Going Small

Macro photography is one of those fun things I love to do but rarely find the time for.  This is not because it actually takes longer than shooting anything else, but rather because the possibilities expand infinitely as I keep finding subjects that I would never find interesting at a normal distance.  I have spent an hour shooting a single link of a chain.

Not only does shooting up close allow me to extract out a single shape from a conglomeration, but an extremely shallow depth of focus creates an even smaller view of what’s in focus within the frame, creating all kinds of interesting effects.  In “Spiny Plant”–only one small area of the top edge of the plant is in focus because I shot perpendicular to the plant:

“Blossom” also shows this effect:

I almost scrapped this picture because only the very edge of the blossom is in focus, but I kind of liked it after experimenting quite a bit with editing.  “Flower Cluster” shows how this effect puts only one of the berries (or whatever they are called) in sharp focus:


“08 The world in a single drop” is one of those shots I really want to be spectacular, but it’s not:

I would prefer to fill the frame with just the drop against the pink background.  I am excited to try some of the tools discussed in the workshop (a close-up lens and extension tubes) to see if I can, in fact, fill the frame with a water drop.  I suppose it will only reflect my lens at that point, though.

I’ve often struggled with the depth of field issue.  As much as I like the effect of a wide-open aperture in macro shots, when I’m shooting something living and moving this way, I find I often get the focus just in front of or just behind what I actually was trying to focus on.  I learned three important things about this last night:  1)  Don’t use autofocus when shooting macro, 2) Shoot parallel to the subject if you want more of it in focus, and 3) Make use of the diopter on the viewfinder if you need it.

The milestone of reading glasses is something that no one really celebrates.  I usually rely on autofocus to solve my vision limitations.  I found when I was shooting the moon (I love saying that) and I was forced to focus manually, I got my sharpest focus by using the LCD on 10x magnification and wearing my reading glasses.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t work well for a subject that moves faster than the moon or that doesn’t accommodate the use of a tripod.  I’m going to have to do some googling on photography, focus, and reading glasses.


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