Posted by: kerryl29 | February 8, 2012


When someone asks me what kinds of things I like to photograph, I always say that about 95% of my imagery is of landscapes, 4.9% is close-up/macro and 0.1% is everything else.  The macro work I dabble with–and I certainly don’t regard myself as a great close-up photographer by any means–is mostly of flowers and other plants, but even when I do photograph flowers my propensity for the landscape invariably comes to the fore in the form of what I call “flowerscapes.”

Forest Phlox, Fort Harrison State Park, Indiana

What is a flowerscape, you ask?  Basically, a flowerscape is a landscape image where flowers are a primary element of interest.  Each of the images accompanying this entry qualifies as a flowerscape.  There are grand landscapes and intimates.  In some of the images flowers are the main point of interest; in some they are a complement.  But in all of these photographs flowers are a major component.  A flowerscape, then, is a landscape image with flowers.

Bluebells, Morton Arboretum, Illinois

What am I looking for, in compositional terms, when I shoot a flowerscape?  This isn’t going to be a particularly popular answer, I’m afraid, but…it depends.  Consideration, in large part, revolves around the nature of the other elements of the scene, and whether the flowers themselves are in an open area like a meadow or prairie or are in a more densely wooded locale.  It also depends on the size of the individual flowers and how tightly clustered they are.

Spring Wildflowers, Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Sometimes the arrangement of elements lends itself to getting very close to a foreground element with a wide angle lens (as is the case in many of the woodland flowerscapes).  Occasionally, a more detached perspective–still with a wide angle–works better, as in the case of the Lily Meadow shot below.  On other occasions, the setting yields itself to an intimate composition, using a normal or telephoto focal length.

Lily Meadow, Obstruction Point Road, Olympic National Park, Washington

Occasionally, patterns of flower shapes and colors, scattered throughout the frame, form a kind of mosaic.  And note that light–as always when it comes to photography–is a major piece of the puzzle, be it angular sunlight, soft overcast or open shade.  The light complements, accents or flatters the elements of the images, but never detracts from them.

Sheltowee Trace, Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

As compelling as I find flowers themselves, and as intrigued as I am when I view them through my macro lens, my eye naturally tends to see them as parts of the greater landscape, as components of a broader scene.  Even when I come face to face with a subject tailor made for close-up photography I tend to view the scene through a landscape photographer’s eyes; I see flowers, I think flowerscapes.  It’s who I am.

Purple Coneflowers, Danada Forest Preserve, Illinois



  1. These are all really great shots Kerry !!

    • Thanks, Bernie!

  2. These are very beautiful pictures. Makes me think that spring is not too far away now. Lovely. Thank you for posting them.

    • Thanks very much!

  3. I like the questions you get asked, or ask yourself. I find myself asking similar questions from time to time. Thanks for your insights. We don’t really get views like yours here in Australia. There are certain parts of the country where wild flowers grow, but no where near where I am.

    Beautiful shots as always.

    • Thanks, Leanne!

  4. Beautiful – thanks for sharing:)

  5. These really are lovely. I can’t believe all the trillium you found photo number three, and I have yet to see coneflower growing anywhere but in someones garden! Thank you for the reminder that spring is just around the corner. ~ Lynda

    • Thanks, Lynda. I know of several spots in Illinois and Wisconsin that make the amount of trillium in the Smokies image look like nothing. Coneflowers are endemic to many of the prairie areas in the Midwest, but native purple coneflowers look notably different than the hybrids you see in people’s yards.

  6. Beautiful set

  7. Lovely images.
    I always think in terms of individual flower close-ups. If I ever get an opportunity to try flowerscapes, I’ll keep the advice in this post in mind.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks. Yeah, I think you can learn a lot about your native vision by thinking about what your first instinct is when approaching a subject. Sometimes it’s helpful to fight that first instinct…and sometimes it’s just better to simply run with it!

  8. Another fine post, Kerry. The ones that speak to me most are the first, third, fourth, and oh! Those coneflowers!

    • Thank you very much!

  9. What a beautiful notion, flowerscapes…and well done, Kerry. I love the purple coneflowers. 🙂

    • Thanks, Scott.

  10. Kerry… you not only have a way with the camera, but also with words. I’m enjoying discovering your work, and I appreciate your willingness to share ideas and thoughts so eloquently.

    • Thanks very much for the extremely gracious remarks, David.

  11. I learn so much from your posts, and enjoy your photography. I can’t wait for spring to try my hand at flowerscapes.

    • That’s very kind of you to say, Angeline, thank you. And to the extent that you’re finding me posts helpful…well, it’s extremely gratifying to hear it. Thanks again.

  12. I am so taken with this post. it is JUST what I need to see and read about today. Lovely.

    • Thanks. (BTW, I’m still in virtual awe of your most recent post.)

  13. Totally loved them! Beautiful, beautiful! All my favorites 😀

    • Thanks, Nandini!

  14. Super photos and a very well written piece. It was a joy to read…I like your vision!!!

    • Thanks, David; much appreciated.

  15. Such lovely forest scenes! I felt I was walking alone through some deep forest collecting flowers in my basket, may be on the way to my grandmother’s house :)… Lovely!

    • Thanks very much for the kind remarks; I greatly appreciate it.

  16. Really like that shot of the lily meadow! Lovely!

    • Thanks, Eden; that lily-filled meadow was quite a sight.

  17. all of these are really pretty flowers and beautiful photos

  18. Thanks very much, Robert.

  19. Kerry, as a lover of flowers, your photos just immeasurably brightened a cold snowy day. I often photograph garden flowers, mine and others’. It is a rare garden that can be photographed as a landscape, either because of inherent design flaws or the visual interference of neighboring houses, power lines, or other modern intrusions. So, it is often of necessity that mid and close shots are used (I think of them as family portraits and beauty shots:-) ) It is a real treat to see your landscape views of such beautiful blooms. Brain science shows that as we age, we tend to see the trees rather than the forest, so I consider your photos a much needed visual therapy!

    • Thanks, Lynn.

      Yeah, when it comes to a garden, you’re frequently limited to close-ups or intimates. Wide angle shots in such venues can be tough!

  20. I like all of the images Kerry. The light in the first is marvelous. I’m intrigued by the contrast between the flowers and the large tree trunk in the third and the next to last image reminds me of John Shaw’s work.


  21. Thanks, John. I think this is the first time I’ve ever had an image compared to that of John Shaw–a high compliment indeed!

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