Salal, a Visual Symphony

Guest post by Chris Carter

If I had been asked for a list of photogenic wild flowers a few weeks ago, Salal (Gaultheria shallon) would not have been near the top. Salal is best known for its bright evergreen leaves, always in demand by the florist trade.

Walking back from the beach last week, I noticed a splendid Salal bush growing out of a rotting stump and high up overlooking the road. The bush was covered in flowers and they were displaying at eye level instead of the more usual knee level. There were racemes of pink bell shaped in flowers hanging like notes on sheet music.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon) on a rotting stump
Salal (Gaultheria shallon) on a rotting stump provides an opportunity for a visual composition. Image © Chris Carter

I quickly walked home and picked up my Canon 5D and 105mm. macro lens and returned to the Salal. It had been drizzling rain and I hoped to find dew drops suspended from the flowers. I had no luck with the dew drops. The flowers were photographable and with my camera on a strong tripod I was able to make a series of compositions. With the lens aperture wide open, I was able to achieve a narrow depth of field, selecting the flowers I wanted in focus.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
The bell-like flowers of Salal (Gaultheria shallon) dangle in long lines. Image © Chris Carter

Here are more images of the Salal bush, some close-ups and a panorama manipulated in Photoshop. I have tried to create a rhythmical composition, replicating musical notes.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
The delicate flowers of Salal (Gaultheria shallon) suggest musical notes. Image © Chris Carter
Salal Symphony
A little creative work in Photoshop results in a stunning Salal symphony. Image © Chris Carter

About the Contributor:

Chris Carter is a photographer based in the Comox Valley, British Columbia. His current work can be viewed in galleries on Vancouver Island and tips on where and what to photograph can be found on his new web site Vancouver Island Photo Tips and Tours. All photographs and text courtesy of Chris Carter.