Before the Bloom – Photography by Sarah Bones

What do I do, now that all my assignments have come to a screeching halt? There is all this free time; nowhere I have to be and very few places that I can go.   Here I am, a storyteller by profession with no story to tell, yet I unwittingly discovered one right in my back yard. Spring follows winter and comes before summer, here it was and my yard was waking up as it does every year, and I began to photograph it. The most obvious subject to capture in this season are the flowers in full bloom but I was captivated by the plants before the bloom…. there it is the beginning of my next story.  

This all started because I was playing around (I now have plenty of time to play) with older lenses on my mirrorless camera, using the plants in my garden as my subjects. You can put just about any lens on these camera bodies, using adapters that are very affordable. I was searching for the lens with the best bokeh effect. Bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph. You get this with a fast lens, using its widest aperture of 2.8 or less.  By using a wide aperture you can isolate your subject by blurring out your background, and it works great for portraits.  For those who have an A (for aperture) setting on your cameras, set your F stop (aperture setting) to your widest aperture, which is the lowest number on your lens, and check out your results.  You will have less depth of field and your subject will stand out. If you have a portrait setting on your phone, you can use that for the same affect.

We photographers are always looking for the most creative approach to capture our subjects, such as using different angles, not shooting the obvious, making use of the golden light in the early morning and late afternoon, and filling the frame using the golden triangle rule.   

The best shot you will ever take is sometimes behind you. I often look behind me when I am shooting to be sure I am not missing something; a good example are sunsets, that beautiful light is lighting something behind you, next time turn around and see what’s there. 

Here are some of the results of these old Leica and Nikkor lenses shooting wide open:

Sarah Bones is an award winning photographer and video director and has lived in the Malvern borough for over 30 years. She has been using her camera and vision to tell the stories of men, women and children around the world who are voiceless and too often ignored by the mainstream media. She joined the collective group Photographers For Hope in 2011 and is a longtime member of both ASMP and the NPPA.  


  1. Love the black and white and your subjects. I, too, have been enjoying the emergence of various flowers in the garden and the magic transition from winter to spring. Thanks for your photos, Sarah.

  2. The pictures are beautiful, as are the sentiments – capture the essence, before the bloom; look behind to see what you may have missed – really life lessons. I think so many of us have been given a gift of time to observe our natural surroundings more closely, to appreciate what is at our doorstep. Before quarantine, I drove to find walking trails. Now I walk empty streets near my home and appreciate the beauty and care of all the small, tended landscapes that I walk by.
    Good stuff, Sarah. Thank you

  3. I LOVE the vintage, monotone look/quality and quietness of the photos. The start of new life beautifully captured.

Leave a Reply