Expert advice, help and tips from Chris Gatcum

Time passesPaul Wheeler

Nikon D90, 17-70mm, 1/400sec at f/5.6

If Paul’s image teaches us one thing, it’s that you can create a stunning photograph from the simplest of ingredients: this shot just needed a dandelion head and a stack of patience. As Paul explains, ‘I had been wanting to capture an image such as this for some time, but could never blow the dandelion head and shoot at the same time. On this occasion, I had my six-year-old daughter with me and I thought she could add the “wind” on demand. Sadly, that morning the second of her two top front teeth had fallen out and her ability to blow was somewhat hampered. It was extremely frustrating and took many attempts to finally get just one shot. If the threat of losing the light weren’t so imminent, it would have been hilarious!’

There’s little need to say anything else, other than this is a beautifully sought-out image that’s been superbly executed. The focus, exposure and framing are all spot-on. Note how the dark areas of the background create a natural frame for the seed head, and how the shutter speed, aperture and point of focus have each been selected to ensure the centre of the head is pin-sharp, while allowing the seeds to be imbued with motion blur. I don’t know how many attempts Paul had at this, but this image makes them all worthwhile.

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  • Stephen Felce

    What a stunning waste of time. The picture is ordinary and commonplace and pointless.