.
To a naturalist, wildflowers are appealing for their huge number and variety. New flowers come out every week and old flowers die off. Some are huge and showy, others have delicate beauty that hides under leaves and are harder to find.
Anders Run is an amazing old growth forest owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These ancient trees are more than 200 years old, and some are more than 4-feet wide. Underneath these giant trees are an amazing array of wildflowers. Some are as showy as a lady's slipper, while others are tiny and delicate.
Some of the flowers in this forest are hard to find elsewhere. Some are even hard to find in the forest. This wildflower program will team up a photographer with a good eye for photos with a naturalist who knows where the flowers are. The result will be a two-hour program to change how you see the world.
The goal of this program is to help you see the world in a slightly different way in order to find the flowers that are out there. So often, we walk through the world so quickly that we don't notice the beauty at our feet. Once we notice it, the stop and click photo method will not capture the beauty of what you are seeing.
A good photo requires thoughtfulness, patience and a new point of view. This walk will not only give you the tools you need to take better photos, it will also help you look at the plants in a new way.
Jeff Tome is senior naturalist at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary, wildflower enthusiast and amateur photographer. To register for this program, call 569-2345 or go to jamestownaudubon.org. The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is located at 1600 Riverside Road, just east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.