Native bluebells wonderful little herbaceus plants with beautiful blue-ish to purple-ish flowers. Throughout spring, summer and autumn the grasslands around Canberra are dotted with various species of Wahlenbergia - the native bluebells. The floral emblem of the ACT is actually a bluebell - Wahlenbergia gloriosa - although I don't think many people trek up to the Brindabellas to see it. Random fact: bluebell flowers are edible, although I can confirm they don't taste like much.
Photographing bluebells is a challenge. That lovely blue-ish purple that our eyes see just doesn't really translate very well into 1s and 0s. Often, the colour appears very faded, or the whole photo has to be underexposed to bring out the colour. Last year in autumn I experimented with a few different approaches to try highlight the beautiful colours.
My first idea was to try blurring the flower, using a slow shutter speed as the flower swayed in the wind. I found a bluebell flower which was illuminated a little by the setting sun, while the ground below remained in shadow. This allowed me to expose the photo quite dark overall to bring out the blueish colour of the flower. I like th movement created by the flower moving in the wind, but I still wasn't happy with the colour.
A few days later I tried another idea. I again found a flower which was in sunlight, this time bright afternoon sun, and with the background in shadow. By getting down on my knees and shooting from a low position, it appeared that the light was passing through the flower and making it translucent. Because the light was so strong on the flower I had to use a fast shutter speed which also made the background very dark. This worked well with the image I was trying to create. Finally, by moving around a little I managed to find an angle with the shadow of the stigma and the overlapping petals. I was really happy with this image because I managed to capture the pale colour through to the darker, more intense colour, all in the one shot! The shadow of the stigma brings a focal point to the image.