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Program focuses on finer points of flower photography, identification


Lindheimer morning glory

The Lindheimer morning glory was named after Ferdinand Lindheimer, considered the father of Texas botany. The flowers bloom all summer and into the fall but, as their name implies, only open early in the day. Photos courtesy of Marvin Bloomquist

KINGSLAND — Marvin Bloomquist did not start out being an expert on how to take nature photos. And yet, he now finds himself presenting a program called “The Digital Camera as a Tool for Flower Identification.”

The presentation, hosted by the Kingsland Garden Club, is 1:30 p.m. March 6 at the Kingsland Branch Library, 125 W. Polk.

The Kingsland resident simply wanted to learn more about the flowers native to this area, so he began carrying a digital camera to snap photos of the plants so he could identify them later at home. A camera was easier to carry, he said, than a book.

When he first started taking the pictures, they were overexposed. So he learned how to adjust the camera to take advantage of available light and still get the detail he needed to accurately identify a flower or plant.

golden wave coreopsis

The golden wave coreopsis (seen here with a buckeye butterfly) is a common wildflower in the Texas Hill Country and blooms in May and June. This 2007 Texas Master Naturalist State Meet first-place photo was shot by Marvin Bloomquist, who will present “The Digital Camera as a Tool for Flower Identification” at 1:30 p.m. March 6 at the Kingsland Branch Library, 125 W. Polk St. in Kingsland. The program is hosted by the Kingsland Garden Club.

Soon, he developed a reputation for this skill, so people began emailing him their own photos for identification or tips on how to make each picture technically better.

Because of interest, Bloomquist said he offered to give a program to the area’s Master Naturalists on how to take better flower and plant photos.

He stops short of calling himself a pro when it comes to the camera.

“In reality, I’m not,” he said. “I just know more than some folks.”

Robert Yantis, treasurer of the Kingsland Garden Club, said the organization hosted an event led by Bloomquist years ago that was a hit with attendees.

“He’s experienced at taking pictures of plants, butterflies and bugs,” he said. “He can help us take better pictures.”

Bloomquist said his program includes flowers and technical gear he uses for each photo. He’ll use a PowerPoint presentation of 100 images to illustrate the program, he said.

He owns three digital cameras and will bring one to show the different settings. So he recommends attendees bring their cameras with them.

“One of the problems you run into are the normal settings for cameras,” he said. “Those are not the optimum settings to take pictures of flowers. You need to change the settings. The biggest problem you generally have is (photos) tend to be overexposed. It washes out the detail in the flower.”

He’ll help participants learn how to adjust for too much or not enough light and for windy conditions.

Bloomquist said he can identify “a hundred different flowers. I started out knowing less than half a dozen. Sharing that technology with others and helping them do the same thing, that is gratifying.”

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