Photographing wildflowers

    Plants are one of the best recorded and most photographed groups.  Although it is fairly easy to recognise a violet or a Forget-me-not in the field, many plants like these will need to be examined (and photographed) in detail to confirm the identification to species level.

    When photographing plants the best rule is to photograph in close up, and to photograph all parts of the plant.  All of these images may not be needed, but it can save a lot of time revisiting to check missing detail.

    When you first start recording wildflowers try to photograph:-

    • The flower in close up
    • The back of the flower to show the sepals/bracts/bracteoles etc.
    • The leaves (remember to photograph both stem and basal leaves)
    • The stem (is it hairy, are the hairs pressed to the stem etc.?)
    • A photograph from further away to show whether it is clump forming and to give an idea of the size
    • Photograph stolons if present and anything you think looks unusual

    Certain fairly common plants will require a little extra attention.  To distinguish the very common Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) from Green Field-speedwell (Veronica agrestis) it is necessary to check and photograph the seeds, if present. To distinguish the Long-headed Poppy (Papaver dubium - which has white sap) from the very similar Yellow-juiced Poppy (Papaver lecoqii) you will need to break the stem then squeeze out and photograph the sap. Yellow-juiced Poppy is probably seriously under recorded in our area.

    Remember – all these images may not be needed but in this age of digital photography it’s easy enough to delete any images that you find you don’t require. In time you will learn what the distinguishing features of each species are, and then you need only photograph the features that are needed.